Artist Development

Since our launch in 1978, CAN has had a significant regional and national role in supporting artists’ career development, particularly artists from communities that have been historically under-represented in the UK’s creative workforce. Our Artist Development work is delivered though a range of strategies.


CAN’s Artists-in-Residence programme supports individual artists or groups, from new migrant backgrounds, as either emerging or more established artists. Creative mentoring and support involves sharing our expertise in producing, planning, fundraising and marketing and connecting artists to opportunities and networks.

Our work with new migrant artists recognises the substantial challenges in developing a creative career in the UK – growing a profile, developing networks, navigating funding, setting up a business, and securing commissions.

“I became a much better Producer through CAN’s artists-in-residence programme. I’m very proud of my connection with CAN, they gave me the confidence to progress in my career as a Producer and Rapper.”

“Through CAN’s connection with Manchester International Festival (MIF), I appeared with Manchester International Roots Orchestra at the first festival in 2007. My growth as an artist has led to work with the London’s Old Vic theatre.”

Remi Adefeyisian, member of Manchester International Roots Orchestra (MIRO), Artists-in-Residence, 2016

“Through training and mentorship, CAN gave the kind of confidence and leadership skills which have taken me to work internationally with the European Cultural Foundation through TANDEM.

“I talked at the World Health Organisation about the impact of community art on mental health in society. I ALWAYS mention CAN’s role in helping my artistic journey.”

Mahboobeh Rajabi, Artist-in-Residence, 2017

“Thanks to the support from CAN and the networking they facilitated for me, I have been commissioned to write for the Black Gold Festival and Our City, Our Home Festival, I’ve performed as part of MIF’s Festival in My Home and had my work published in numerous anthologies and online magazines.

“CAN has helped me explore new avenues, meet new people, and try out new things.”

Fereshteh Mozaffari Vanani, Artist-in-Residence, 2017

“With CAN’s supportive mentorship, in spring-summer 2019, we toured to seven English cities including Birmingham, Bristol and Newcastle/Gateshead, and we appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The feedback from audiences was tremendous.”

“The support from CAN was a firm foundation and it was invaluable to help us to make a tour of that scale to happen.”

Seyed Ali Jaberi and The Hamdel Ensemble, Artists-in-Residence, 2019



CAN runs specific training programmes for artists, for example, supporting artists to develop better digital skills or market themselves more successfully. Hundreds of people from a wide diversity of cultural and social backgrounds have taken part in these training programmes, expanding their networks, developing skills and supporting one another.

“It’s a great course! So far, it’s helped me get my passion back for my art-form. If you want to improve your CV and sell your work, this is a great place to start.”

Artist from the CAN Do Creatives course, Summer 2020


Supporting cultural leadership

By providing advice, guidance and tailored training, CAN has supported a large number of Artists, Creatives and Community Producers to develop their own cultural organisations, build successful careers, and become respected cultural leaders.


CAN regularly offer paid contracts and commissions to artists, linked to specific projects, in a range of artforms. Well-connected within the UK’s cultural sector, we share the latest news of roles and opportunities on social media and in our latest news.


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