Training and Continuing Professional Development:
a report on the seminar on fundraising held at the Puppet Centre
Jan 22nd 2004
Speakers: Denise Jones of ACE London and
Sue Buckmaster, director of theatre-rites company
Sue Buckmaster (SB) initiated proceedings
by stating herself privileged to have been on the panel choosing
the recipients of this yearÕs two ACE Bursaries awarded for the
extension of puppetry skills. She noted that all of the applications
were interesting, but that some were inappropriate for such bursaries.
She explained that this seminar had been set up to feedback to individuals
and companies using puppetry and help them to better understand
the funding system, some of the grants available, and some guidelines
for making applications. (She added that the Puppet Centre had recently
been missed as a networking centre, so it was good to be back in
the space for such an event).
Those present were asked to introduce themselves, and place questions
to be dealt with later. Many had never applied for funding and wanted
information on how to proceed.
SB dealt with the Bursary applications
first and gave advice to future applicants:
the guidelines carefully (ACE/Puppet Centre bursary guidelines
to be refined for next year)
in mind the intention of bursary funding initiatives:
the application has strong educational links, there are other
sources for this kind of work, for example Creative Partnerships
Bursary is not a support in order to provide a free service to
a company or artist (however if outside any bursary application
you do offer such a service, remember to tell the institution
, company or person as much as possible about yourself and why
you wish to render them a service)
Bursary is not for funding for projects already in development:
it is for personal professional development and cannot be production-led.
An approach to ACE or other source
for a Research and Development grant is more appropriate
: the Bursary is primarily to benefit England, so anything gained
by travel abroad must well demonstrate such benefit
your mentor(s) with care -take advice
thoroughly the information requested, and find clues in the guidelines
as to the sort of language to use in the application
Jones (DJ) carefully explained the present situation and changes
in grant applications to Arts Council England:
Regional Arts Boards have gone. Arts Council England is now one
organisation with regional offices.
grants have been amalgamated into the programme called 'Grants
for the Arts';
is one form which applies to all applications across all art-forms
including theatre grants;
can apply for more than one activity, within a single application.
You can also make more than one application at any one time, although
we do not encourage this. When we assess your application we will
consider your ability to manage more than one activity at a time.
are three separate strands of grants: Organisations, Individuals
and Touring. Money is ring-fenced for each, they are not in competition
with each other.
are dealt with in the first instance by the ACE regional offices;
any application should go to the office in your region (if on
a border or in doubt about your region phone the Theatre Department
in the ACE regional office closest to you)
& A Session:
How much money is available per
For individual grants: £1.7 million available for the
London region. This includes writers, producers, and all sorts of
theatre practitioners, including writers. Grants range from £200
to £30,000 maximum. These are managed by the regional office. Average
grant from the London Theatre Unit is currently £6,100; most are
For grants to organisations: £5 million available for the London
region: if applying as an organisation you should have a constitution
although it does not have to be formally constituted, nor a registered
charity, Grants range from £200 to £100,000 max. This is Lottery
money. Average grant from the London Theatre Unit is currently £17,000.
For Touring grants: £10 million is available nationally: national
touring applies where two regions or more are covered. Grants range
from £5,000 - £200,000. This is Lottery money managed by the national
office. The average grant from the London Theatre Unit is currently
changes in grants for the arts procedures
- There are
no deadlines, and a quicker turnround for the processing of an
application. Grant requests for £5000 or less should be dealt
with in 6 weeks; for £5001 and up in 12 weeks;
is more flexibility: single or combination activities are considered.
A project may be one lasting up to three years.
- The form
is simplified. ACE has an obligation to monitor the distribution
of funds and who will benefit. Questions relating to ethnic origin
are used only for this purpose.
application should be accompanied by a separate written proposal
for your project in your own words. There are guidelines with
the application pack.
- You may
re-submit a n application, but it would need to be substantially
strengthened. Always take advice from an ACE officer before considering
priorities are different in each region. However, some of the
national priorities are: new work, new collaborations, cross-art
form work; work for young people; multi-cultural participation.
