Our considerations in advance

The selection process was overseen by 4 people, and they were supported in shaping the lottery process by the rest of the Artist Committee, a group of disabled and global majority artists. This is also informed by countless conversations with the broader community since we last opened up to new artists in 2019. The selection process was overseen by: 

  • Alice Tatge (Artist Committee)
  • Frances Morgan (Staff)
  • Reece McMahon (Staff)
  • Valerie Ebuwa (Artist Committee) 

From the moment we discussed bringing new people into the CDS Artist Community we knew we wanted to do the selection process differently. It felt important that it wasn’t based on who you know in the community, or how well you answer the questions. We instead have experimented with a hybrid lottery selection process.

As part of this process, we felt it was important that artists who experience racism and/or ableism were given greater odds. This was a decision made in accordance with CDS’ ongoing commitment to support black, brown, global majority, disabled and neurodivergent artists. We also took into consideration those who fall at the sharpest end of oppression, namely black people and disabled people.

Decisions made during the process

We began by reading all applications to ensure eligibility, and only one application was excluded from the lottery for not being eligible. We then held a series of lottery selection processes to assign places, using anonymised data and a random number generator.

During the process, we held each other accountable, ensuring that everyone’s application was handled appropriately and fairly, checking the numbers each step of the way to avoid mistakes in the lottery selection. We take this responsibility very seriously, and made the following decisions during the process:


  • All Activator places were offered to artists who identified as experiencing ableism and/or racism. This decision feels like an important acknowledgement of the ways that historically these groups have been excluded from decision-making: in our organisation, in the sector, and society more broadly. For this new collective leadership role, we are pleased to prioritise the voices of those who have previously been less heard.


  • We felt it was important to take an intersectional approach to the process, and that all marginalised groups were well represented. In particular we discussed the ways that the sector devalues the contributions of older artists. It was crucial to us that older artists continue to be centred in our community, and in the Activator group. Only 6% of applications came from artists over 50, so we therefore reserved a number of spaces specifically for people over 50.


  • Due to demand, we felt 10 extra Activator places were needed. This also allowed us to allocate places to other underrepresented groups through the random lottery and ensure we have as broad a community as possible.


  • It also felt important to us that existing members of the CDS Artist Community were able to stay in the community they have worked so hard to build. We therefore reserved a Collaborator place for all existing members who applied, if they applied for an Activator role they had an equal chance to all other applicants. They form roughly 30% of the new community.

If you have more questions

This selection process was delicate and complex, and so it is difficult to do justice to the care that has gone into it here, or explain all of the intricacies. We are really happy to discuss it further if you’d like that. Please feel free to send any thoughts via email to Frances: frances@chisenhaledancespace.co.uk

In the coming weeks, we will also publish a detailed blog report, including application statistics to give further insight into the process for those who are interested. We aim to publish the full list of artists in mid-November. 

Image credit: Bakani Pick-Up, Angela Andrew, Jay Yule and Rachel Goodsall working together in the lounge.