Call Out: Family Encounters


Friday 14 August, 5pm


Friday 14 August, 5pm

How to apply

Tell us about the idea you would like to develop, thinking about who the work might be for and why you want to develop this work.  The most important thing is to really paint a picture of what your idea is, how the audience will meet it/interact with it, and why this would be an excellent fit in the Family Encounters environment.

Send your proposal to with Family Encounters 2021 as the subject title by Friday 14 August at 5pm. Please don’t send any CVs or any other additional documents.

We are currently seeking new performance ideas from Scottish based artist/s or company for a programme of work called Family Encounters as part of the next edition of the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival 26 May – 6 June 2021.  

Family Encounters is an evolution of Family Day previously held at the National Museum of Scotland. For 2021 we are seeking ideas for pop-up works that can be staged in a variety of settings around the city (which may include the National Museum) and possibly in an online environment as well. Our focus for this call out is on performance/live experience rather than participatory activity.  We see the new practical challenges as an opportunity for experimentation: trying new ways to connect with our audiences, while maintaining our reputation of presenting the world’s best performances for children.

In particular, we would like to support artists to experiment with a new performance idea for public spaces. We are interested in a wide variety of performance work, from intimate performances for one person through to bigger performances that make a noise. 

What kind of ideas are you looking for?
We are looking for dynamic performance ideas that don’t require a lot of technical support for delivery.  We would like to keep our definitions as open as possible. We love to be surprised by unusual work that our audiences aren’t expecting, but these examples of work we have programmed before might give you some ideas:

  • pop up dance/non verbal performance
  • site-specific performance
  • performative installations
  • carnival/processional work
  • intimate performances
  • durational performance

Information on the selection process
The Call Out panel will be made up of representatives of Imaginate and a freelance artist.  The panel will meet in the week beginning Monday 31 August, all applicants will hear if they have been selected by Friday 18 September.

Information about working around the current environment of COVID-19
COVID-19 has made us relook at how we deliver the Family Day at the National Museum of Scotland.  Whilst we can’t be certain about what social distancing measures will be in place in May 2021 we are keen to proceed with our planning taking into account as many variables as possible.  In the first instance this means we are not looking at works that need to be delivered in traditional theatre venues – flexibiltiy and adaptability is key.


What kind of ideas are you looking for?
We are looking for ideas that families might not expect to come across, performed in public spaces within the centre of Edinburgh.  Highlights from previous Family Days include one-to-one performances, durational performance and installations, pop up dance.  We are looking for exciting, inclusive ideas that cater for young audiences and their families, from babies upwards.  Photos of the Family Day 2019 event can be viewed here.

You don’t need to have experience of making work for young audiences before but you should have a strong passion for the importance of children and young people as an audience. Applications can come from individuals, collectives or companies. 

What information should I include in my application?
The most important thing is to paint a picture of your idea.  You can include images and links to films or other online information to help us imagine the performance.  Tell us about who will be involved, how the audience might encounter the work (interactive, walkabout, durational, traditional audience style etc), and importantly what sort of space, environment or part of the city you imagine the piece working in.

What you don’t need to include at this stage are CVs for those involved or a budget, as we will work on that with you.

How will the applications be assessed?
For the Family Encounters the panel will talk through each application with the aim of curating a programme that is diverse and inclusive including work that incorporates BSL.  We will also use these criteria:

  • The quality of the idea
  • The relevance of the work for family audiences 
  • The suitability of the work for intended environment
  • Consideration for staging in an as yet to be determined social distance context
  • The potential impact of this opportunity for the artist

Is there a word count/time limit?
Whilst there isn’t a word limit for the description of your idea we would ask you to consider the reader of your application and think about a concise response that will enable them to consider the idea in terms of the criteria listed above. Think about the key things you want us to know and the best way for that to be clear. In particular think about how to get across what the performance will be like.  We are also happy to receive submissions by video (upload to a platform like Vimeo or YouTube with a password) – again please consider the length and make your submission informative yet concise.

Can I apply if I have no existing connection with Imaginate, or the young audiences sector?
Yes, we would encourage applications from any artists based in Scotland who are interested in making performance for family audiences.

Can I apply if I am not based in Scotland?
This opportunity is only open to artists and companies based in Scotland. We are particularly keen to attract submissions from artists with disability, d/Deaf artists, Black/+ People of Colour, those from minority ethnic communities and all those who feel their voices and stories are not commonly represented.


We aim to ensure the application and selection process is straightforward and fair.  If you have any questions about the process, or the project in general, please email us at