- The financial
management of the project must be clearly set out in the proposal.
to the constitution of an organisation, the Independent Theatre
Council (ITC) can help both individuals and organisations in theatre.
may be discussed over the phone or, occasionally, in person with
an ACE officer. The theatre department would like to have contact
with all potential applicants; however it is the applicants' responsibility
to let ACE know to more people and thinks it necessary to know the
applicants to her department. However, it is the producers' responsibility
to let ACE know what they are doing or planning, preferably before
submitting an application.
Five areas of assessment
It is important
for applicants to acknowledge where their skills are deficient and
how the deficiency will be made up - e.g. by hiring an accountant
or a marketing person.
- demonstrating an individual voice and artistic vision; showing
the track record of all collaborations to ensure quality of work,
recommendation and previous reviews also useful, try to include
them into the body of the proposal, rather than attaching them
-e.g. track record, skills, experience, planning capability and
clarity of intention; if an organisation how constituted etc.
- balancing budgets, professional wages, contingency inclusion,
10% partnership funding; check appropriate financial controls
in place etc.
benefit - what is the immediate or long-term benefit to
the applicant or others involved? Is your project good value for
money? Who is your intended audience? What groups are targeted,
how do you plan to attract them? etc.
national aims - these aims are listed in the application
pack and include evidence of excellence, new ideas, investment
in artists, increasing national resources for the arts. You need
only meet one of the national aims to be eligible, it can be better
to meet one to a high standard then several adequately.
Cross art-form applications
Applications can cross art-forms We can look at applications alongside
other departments such as education and diversity where necessary.
You don't have to choose between art-forms. Many artists work in an
interdisciplinary way eg. with work containing dance, drama and puppetry,
this is acceptable. There are no barriers against the sort of work
you can apply to support, however it is centrally important that the
applicant should themselves work to define the nature and focus of
their own work.
To a question posed, DJ said that the artist does not have to be of
the same ethnic origin as the work (eg an artist can present Kathakali
dance drama without being of Asian descent); it should be appropriate
for the context and the applicant should be able to demonstrate knowledge
of the area they work in and awareness of their target audience.
This is very important. How are you going to find an audience for
your project? If your project has benefit for a particular target
group how will you reach them? If you do not have a specific target
group remember competition for audiences can be fierce, especially
in big cities, where there is lots of choice.
What is not funded (by grants for the arts) includes:
Work by full-time students
Film work (alternative funding sources from other organisations are
See application form for the full list
What is funded includes:
Travel and other bursaries
National and regional touring
A strong application will have a clear relationship with the venue(s)
proposed. Do not apply until you have established relationships with
venues. How well is the artist supported by any venue? Care homes
and schools count as venues.
Why have you chosen any particular venue? Is there 'public benefit'?
Continuing professional development
What is your current position? What do you want to achieve? How will
your development be supported, evaluated, monitored? Who are your
associates? The project should be self-defining. What is best for
the future work you want to do? You need to communicate the essence
and flavour of your work, and explain how it is unique.
10% matching funding
This may be offered as support in kind as well as cash/earned income
Š e.g. free rehearsal space. Support in kind is anything you would
normally pay for
SB: when planning a project don't forget the research and development
period can be a separate part of the project and buy time before it
happens. Grants are usually less than £10,000, for individuals or
companies. Most are £5000 or under.
Final advice offered
the application pack may be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org
or telephone: 08453 006
- If possible look on the Internet
for extra advice and detail on making your application and filling
out the form more successfully. There is a section on 'Understanding
the assessment criteria' accessed through 'information and publications'
- 'lots of useful information'.
- Take advice from colleagues
or friends who are experienced and successful at applying for
- Grant applications are time-consuming
and may take a two-week focussed period to complete depending
on size of project .
- DonÕt underplay yourself or
your work: be positive but remember to give concrete egs of all
relevant skills and experience to support your application
- Clarity of vision is essential:
ACE wants to hear your voice, so they have a clear sense of the
unique artist and project they are funding.
- References may be included,
but should be distilled into the body of the proposal
- Write the application, leave
it for a day or two, come back to it to see if it needs revising
40% (approximately) of applications to the Theatre Department are
successful. Consideration of an application can go through three
tiers of assessors: depending on the type of application. The first
tier of assessors has specialist art-form knowledge (e.g. of puppetry).
All final decisions are taken at Senior Management level.