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Discussion in 'The Business Side' started by USE, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. USE

    USE Primal Visions

    ive been working on grant applications for a while now, and im getting nearer i think to producing a viable application. ive got a bit scared of sending them off cos ive worked so hard on em, and i dont take rejection well. i was just wondering if anyone had any success with grants and if they had any tips?

    the grants i am applying for are:

    www.nesta.org (proper mission, loads of cash tho)
    http://www.awardsforall.org.uk/ (pretty likely, few grand)http://www.princes-trust.org.uk (pretty likely, few grand)
  2. andythetwig

    andythetwig New Member

    what sort of thing are you proposing?
  3. videoswitchboard

    videoswitchboard Pointless Crew-Glasgow

    hi USE.

    got money from the Brittish council and Scottish arts council for




    and this too

    bottom line: we had many rejections before receiving our first small grants (few hundreds squids or so..) then you can kind of build it up by re-applying every year for bigger amounts. Helps if you piggy back your VJing project with more conventional art events (a lot of festivals seem to have a VJ section these days). I feel that doors are opening up and it seems ok to mention VJing in applications. the Avit guys must have got some ok funding last year.

    I suppose even the free party scene is ok to mention as far as artistic credentials go... look at what the ex desert-storm lot are up to (funded).

    so far it still seems like you can save up more money doing an average computer job as you can by applying for grants as it takes so fuckin' long.
    but it's not just about the cash i guess.

    good luck.

  4. mikef

    mikef New Member

    good answer dav, well summed up

  5. USE

    USE Primal Visions

    innit. food for thought. thanks so much. when ive fully digested this i'll say more.
  6. levon

    levon Headless Chicken

    I applied for a grant from the South Australian government for a Visual project, got it first time, but unfortunately in the end i had to turn it down for various reasons.

    I think the main thing in writing a grant proposal is to make sure the project is relatively original.. my project wasn't all that new compared to other things i've seen on VJ forums, but as no one else in Adelaide had done anything like it it was unique. depending on the grant, you might be up ageist tradition forms of art, painting, dance, music etc, so a digital project that has something new to offer will stand out. Also make sure you get the whole point across and make sure you get some non techy friends to read it, in my first draft of the proposal a friend didn't realize that it would be live visuals, they though it would be pressing play on a DVD, and if a friend doesn't understand it, some traditional artist might not. and do allot of drafts, get your mum and dad, and anyone you trust to read it.
  7. Amukidi

    Amukidi New Member

    This is a good idea, up to a point. Your proposal should be clearly understandable, for sure, but, in order to succede in this area, you do need to carefully scan ALL of the requirements needed in each individual case. What i mean is, thoroughly read and re-read the grant awarder's documents and remit. There will be key elements that they are looking for, and if you don't meet their "agenda", it doesn't matter how good your submission is, you'll get nowhere. For this reason, it is probably a good idea to to get your friends etc to read the requirements for the grant too, and ask them what they percieve the awarder's are actually looking for - it ain't always clear in the first reading!
    In the big picture, there is nothing "ageist" about "trafition" (sic) forms of art - don't make the mistake of assuming that these folks won't understand your submission, as it could be constued as arrogance, but is more like isolationism. Any Arts organisation, set up to award financial support, will have a clear set of agendas and requirements. Their awards will be aimed at carefully chosen areas of work. All you have to do is identify these, and you are half way there. Keep plugging on, you'll have loads of "failures", that is par for the course, but persitence , combined with an understanding of how to "jump through their hoops" will pay off in the long run.
  8. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    yeah sadly its all about tick boxes - this has meant that for years in the UK it is easy to get funding for educational workshops with unemployed black teenage disabled single mother lesbians but much harder to get money to actually make some good art.

    the tragic reality of this situation has lead to many vulnerable people being offered wholly inappropriate "workshops" to learn skills that will be utterly useless to them, whilst simultaneously failing to be offered any real training that might have a genuine chance of improving their future.

