Tempting Failure Mentoring

Open Call for Applications


Thank you so much for taking an interest in TF2016.  The application process to the mentoring programme is now closed.  We will be announcing the mentees as part of our programme shortly.  In the meantime, to stay up to date with news of our masterclasses and workshops as well as the festival coming to London this July 21st to 29th sign up to our mailing list by clicking here.



We found that many emergent artists were getting in touch to ask if they could apply and sadly due to the criteria we had set out we were turning them away.  But we are a festival that likes to listen and so we ran poll on twitter asking people to vote on if we should expand the selection criteria.  And 76% people voted yes!

SO NOW WE ARE THRILLED TO SAY THAT ANYONE WHO CLASSES THEIR PRACTICE AS EMERGENT (including students) CAN NOW APPLY.  And in light of this we are extending the deadline to MIDNIGHT on Wednesday 23rd March!

This scheme offers you a once in a lifetime opportunity to work one-on-one with a leading internationally recognised artist from April to July in the production of a brand new work which will be premiered at TF2016.  

We are honoured to announce that the mentors are: Poppy Jackson, Manuel Vason, AMINAL (Kelly Marie Miller & Jonny Rowden), Clive Henry & Ernst Fischer.

Each is an innovative artist in their respective field and will offer you the chance to develop your practice to a whole new level.  

The programme allows each mentee the opportunity to meet with their mentor twice a month, alongside additional support from Tempting Failure's production team as you work towards producing either: a 15 minute performance art action or 1 hour installation. 

This tutoring and support will be paid for by Tempting Failure and Arts Council England.  You must be available to travel to your mentor (at your own cost), meeting at a mutually pre-agreed location and time. 

TF will offer further training in practices of promotion, health & safety, insurance and production.  

This programme offers an invaluable professional development for you and will enable you to take your first steps towards being an emergent artist.  

All applicants must be available to attend the entire TF2016 festival in London from 21st to 29th July.  TF will offer in-kind production support to produce your work at the festival (not including materials) and will provide you with free documentation of your premiere. 

You should only apply to this programme if you can meet strict deadlines to show the development of work consistently outside of each meeting. And you should expect to have your artistic practice challenged by your mentor.  Please do not apply if you are not open to this process!


To apply all you have to do is make a short 5 minute video (nothing fancy just use your web came or mobile device).  This should be of you speaking straight to camera and telling us about the following:

1. Your artistic practice to date.

2. Why you want to work with your chosen mentor.

3. Why you want to perform at Tempting Failure.

When you are done then....




Applicants should be UK based, may only apply once to the mentoring programme this year and must choose which mentor they would like to work with in advance.

Please read the following carefully and follow links to the artists website (by clicking on their names) to research your chosen mentor in detail.


Deadline to apply is Midnight 20th March.


Poppy Jackson (London / Norfolk / Brighton)

Jackson makes actionist work exploring the female body as an autonomous zone. Her practice spans drawing, printmaking, painting, live performance and video. Pieces investigate themes around the performativity of the body, through working with the female body itself as site. The artist's current research considers the menstruating body inherently performic. She is supported by Arts Council England and the British Council.  Jackson's work has been presented at international arts platforms and in news outlets worldwide. She mentors recent graduates, regularly teaches at various colleges and universities and also manages international artists networks and performance platforms.  She is an Associate Artist of ]performance s p a c e [ in London. 

Manuel Vason (London)

Vason's artistic practice explores the relationship between photography and performance, presence and representation. He considers the capturing of a moment as an act of creation, a ritual towards the illusion of immortality, and an exchange between who is in front and who is behind the camera. The collaborative nature of his practice shapes a unique, hybrid art form and generates new vocabularies. His collaborations to date have produced some of the most iconic images of performance and his work has been published and presented internationally.Vason was born in Padua, Italy in 1974. He became interested in photography while working in a black and white professional darkroom. After having assisted some of the most celebrated fashion photographers of his generation in Milan, New York, Paris, London and Los Angeles, he pursued a Masters degree in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London. Double Exposures is Vason’s fourth book. It follows: Oh Lover Boy! (2001), a two-year collaboration with artist Franko B; Exposures (2002), exploring the body in Live Art; and Encounters (2007), which complemented his first solo exhibition at Arnolfini, Bristol. In 2012 he presented STILL_MÓVIL, a travelling exhibition of ‘co-creations’ with 45 choreographers from South America. In 2014 he launched the Double Exposures book project at The Photographers Gallery and Tate Britain in London. Vason continues to develop a practice that integrates different media and forms of collaboration.

AMINAL (South West)

Is a collaboration between performance artists Kelly Marie Miller and Jonny Rowden. AMINAL was formed following conversations regarding their shared interest in current social and environmental issues and performance. AMINAL's work is often intimate and participatory, playfully addressing social issues while maintaining a sense of their urgency. AMINAL are resident artists at Kaleider and associate artists at the Bike Shed Theatre in Exeter. Individually, Kelly’s interests lie in participatory, one-on-one, and audio-based experiences, and Jonny’s creative interests lie in participatory, food-based, and public performance. 

Clive Henry (Southampton / London / Bristol / Oxford)

Henry has been actively pursuing sound for over twenty years. Whilst he has done this in bands and looser groupings, his solo work has seen him pick an untutored route through “noise” and associated areas. His work has often been autobiographical with recurring themes and ideas including: dissonance, the process of decay and the human body as instrument. Recent recorded work has concentrated on noise textures and “harsh noise walls”, as well as pieces more clearly akin to musique concrete; whilst live performances have utilised vocal work and a commitment to physicality and tension. He has played across europe and the US. He was a founder member of the Bang The Bore collective, who have organised gigs and occurrences around the UK. He lives alone in southampton with hundreds of noise tapes which all sound the same.

Ernst Fischer (London)

As both a gay man and as a foreigner in this country, Fischer is particularly concerned with issues of belonging, domesticity and homeliness. In general terms, his work seeks to explore how we occupy as well as ‘uncannily’ disrupt a variety of spaces – from our own bodies to social conventions and political/ideological systems. Fischer's performance work – generally categorised as ‘live art’ or ‘body art’ – has been heavily influenced by Butoh, which he studied in Japan, London and Vienna. More recently, however, the focus of his work has shifted to collaborations with exiled writers and asylum seekers on issues relating to race, diversity and Human Rights.

To be a part of the Tempting Failure mentoring scheme was an inspirational and challenging experience. Having Thomas John Bacon mentor me throughout this process was hugely formative; the exercises he encouraged me to engage with often pushed me out of the ‘comfort zone’ territories of my practice, activities which demanded that I approach upon my work (and the processes of creating it) from an alternative angle. In relinquishing the security of certain methodologies, the dialogical relationship formed by the mentor and mentee process, has led me to reconsider of the multifarious potentialities that both failure and my body can incite within my work. Upon reflection, instigating these dialogues was perhaps for me one of the most important and rewarding parts of the process - a means of reconfiguring the parameters of my practice within a supportive and exploratory context, which was facilitated by Thomas.
— Alethea Raban - TF2014

This programme is made possible through the gracious support of the ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND.