HOME Slough opens applications for arts grants

10 Aug 2022

HOME Slough has launched the On Your Doorstep programme, an arts grant funding scheme that aims to bring communities together through new arts and cultural experiences.

The overall funding total is £15,000. Grants of between £500 and £1,000 will be awarded to individuals, groups and organisations to fund an arts event or activity.

“On Your Doorstep is an opportunity for people to bring new arts and cultural activities to their local communities,” Jake Orr, creative producer at HOME Slough, told Slough Express. 

“We want to commission anything – knitting, dance, film, puppetry or craft – that is arts-based, high-quality and will attract new audiences to get involved. We are looking for great ideas and for people to have some fun.”

Events can offer any type of cultural activity but in order to be considered for a grant they must be free and allow as many people as possible to participate. 

Submissions are reviewed by HOME Slough’s Community Programming Board, a group of local Slough residents, and successful applicants will be offered guidance and support to help develop the initial idea.

The first commissioned work is expected in September and activities will continue into next year.

Equity launches Comedians’ Charter at Edinburgh Fringe

A comedian on stage in front of an audience
09 Aug 2022

The performing arts trade union has issued guidance to promoters and venues on transparent pay and safe working conditions for comedy acts.

Call for artist compensation over loss of Fringe app

01 Aug 2022

Performing arts and entertainment union Equity says the Edinburgh Fringe should compensate performers over the absence of the official app at this year’s event.

The Edinburgh Fringe app is widely considered to be vital for generating ticket sales. Earlier this month, an open letter from the Live Comedy Association, signed by over 1,600 performers, promoters and venues, condemned the Fringe Society for a lack of transparency over it's decision to withdraw the app.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society CEO Shona McCarthy has since apologised, adding “we really should have better communicated that the app would be one of the casualties of our financial constraints this year”.

Equity has acknowledged the Fringe’s apology but says partial refunds should be given to those who registered for the event before the announcement the app would be unavailable.

“This would be an important goodwill gesture and help repair the damaged relationship with performers at this year’s Fringe,” said Equity’s Organiser for Comedians Rob Lugg.
“The removal of the Fringe app could impact ticket sales as well as accessibility for disabled audience members. 

“This is concerning as two years of Covid restrictions have hit our members hard, and with an out of control cost-of-living crisis, the biggest threat to the future of the Edinburgh Fringe is performers deciding that they cannot afford to take part.”

Unlimited announces £584k disability arts programme

28 Jul 2022

Disabled arts commissioning body Unlimited is partnering with 17 UK organisations to deliver a funding programme for disabled artists worth over half a million pounds.

Funding has come from Arts Council England, Arts Council Wales, Creative Scotland and Unlimited's 17 partners and will be split across 20 awards, offering grants between £15k and £60k.

The pot includes £280k from the British Council, which will go towards international awards.

Unlimited says the programme will give disabled artists the chance to develop work across rural and city locations, either digitally or in person, sharing either collective or individual experiences.

Senior Producer Cat Sheridan said the programme reflects Unlimited's mission as a newly independent organisation to “challenge the cultural sector, change perceptions of disability and back disabled artists”.

“We cannot do that without working in partnership, and this year’s round of awards demonstrates not only national but international ambition and appetite for that change to happen.”

Applications will open 4 October and close 31 October.

McKellen reopens funding programme for producers

26 Jul 2022

Actor Ian McKellen has announced a second round of his funding programme designed to help theatre producers pay actors a living wage.

The scheme was set up to support theatre producers staging new plays and revivals that feature casts including recently graduated actors. 

Grants of up to £25,000 are available to cover actors’ fees in rehearsal or performance in situations where the work would not be possible without the funding. The first round of grants were awarded to six productions, which received varying amounts. 

“Starting out in the professional theatre, ambition and good intentions are rarely enough. Even the most successful production, in a small theatre, cannot hope to raise sufficient funds to cover costs,” McKellen said.

“Too many emerging producers and newly trained actors live on the breadline, discouraged as well as hungry. Hence this scheme to support work that would otherwise be done on the cheap or not done at all. Our grants provide the dignity of work for a living wage.”

The deadline to submit an application for the fund is August 31.

Arts Council NI funding streams target individual artists

26 Jul 2022

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has opened a range of funding programmes to support the work of individual artists as part of its Support for Individual Artists Programme (SIAP).

The programme provides funding to artists at all career stages, working across all artforms both domestically and internationally.

The funds now open for applications include the General Arts Award, which funds “specific projects, specialised research, personal artistic development and certain materials and equipment”; the Artists Career Enhancement Scheme, which offers training and mentoring to support the professional development of career artists; and the Artists International Development Fund, an annual programme that supports overseas opportunities for individual, freelance and self-employed artists and organisations.

Artists can apply to more than one scheme but will not be awarded more than one grant per funding round. The deadline for funding applications is August 30.