    the arts council and others are at least somewhat aware of this and i believe that they are making efforts to partly change the focus of funding - providing more support for artists to create decent work rather than forcing artists to earn a living by "educating" uninterested young people so they can spend their spare time creating art.

    learning the language is still vital though - you can get money easily by identifying areas which few people apply for and creating projects that fulfill the funding requirements of these underspend areas. This tends to work best toward the end of the financial year when funders are often desperately trying to find people to give money to so as to be able to justify next years budget. (see the old question of "why are there so many roadworks in February and March?"!)
  9. MoRpH

    MoRpH Moderator

    Good tips tom ;)
  10. PilotX

    PilotX Tom syzygy, not Dan ;)

    as usual spot on comments by sleepy and amukidi..
    yes avituk recieved funding from the Arts Council for our events in brighton in 2003 and Birmingham in 2005.. also some poeple (I'm pretty sure Many2 in 2002 at least) got funding to travel to avituk events..

    what is it you are thinking of doing? As tom said there is a lot of money available for educational things (and most of the money avituk received from the arts council was for education, rather than performance or the creation of any of the gallery works. It also helped that we had so much volunteer time.. any unpaid time you can add onto the costs & income as payments in kind.. this raises the total value of the project even though there is not the actual cash passing through, and makes it more attractive to funding organisations (but if they think you are taking the piss then they'll turn you down of course).

    thing is you've got to send them off or you'll not get money... although avituk got it's first funding application accepted me (and most other people involved) had had applications turned down for things previously.. you'll only get experience by trying.. National Lottery awards for all is great, but is focused on community projects, and you'll need to be sure you tick their boxes in terms of the aims they have - which are often focused on disadvantaged areas & communities - but it is setup as something intended for people who are not used to applying for grants.. Prince of Wales is similar - assume you are under 30 - but I'm not sure what their grant scheme is - the (starship*) enterprise allowance scheme you have to be turned down by commercial funders (ie banks) before you can apply for them..

    the good thing is that the Arts Council recognise VJing as something that is worth being funded - to be honest I think that they believe that the UK can take a leading role in the formation of a vaguely new art form and want to push this.. fuckit vjing is cool even if most people don't actually know what it is until you explain it to them.. the arts council needs to be involved in "cool" "youth" projects to offset its "we just give tons of cash to the Opera so rich people can pay slightly less for their seats whilst failing to fund more accessable art forms" image.. that's just the politics of the situation.. and it doesn't matter so much if it's small or big projects (though I'm sure they'd love national media attention for other things they fund and not just the opera) becuase it all comes down to being able to tick boxes to present reports to the politicians who decide what budget to give (unless of course they don't spend the all the money they've been given in which case they won't get as much.. thankyou mrs thatcher.)
    hmm.. gone of on a bit of a rant there but never mind.. if my memory is correct (and it probably isnt') you are in Leeds (or Sheffield?) .. you shouldn't have any problems in terms of ethnic/poverty requirements.. you'll probably need to show what you are going to do to attract ethnic minorities & disadvanteged people & women if it's not immediately obvious from what the project is..
    but more info on the project would be good for better advice.. pm me if you want.
  11. andythetwig

    andythetwig New Member

    straight from the pages of the daily mail... Although I may be reading the wrong thing into what you say, as I don't think you're half as agro in real life as you come across in your posts!

    Your notion of "good art" is elitist and misleading. You might measure art by the amount of money spent on it's creation, but some people measure it on it's social value. The word "art" should be dropped all together as people spend too much time arguing about what it is and not enough time doing it.

    I frantically searched for a higher meaning for my work when I did "Fine Art" at uni. I got all tied up in concepts, philosophy, wordage- but it all meant fuck all to the little deaf kid who wandered into my degree show. It was a conceptual sound piece which I had spent months justifying to the tutors. The deaf kid's teacher signed to him "i wish you could hear this". I instinctively put his hand onto the box so he could feel the vibrations. the look on his face changed my life... That single moment had more poignancy and relevance than any of the words I had written about the work, and I vowed to always make things as accessible to as many people as possible- even if it was at the expense of a higher meaning...

    This is not absolutely true, at least in Hertfordshire, through my partner's organisation I have met thousands of disabled and underpriveleged young people who are benefitting from arts education that just wasn't there before. The money that goes into the Arts Council is tax money, so naturally there has been a trend towards the lowest common denominator- getting a quantifiable return from it that benefits as many people as possible.

    My point to anyone thinking of applying for funding is- definitely contemplate the possibilty of "ticking the boxes" for the community projects, it might be the most rewarding thing you ever do... but like sleepytom says, a half-arsed project is worse than no project at all, so make sure you do it properly, and get some advice about making your work accessible from somebody who is doing it already.
  12. PilotX

    PilotX Tom syzygy, not Dan ;)

    hehe no he's not.. he's also alot more left wing than some of his posts sound - but that's becuase he's not stupid.. what he said is not entirely wrong - look at funding applications and they tend to ask about ethnic minorities, disabled/disadvanteged groups .. mostly this is becuase these groups are economically disadvantaged and that's fair enough.. but some great projects haven't happened, or have had to move elsewhere because they couldn't tick ethnic minority boxes.. as tom said this is changing and obviously good projects do happen.. there is/has been a shift towards showing that you have sought to attract particular groups of people to a project which is of general interest rather than the outcome of having quotas to meet, or having funding judged on previous events in terms of these criteria.
  13. andythetwig

    andythetwig New Member

    you mean they couldn't fulfil the governments countrywide criteria on a local level?

    Maybe, then, that particular grant would have been better spent where people could tick enough minority boxes?

    We're talking so generally here it's hard to put a finger on what people mean- And I'm particularly sensitive about inclusivity so I'm sorry for the soapbox or if I'm missing the point.

    What I would really like to do is put forward the very important argument to anyone reading this thread that making your work inclusive does not lower it's standard or value. Working with the plebs and spazzers is not something that you do in order to raise money for your "good art". There's absolutely no reason any of your work should be inaccessible to anybody these days... you should bear that in mind from the very start, before you've even sent off for the application form for funding.
  14. PilotX

    PilotX Tom syzygy, not Dan ;)

    very diplomatically put.. as it happens the project was moved.. of course it meant that it was a bit rushed as 3 months of time were lost when the funders said it would have to be moved to happen..
    so why should an area which is vastly white, and has a high average income only becuase there is a big split between top earners and lower earners in that area (Ie: there are alot of white disadvanteged kids, but because the area as a whole has an above average income due to a relatively small but extremely high earning portion of the population) be denied art funding? The same economic split happens in areas which are more mixed, but to a lesser extend. Now I'm all for funding money heading to economically disadvanteged areas/people - wealthy people should be able to fund their own art learning/works etc - but where there is a good project, which is very suited for an area, why should it be moved to somewhere less suited, with a smaller amount of time simply becuase ethnic proportions are not right?
    You may read this and think I'm verging on BNP statements but that is not what I'm saying.. I don't think that it is a bad thing that there is some positive discrimination within arts funding, and that any moves towards funding economically disadvantaged areas will also mean a "bias" towards funding ethnic minorities/disabled people as the categories overlap so strongly.
    The problem is that it is very easy to compile statistics based on race, and much more difficult to do so on money (partly becuase it's harder to lie about race, partly becuase the tick boxes are so much easier to work out).. so it's easier to set targets.. then the govt. puts pressure to meet those targets and it becomes what is important, beyond the worth of the project for it's participants.
    Yes I am being vague about the project that was moved as I do not know what legal implications there might be and don't want to take the risk. I can tell you that I beleive that the project worked well after it was moved, but that it would have been much, much better in its original place.. the people that it really helped actually travelled from closer to the original location to take part, those that were local did not, it seem, benefit so much from the project.. because of the move the project cost more, and imho achieved less.

