Commission call out: #BlackBoyJoyGone

#BlackBoyJoyGone is a film and public engagement programme to empower Black men, through high quality art, to speak about and share their stories of mental ill health and trauma, and to create new work that helps tell those stories and provoke discussion.

Ashley Karrell, Isaac Ouro-Gnao and Adam Lowe created the hybrid documentary #BlackBoyJoyGone as a starting point for this intervention.  They are now commissioning 5 artists from around the UK* to create original art that responds to the main themes of the film.

Open to artists in all fields who self-described as Black men**, the new work created will be presented in February 2023 at HOME during a final ‘night of’celebration where we will air the original docu-poem, plus the commissioned responses to the film, discussions, networking and provocations on the theme of #BlackBoyJoyGone.

*The project partner cities are Leeds, Huddersfield, Manchester, Coventry, Warwick, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle and London. The team will prioritise to picking artists from across their partner cities.

**We are using the terms Black and men inclusively, to mean anyone of African descent, including throughout the diasporas, who self-identifies as a man, male or transmasc.

  • Commissioning fee: £1000 per commission (to include all costs, expenses and materials)
  • Commitment: One commission and one showcase event in Spring 2023
  • Deadline: Wed 30 Nov 2022

Dates to Bear in mind

  • Wed 30 Nov 2022: Deadline for submissions
  • Dec 2022/Jan 2023: Creation Window
  • Mon 6 Feb 2023: Tech rehearsal for commissions showcase at HOME (Manchester)
  • Tue 7 Feb 2023: Film and commissions shown at HOME as part of PUSH festival.

How to Apply

Send one side of A4 (or a short film of up to 5 minutes) explaining your idea, along with a CV and up to two examples of your work to

For further questions (inc. watching the film)

To request a private link to watch the film, or if you have any question about the commissions, please email Ashley Karell at

About #BlackBoyJoyGone

Partnering with key venues across England, we are screening our BFI-funded hybrid documentary #BlackBoyJoyGone as a starting point for our intervention, delivering workshops and discussions around Black men’s mental health and trauma sparked by the film, and commissioning new responses by self-described Black men to the themes and discussions for local and national sharing.

We will commission a total of 10 artists to create original work on the themes of #BlackBoyJoyGone, working in local community spaces to create a dialogue, showcase local Black art, and open up new conversations around mental health, trauma, and Black masculinity. In the wake of #BLM and #MeToo, this is a positive step to contributing to a worldwide discussion specifically through a British lens, addressing the increased risk of suicide among men, and the worse outcomes for Black men in particular.

Our project will see us work with grassroots community groups as well as more established partner venues, to make sure our docu-poem and the responding work is shared with the most appropriate and relevant audiences we can reach, in the safest and most appropriate manner possible.

The model will follow this process: community screenings, followed by discussions and workshops; a live screening for the public with the initial community groups and any prospective artists invited to join us for discussion; a period of commissioning and developing new work for showcase in a local venue; a final ‘night of’ celebration, airing the original docu-poem, plus the commissioned responses to the film, discussions, networking and provocations on the theme of #BlackBoyJoyGone.

The Team

Ashley Karrell is an award-winning artist in Film, Photography, Theatre and Visual Art with a career spanning over 20 years. He has produced a broad spectrum of work that includes visual art, commercial and experimental video productions and mass participation pieces across and outside of the UK. Ashley delivers large and small-scale productions at public exhibitions, events and festivals, and pursues work, which explores ideas of community, is socially engaging, and internationally-minded. His name is well known for the film and documentary of Geraldine Connor’s epic masterpiece Carnival Messiah, which debuted at the Leeds International Film Festival 2017. Its West Indies premier was at the Film Festival in Trinidad in September 2018, where it won the People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary. 2022-23 Marks a new journey of creativity with the release of seven films, BFI Doc Society funded hybrid film #BlackBoyJoyGone, ACE funded dance theatre film Displaced, Journey’s Festival – ArtReach funded refugee dance and animation film Reckoning, Sadlers Wells film Negus, Serendipity’s Siren Calls: To an Illusive Journey, South Asian art film UnLimited Desires, and the supernatural thriller Daisy Daisy. For more info please check and follow @ashleykarrell on Twitter and Instagram.

Isaac Ouro-Gnao is a Togolese-British multidisciplinary artist and freelance journalist. He creates empathetic and thought-provoking work rooted in traditional African realism, magical realism, and Africanfuturism. His impact in the dance world has been multifaceted; working as a performer, voice artist, scriptwriter, and marketer for esteemed dance theatre artists and companies. Credits include award-winning Family Honour (2018) by Spoken Movement; Olivier award-winning BLKDOG (2018) by Far From The Norm; sold-out solo The Oreo Complex (2018); nationally acclaimed Father Figurine (2019) by Body Politic; and Foreign Bodies (2019) by Ella Mesma Company. Isaac’s movement is rooted in West African Contemporary, Hip Hop, Popping, and House through the inspiration and tutelage of Vicki Igbokwe, Kwame Asafo-Adjei, Alessandra Seutin, and Thomas Presto. His work has also been influenced by Seeta Patel and Tomislav English. He honours them all. His writing has appeared in the form of features, reviews, and poetry in publications such as Lolwe, The Stage, A Younger Theatre, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, and more. Isaac is a member of Body Politic’s board of directors and is a mental health advocate through Mind charity’s Young Black Men steering group.