Art 50 - What does it mean to be British in the wake of Brexit?

In March 2017 Article 50 was invoked. So Sky Arts invited 50 artists to respond to the question of who we British are as a people - as a nation. We called this Art 50.

From this scheme,  50 brilliant artistic projects were born - which we will showcase at Art 50 Festivals taking place on Saturday the 23rd February 2019 at the Barbican and Sunday the 24th February at the Sage and Baltic. We will broadcast and explore these projects on Sky Arts in Spring 2019

The Sound of Britain - Monday 25th March
A Picture of Britain - Tuesday 26th March
Britain on Film - Wednesday 27th March
The Voice of Britain - Thursday 28th March

What is Art 50?

Sky Arts launched Art 50 to invite artists of all kinds, from all walks of life, from all artistic genres, to create a piece of work which says something important about what it will mean to be British after we leave the European Union. 

The majority of our 50 projects came from application rounds throughout 2017 and 2018 allowing us to find brand new talent as well as feature well known names and organisations. We are also working with our partner organisations; the Barbican, Sage Gateshead and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art who have also been commissioned to produce new work and who will be hosting a festival featuring a selection of the Art 50 commissions. Storyvault are making the TV programmes.

Our judging panels included members of Sky Arts, Storyvault, representatives from the Barbican, Sage and Baltic as well as guest judges Roger Daltrey, Vick Hope, Kenneth Tharp, Munira Mirza and Owen Sheers.  

What were the criteria?

At the beginning of February 2017, key figures in the arts world across disciplines and across the country were invited to a consultation to help decide the criteria for commissioning: 

We wanted ideas of all sizes that speak on the subject of Britishness and which:

  • Engaged rather than lectured
  • Related to suburbs and rural communities as well as towns and cities
  • Allowed us to hear and understand many points of view 
  • Helped us to understand how we’ve got here
  • Taken together, represented a diversity of opinion
  • Included new voices as well as established artists
  • Made a splash, or leave a lasting legacy – or both!

How much funding was there?

Sky Arts allocated almost £2m to the Art 50 project. This covered the arts projects themselves, the festivals and the TV programming.