    Although this is in my personal experience and isolated case (not every funder has been particularly bothered about race and I don't think the arts council really talks about it much anymore, though they still ask for it as demographic data it doesn't seem to be a requirement or aim for the funding pools i've seeen), mostly they do want to know about it (unless you are ticking one of the other similar boxes), and I don't believe that the project I'm talking about is the only one that has been affected in that way..

    I'm not going to argue with you about inclusivity - to say that making art inclusive/accessible does not lower it's value is not a strong enough statement imho - the more inclusive/accessible it is the higher it's value (I don't really mean accessible in the challenging kinda sense.. kids books are probably the most accessible in that sense and whilst some are great the best art to me is challenging so by accessible I really mean the same as inclusive - that you do everything you can to allow people to experience it)
  15. andythetwig

    andythetwig New Member

    this is the bit I was talking about specifically. It's total bollocks. Is that a strong enough statement?
  16. andythetwig

    andythetwig New Member

  17. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    I'd forgotten that the project tom is talking about had to be moved too - geeze that makes me even more convinced that I'm not talking bollocks...

    seeing as you don't know me Andy I'll be a bit more specific with an example - a project that i was involved in designing was to take place in secondary schools in the south east - it was a two part project - part 1 was a six week introduction to digital music production - part 2 (the part i was involoved in) was a six week follow on to look at new techniques in AV production (specifically midi triggering and sequencing of video samples as well as general video production techniques) - the students who were supposed to take part in this project were GCSE music students and other 15-16 year olds with a strong interest in the subject matter.

    After we had designed the project, purchased ?10K of equipment for it and trained 30 or so group leaders the projects funding criteria were changed (ie the middleman funding distribution organisation changed their requirements) so the project was transplanted (against everyone who'd designed its will) into weekly drop in sessions for 8-19 year olds in youth clubs (in economically disadvantaged areas)

    needless to say it was not possible to engage a random group of such a wide age range into the project we had designed (they had not attended part 1 after all) and the net result was that kids in desperately depressing areas received some very shoddy improvised workshops by people that were not briefed on what they were supposed to be doing. total cost of the project was over ?50,000 which could of been spent tackling some real issues (drugs, unemployment, lack of skills etc etc) in the economically disadvantaged areas. You could even of spent the money providing talored arts based education to the youth groups - simply going on the tickboxes of the funders though is not good enough and leads to projects being transplated from one place to another when they are totaly unsuitable for the people who end up reciving them.


    now to answer your accusations of bollocks talking.. I do not believe that all art should be accessible to everyone - this kind of anit-elitist attitude has been holding back British art for decades. ((that is not to say that i don't think everyone should have access to Art - just that artist should not be aiming at the lowest common denominator))

    of course we need to fund education in the arts but we also need to fund artists to create art - the two are separate issues

    insisting that ALL artists should be providing workshops to needy kids is bollocks! sure some people may enjoy doing workshops - some areas may dramatically benefit from receiving arts workshops too but to insist that you have an educational element to every project is utter nonsense and ultimately not only prevents Art from being as advanced and good as it could be it also provides very shoddy education to people who deserve much much better.

    not all artists can teach - let good teachers provide education and let good artists get on with making art.

    elitism is not always a bad thing - anit-elitism often prevents projects from going as far as they could (read an interesting article about anti-elitism in the context of wikipedia written by one of wikipedia's founders)
  18. Lara

    Lara alllgood

    I think as always there's a difference between the ideology of inclusivity, and some disappointing experiences had by people here. I also subscribe to the inclusive ideology and have been mega-priviledged to work alongside some fantastic artists who've made some amazing projects within a disadvantaged community which has been of the highest quality in terms of 'art' in the way people are talking about it here. On the other hand I've done other workshops that have been a total waste of time because of last minute changes etc etc....

