Thinking>Writing>Engaging CALLOUT NOW OPEN


Hashtag #BeACritic

Do you have ambitions to become an art critic?

Like the idea, but don’t know where to start?

Get involved in Thinking>Writing>Engaging, a new project for aspiring writers based in the north-west!

Led by Liverpool John Moores University and The Double Negative arts magazine, and supported by Arts Council England, selected writers will work closely with an established, widely published international arts writer to create their own critical response to the Liverpool art scene. Each writer will receive editorial support, receive a £100 fee and see their article published on The Double Negative and shared widely across the UK.

The aim is to support participants in learning and putting into practice critical thinking skills; to analyse, understand and describe:

  •          - local/global contemporary art practice, including what Liverpool’s arts offer could and should look like in the future;
  •         -  what good critical writing is and why it’s important;
  •         -  how to get published.

Round 1 of the Thinking>Writing>Engaging programme will select 15 writers to work with from May 2014 through until January 2015. Round 2 will open February 2015.

Laura Robertson, Editor at The Double Negative and coordinator of the project, commented:  “We’ve always supported arts criticism at The Double Negative. One observation we’ve made, however, is that many emerging north-west writers are in the early stages of their career, and whilst showing ambition and genuine promise, progress continues to be difficult.

“We are thrilled to be working alongside LJMU and Arts Council England to really encourage and develop critical thinking, and therefore critical writing, in the area, and hopefully kick-start some careers.

Juan Cruz, Director of Liverpool School of Art and Design, said: “This exciting project comes at a time when Liverpool is at a turning point in its relationship with arts and culture.

“Over the last decade, the city has seen a groundswell of creativity, as creative arts practitioners move from the traditional homelands of artistic practice to set up in Liverpool. The city has an artistic heart, a creative spirit and an international appeal. What Liverpool doesn’t have is enough challenging writing about the arts. We haven’t yet engendered the spirit of criticism which is so important to the arts, the development of artists, venues and the ongoing maturity of the local scene.

“Working with The Double Negative to develop the two-year Thinking>Writing>Engaging project, we hope to continue the mission we started with the John Moores Critics Award in 2012 – to develop critical writing, encourage those with a love for art and writing to come forward and publish their opinions and work with the artistic community to make Liverpool the place study and practise the creative arts in the UK.”  


Applicants must be able to travel to Liverpool mid-late May 2014 for a special one-off masterclass.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate an interest in arts criticism and be willing to learn more about what makes a great art critic.

The published articles will be commissioned and produced after the masterclass and editorial discussions have taken place.


Fill in and submit this simple application form by 5pm Thursday 8 May 2014:


The Double Negative online arts magazine is passionate about arts criticism. Publishing a variety of features, essays, interviews and reviews from emerging writers, and read by a core audience of 25-34 year old arts professionals across the UK (of approximately 8000 visitors per month), we feel that critical thinking is an important part of a healthy art scene and as such needs to be encouraged and developed.

LJMU and the Liverpool School of Art and Design is committed to the development of art and design practice in the university and beyond, through fostering strong collaboration with our students, excelling in teaching and learning, embedding research and scholarship in all we do, and engaging with our communities, both socially and economically.


Arts Council England -- the national development agency for the arts in England, distributing public money from the Government and the National Lottery.

JONZO: an emerging Liverpool based Risograph print and design studio which provides a unique print, design and illustration service. Liverpool John Moores graduates and part of the university’s Hunting In Packs scheme.


Laura Robertson, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, The Double Negative

07866 369702 / 0151 728 8532


Dominic Hope-Smith, Publicity and Information Manager, Corporate Communications, Liverpool John Moores University

0151 231 3274


Hashtag #BeACritic 


Clare Coombes, Press and Publications Officer, Liverpool John Moores University, T: 0151 231 3004 

About Us

Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) has over 180 years’ experience educating students in a wide range of disciplines, spanning the arts, humanities, education, health, science and technology and we offer a diverse range of undergraduate degrees, postgraduate taught programmes and research opportunities. Over 95% of research submitted to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014 was of international quality or higher, with more than 70% of impact activity rated internationally excellent or world-leading. We are one of the top performing new universities in the UK for Architecture and Built Environment, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, General Engineering, Physics and Sports-Related Studies. LJMU also continues to be one of the UK’s leading higher education institutions for our interaction with business and the community. We are currently ranked in the top 40 UK universities for staff and graduate start-up companies and in the top 20 for spin-off companies.




This exciting project comes at a time when Liverpool is at a turning point in its relationship with arts and culture.
Juan Cruz, Director of Liverpool School of Art and Design