The poet, writer and visual artist Redell Olsen has been announced as the winner of the £15,000 DARE Art Prize 2020-21 by the University of Leeds and Opera North, in association with the National Science and Media Museum and The Tetley, Leeds.

Redell’s proposal includes the creation of a new song cycle and film, using scientific data measuring different species of insects in our skies. This will be both an artwork and a contribution to the research of the University of Leeds’ BioDAR unit, by exploring alternative ways to represent climate change and the risk of species extinction.

See here for more information about Redell, this year’s Prize, and our partners.

About the DARE Art Prize

Challenging artists and scientists to work together on new approaches to creativity.

Opera North and University of Leeds in association with National Science and Media Museum and The Tetley.

The £15,000 DARE Art Prize 2020/21 will be awarded to an innovative, ambitious artist in any discipline, who is excited by the opportunity to work with leading scientific researchers at the University of Leeds, and with Opera North, one of Europe’s leading cultural organisations  (University of Leeds and Opera North, the DARE partnership).

“The challenges facing individuals and society in the 21st century can appear uniquely complex and chaotic. Understanding ourselves and the world we live in calls for new visions and new collaborations. The notion of creativity crosses the false barriers between science and artistic endeavour, and with the DARE Art Prize we hope to generate new work and new working methods that can bring the sectors closer together.” Dominic Gray, Projects Director, Opera North

The Prize comprises: –

There are no restrictions on the form of the outcome: it could be any artform or channel – a performance, a poem, an interactive website or a song cycle for example – but the project must be achievable within twelve months ending May 2021. It is expected that around £5,000 of the Award will be invested in the creation of new work.

“The thinking and experiences of artists and scientists are often thought to be mutually exclusive, however the DARE prize not only shows that this is not the case but reveals the beauty and excitement of a symbiotic creative relationship between the two fields. I am delighted by the ingenuity and imagination shown by applicants and recipients.” John Ladbury,  Professor of Mechanistic Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds.

Application process

Individual, independent artists working in any discipline are asked to apply by submitting a CV and a 500-word proposition that summarises the area of scientific interest – from astrophysics to climate change, microbiology to nutrition; an ambition to create something new and the germ of an idea of what this might be; and a genuine wish to engage with academic researchers, expertise and resources at the University of Leeds.

The process and deadline for submissions for the 2021/22 Prize: to be announced

Applications are assessed and shortlisted by DARE, including John Ladbury, Professor of Mechanistic Biology, University of Leeds, and Dominic Gray, Projects Director, Opera North. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by a panel including Dominic Gray; Professor John Ladbury; Alice Parsons, Interpretation Manager, National Science and Media Museum; and Helen Watson,Director, The Tetley.

Past Prize winners

To find out more about past DARE Art Prize recipients and the DARE partnership, see here.

“Winning the DARE Art Prize has been completely transformative to my development as an artist. It has provided the space to develop my practice in ways that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible. My collaborations with researchers at the University have ignited a line of inquiry that I will be exploring over the coming months and years.” Anna Ridler, DARE Prize recipient 2019.

 “My collaborative research and development with staff at the University of Leeds, Opera North, and other organisations such as The Tetley in Leeds and National Science and Media Museum in Bradford was continuously rewarding and surprising. I consistently engaged in dialogues with creative researchers, artists, and engineers, and this project has proven to be incredibly fruitful in my imaginings of spaces of low-frequency sound and planetary sensuality.”  Samuel Hertz, DARE Art Prize recipient 2017.

Our associate partners

“The DARE Prize is a truly unique project in that it sees past the view of art as a tool for communicating science and looks instead to have the two disciplinary domains develop a dialogue with one another. It is a celebration of the skills and passion needed in both areas and a much needed acknowledgement and interrogation of how the two disciplines can engage with the pressing questions of our time. Recent winners have shown insight and exceptional creativity in their tackling of contemporary issues, I can’t wait to see what our future winners will bring.” Alice Parsons, Interpretation Manager, National Science and Media Museum.


Developing creative talent is at the heart of what The Tetley does so we are delighted to be working in partnership with the DARE Art Prize again in 2020 to create opportunities for artists and scientists to work together. As a pioneering centre for contemporary art we welcome the opportunity for the winner to spend time at The Tetley developing their practice and shaping the art of the future.” Helen Watson, Acting Director, The Tetley.



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