    It can be so much down to the viewpoints and attitudes of funders, if the project is designed within a community, rather than in a more generic way witht he hope that those 'tick box' communities turn up....

    Also I think it is a bit bollocks to associate ethnic minorities and deprived communities with 'the lowest common denominator' because that's just not true. It's this view of people as having no skills, no interests and no complexity that in my view can result in the design of crap workshops.
  19. andythetwig

    andythetwig New Member

    This is the crux of your argument I think... and it's wrong. If an artist isn't a teacher, then what are they? A gallery worker? A painter and decorator? a technician? How are teachers supposed to provide an experience as engaging as you- the teachers know even less abouut A/V than the kids!

    If an artist can't teach, then they shouldn't be getting a grant- if you can't impart your knowledge, skills or passion to other people, then I would question your validity as an artist.

    If you inspired 1 person on your project to turn on their computer and create something, then that ?10000 was worth it. My guess is you inspired a lot more than that, no matter how unsatisfying the experience was for you personally.

    Did you get to keep the equipment for your organisation?
  20. MoRpH

    MoRpH Moderator

    I don't think I could possibly disagree with you more, depending on what the aim of the grant is. If its a grant to TEACH ppl art/creative skills then yes you should be able to teach, if its to PRODUCE a work of art, then the ability to teach is completely irrelevant. As for passion... if your not passionate about what your producing, then I would question the artist.
  21. andythetwig

    andythetwig New Member

    I wasn't associating the term with ethnic minorities- just trying to illustrate how, logically, funders will swing towards a project proposal which benefits as many people as possible, not just gallery-goers.
  22. PilotX

    PilotX Tom syzygy, not Dan ;)

    yes if an artist can't teach they shouldn't be getting a grant to teach.. but it is a very different skill to teach to a random set of teenagers who may or may not turn up, and if they do probably won't be interested anyway than to teach to a group who have selected themselves as being interested.. getting a pgce teaching qualification takes 2 years because you have to learn the skills that help you to do this.
    In any case there are going to be many artists who are too depressed/shy/generally mental to teach .. I doubt that someone like Syd Barrett or Phil Specter would have been much good as a teacher, but I wouldn't question the art that they've produced, or their validity.. Also, Sting used to be a teacher, and I'd question his validity strongly ;)
  23. andythetwig

    andythetwig New Member

    fair enough, you believe in an ideal world, that an artist should get money for doing something with no specific use beyond the titilation of educated people, and I don't.

    But we're talking about the reality, and if you're applying for charitable funding, you need to have some charity...

    (your last bit agrees with me though?)

    I'm not going to post in this thread any more, I think all the issues have been raised- and i appear to just be winding people up now!
  24. PilotX

    PilotX Tom syzygy, not Dan ;)

    no neither was I.. and yes it's obvious why a project proposal which benefits as many people as possible will be attractive to funders but thats the fatal flaw of a logic underlied by a combination of utilitarianism and postmodernism - greatest good for the greatest number, but since we can't measure or define what good is we'll just have to go for the greatest number..

    I don't think this is how the people who hand out the money think - but it is of course an element.. they want to look at what benefits there are but unfortunately these are too intangible to be able to justify to the paymasters higher up..
    we can/will continue to go around in circles because there are plenty of very good projects which get money and are completely worthwhile, and there are also plenty of examples of projects which haven't achieved all they can achieve because they've had to be moved/modified to fit with demographic (usually ethnic minority) requirements.. any to me that is wasted money, and wasted money is always bad (even when it means some of it's coming my way).
  25. USE

    USE Primal Visions

    oi dont run away cos you cant stand the heat. thats lame.

    take for example nesta, the nationalendowment for science technology and arts. the point of that organisation is quite plain:

    "NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, is working to increase the UK?s capacity for innovation. We invest in all stages of the innovation process, backing new ideas and funding new ventures that stimulate entrepreneurship."

