The Graduate Fund

Class of 2020

Apply Now (until 31 Mar)

The Graduate Fund is currently focused on supporting graduates from the 'Class of 2020' at a pivotal point, as they take their first steps in the wider industry following completion of their studies at the conservatoire.

In light of COVID-19, we are aware that musicians need support more than ever. The programme will therefore provide access to vital funding and a tailored programme of support which enables our alumni to test out new business ideas, develop their artistry or participate in additional training and mentoring opportunities as they embark on their careers in the wider industry.

Graduates from the 'Class of 2020' (i.e. all those who completed a course in the academic year 2019/20) are eligible to apply for the first round of The Graduate Fund.

We welcome applications from all members of our 'Class of 2020' community. Our intention with this fund is to support a diverse range of applicants.

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Aims of the Fund

  • To enable graduates of Leeds Conservatoire to further develop their artistry and/or creative businesses, beyond their studies
  • To provide direct financial backing, which can be used as leverage for gaining support (both financial and in-kind) from other external funding programmes, talent development partners and other industry organisations
  • To support alumni as they look to undertake short periods of study (e.g. online short courses, online conferences/seminars) or mentoring
  • To signpost applicants towards the range of existing talent development programmes and funding support that currently exists in the sector

What the Programme Will Involve

  • Dedicated artist/business support, provided by the Enterprise and Alumni Team at Leeds Conservatoire
  • Specialist advice on applying for other funding programmes available in the sector, or on attracting in-kind support from other partners
  • A micro grant of up to £500, which can be utilised in full, or as part match funding towards the specific business and/or artist development activity as indicated below

Micro Grants - Eligible Activity

  • Prototype Development
  • Photo/Video Production
  • PR Campaigns
  • Specialised Business Advice
  • Studio Time
  • Logo/Brand Development
  • Course fees for online short courses
  • Attendance at an online conference or seminar
  • Online Mentoring – you should state who the mentor will be

NB: Any other reasonable requests not outlined above will be considered.

Micro Grants - Ineligible Activity

  • Retrospective activity – i.e. for costs that have already been incurred/project activity that has already taken place
  • Purchase of musical equipment or software
  • Activities where the core beneficiaries are not Leeds Conservatoire graduates
  • Audition fees for postgraduate studies at Leeds Conservatoire, or elsewhere
  • Any further, higher or postgraduate qualification
  • Activities which are not directly related to music, the performing arts, or the creative industries
Jazz ensemble performing live

The Application Process

Applications for the Graduate Fund will open on 1 March 2021 and close on 31 March 2021.

Eligible applicants can apply for activity which takes place from late-April onwards.

Interested Class of 2020 graduates are asked to complete a short online application form, which outlines their project, desired outcomes and potential impact on their career. 

To discuss your idea, prior to the point of application, please contact a member of our Alumni and Enterprise Team via

The application form can be found here. 

NB: any late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Introductory Webinar

We will be hosting an introductory webinar which will provide some detail on the funding programme on 1 March 2021. To register your interest in this webinar, please provide your details here.


Your application will be considered by a panel, comprised of members of the alumni community, industry experts and Leeds Conservatoire staff.

We hope to be able to communicate decisions in the week commencing the 19 April 2021. We expect to be able to make grant payments to successful applicants within 30 days of receiving applicants’ bank details.

All unsuccessful applicants will be offered feedback on their application where possible, or be signposted towards other opportunities that might be of relevance to them.

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Who Can Apply?

The Graduate Fund is open to emerging artists and creative entrepreneurs who previously studied at Leeds Conservatoire and completed a course in the academic year 2019/20.

Applicants must be able to provide Leeds Conservatoire with a proof of home address if requested (e.g. a recent utility bill, council tax bill etc.)

Individuals will only be awarded funding once throughout the lifetime of this programme.

Sorry, but we are unable to support those who completed a course with us and are currently participating in a programme of further study (whether at Leeds Conservatoire or another educational institution).

How Many Awards Will There Be?

We plan to make at least 10 awards through this programme.

If the total costs of your project exceed £500, we expect to see some indication of match funding, or a clear plan of how you intend to raise the remaining funds required.

COVID-19 Statement

We fully appreciate that plans may need to change in light of COVID-19. However, we expect applications to detail how activity will comply with UK Government advice on restrictions and social distancing measures as appropriate. For example, the vast majority of activity may take place online.

Apply for The Graduate Fund (live until the 31 March 2021)

Alternatively find out more about our support for our graduate community

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