    now where is the education in that? what they are trying to stimulate is what tony blair called "the nations great untapped resource" that is creative youth.
    in order to get a grant you must prove that your project is pushing the bourdries of art and science (they even set up vjs.net to actract vjs). its about enriching the creative landscape.

    we all know vjing is well expensive, which makes it elitest. but the people who see my work at community events and music events are from a wide range of society, from the poorest chav to the snottiest toff. art inspires people. it enriches their lives. it makes them beleive that the impossible is possible (and it is, reality changes on a daily basis). that to me is the value of art, and what nesta are trying to do is help people who cant afford it become vjs and writers and anyother creative definition that yoy care to name. thsi means there are more producers who would have been prohibited by money, thus more art, and thus a more heavily enriched society.

    teh only criteria for beig an artist shouldnt be if you canafford it or not. otherwise theres just gonna be a load of wishywashy middleclass art (which has its place, but isn the begginning and end). granst level the playing feild.

    tell me that isnt worthwhile.
  26. PilotX

    PilotX Tom syzygy, not Dan ;)

    you're not winding me up :) but I do agree - this thread could go round in circles..
  27. MoRpH

    MoRpH Moderator

    Twist my words and then leave the thread.... nice.

    Well put USE. Arts funding should enrich the lives of all society.
  28. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    ahh we start to see the damage that artschool has done to you here - you inherently believe that art requires education to understand / appreciate.

    i do not believe this to be true - it is possible (indeed likely even) that a bunch of "chavs" that dropped out of secondary school with no qualifications at all can go to a gallery and find some art that they enjoy. They do not need the likes of you to educate them to be able to enjoy some art.

    i would hope that we can find some common ground in the following statements

    "there should be more art"
    "there should be funding available to make art"
    "there should be better public access to art"
    "there should be funding for schemes to improve the lives of disadvantaged people"

    i would add that funding for art should not always be based on requirements to involve the community in its creation - the community can benefit mealy by the existence of works of art.

    people in disadvantaged areas require high quality workshops targeted directly at their needs - in my experience they often do not get this and a lot of money is wasted by providing low quality workshops that do nothing to improve the lives of the participants. making statements like "if you inspire one person then it was worth it" is an excuse for projects that have failed in their objectives - of course it is good to of inspired someone but that doesn't mean the system is beyond reproach.
  29. MoRpH

    MoRpH Moderator

    Here here.... exactly what I was getting at.
  30. Rovastar

    Rovastar /..\

    Creating art has no relation on how well you can teach. In this day and age you could create a work of video art, post on the internet and be totally anonymous. They are teaching no-one apart from how there finished work inspires them. They obviously are not artists too.

    I will probably never go for a grant personally for anything. I'll not wish to go to a scally area and teach scally kids that probably haven't got a real interest in. :)

    Obviously that makes me not an artist in any way.

    If the terms are to my likening then I may do something educational, like for example when I did a talk or two at AVIT. But it is all about terms.

    And even less likely to ask for a grant to just create some new visuals.

    But this is because I will always try and self-fund my work (as opposed to grant hand-outs) and doubt the art council type bodies would have the vision to back anything I would do. Computer Generated Digital Art (especially any realtime) is never recognised in the art world. Hell, sometimes there is often a reluctance to appreciate it here.

    Thankfully the corporate world is more forward thinking (light years ahead even) then the "art world" in embracing my type of "art"*.

    AVIT is an example of arts money being spent - the more "educational" it was the more money was available in a nutshell. I think that there should be some passion, inspiration or educational benefits from every project a grant is applied for.

    This has to be considered too with the amount of people that actually see it and the likelihood they would be inspired by it. E.g. Workshops where people want to be there are more intense learning/teaching for a small group of people so a high benefit for a few. Whereas say a statue in a town centre may be seen by many but the same ratios of benefits for each person will likely to be less.

    I'll stop the stoned ranting now.

    *Never really liked calling it "art" too much but that's how others have decribe my work.

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