The SIAP Major Individual Awards is also open for applications until August 15. The scheme supports established artists with national or international recognition to develop “extended or ambitious work”, covering specific projects, specialised research, personal artistic development and materials and equipment.

The SIAP Minority Ethnic Residency and Mentoring Programme is accepting applications until August 22. The scheme is designed to create opportunities for “specialised training, research, cultural exchanges, networking and learning for individual artists, creative practitioners and arts administrators from minority ethnic and migrant backgrounds”.

The SIAP Travel Awards, a rolling programme, is accepting applications for individual artists and music groups of up to four members to visit a host organisation outside Northern Ireland to develop skills and expertise.

West Yorkshire launches arts, culture and heritage consultation

26 Jul 2022

West Yorkshire Combined Authority is launching a consultation into a new programme to develop arts, culture, heritage and sport in the area.

Locals are being invited to share their opinions and contribute to the final content of the Culture, Heritage and Sport Framework via an online platform.

The draft framework is part of West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin’s Creative New Deal, which aims to ensure the creative industries are included in the area’s post-pandemic recovery strategy. The framework focuses on four central themes - people, place, skills and business - all of which will be supported by the Combined Authority.

“There is no doubt that the arts, culture, heritage and sport bring so much joy to so many people in our region,” Brabin said.

“They improve our mental and physical wellbeing, create jobs, grow our economy, and attract talented people and businesses to our region.”

She praised West Yorkshire’s sculpture and contemporary art, as well as its “thriving and fiercely independent music sector, a rich literary tradition, internationally significant theatre, dance and opera companies, major music and literature festivals, and cutting-edge hubs for the games, screen and events industries.”

“This is served by an eco-system of innovative small and medium enterprises and freelancers,” she added.

Initiative to improve accuracy of public performance royalties

21 Jul 2022

A new music industry initiative is hoping to drive more accurate royalty payments for artists and songwriters from public performance.

Recognise the Music is a joint project between the Music Venue Trust, tech start-up Audoo, the Featured Artists Coalition, the Association of Independent Music and the Music Managers Forum.

It aims to help venues check their performing rights organisation licence fees are distributed to artists and songwriters with the upmost accuracy.

Unidentifiable and inaccurate royalty payments are widespread issues in the music industry, with Audoo estimating that over £2bn in global revenue cannot be properly tracked. This results in many artists missing out on revenue due to inaccurate data collection and reliance on estimates or radio play.

Around 400,000 venues in the UK hold a performing rights organisation licence and are being encouraged to sign up at Recognise the Music’s website.

Audoo has developed an Audio Meter, which fits into a standard electrical socket, that can recognise what music is playing and securely fingerprint it, to ensure the data is captured.

“Venues don’t need to report, everything is automated. The music fees they have to pay flows straight through to the artists. It’s important because everyone is paid accurately and correctly,” Audoo CEO Ryan Edwards says.

“Recognise the Music is really special to us because it does exactly what it says it will. It recognises music to ensure that all artists of all shapes and sizes have their music recognised and that they’re paid equally and correctly.”

'Strong case' for ACE to increase creative grant limits

Female artist painting
14 Jul 2022

Independent evaluation of ACE programme supporting individual creatives to work on personal projects suggests £2,000 increase to upper grant limit. 

Former hospital in Dumfries to become £15m cultural site

12 Jul 2022

An ambitious new cultural site has been planned for a disused former hospital building set amid 85 acres of grounds on the outskirts of Dumfries in Scotland. 

The £15m project, funded and overseen by the Crichton Trust, will begin with a design competition to find architects to construct the new building, provisionally called the Crichton Centre for Memory and Wellbeing.

It will house the Crichton Archive and the Crichton Heritage Centre, as well as a new visual arts and exhibition space, an academic study space and resource centre and a land art archives and research centre.

The project aims to transform cultural provision in Dumfries and Galloway and complement the facilities and organisations at the Crichton, which is home to a range of academic institutions and business.

The competition to find architects is designed to encourage collaboration between different practices, including smaller firms. It is partly funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund.

The closing date for initial submissions is August 19, after which a blind shortlisting process will award five teams £20,000 each to develop their proposals. The winning team is due to be announced in November.

“We are very excited about creating the Crichton Centre for Memory and Wellbeing, in what will become a new landmark building in the heart of the Crichton,” said the trust’s Chief Executive Gwilym Gibbons.

“This is one of several development projects included within our ambitious 100-year plan for The Crichton and is an important milestone in our journey to connect people, place and the past to shape the future.”

DCMS offers performers assurances over AI protections

11 Jul 2022

Minister defends provisions within Online Safety Bill amid concerns that advances in deepfake technology and plans to remove copyright restrictions on data harvesting will impact performers and musicians.

Edinburgh Festival director calls for visa-free travel for artists

11 Jul 2022

The outgoing director of the Edinburgh International Festival has called on government to simplify visa to allow musicians and artists to travel overseas more smoothly.

Fergus Linehan, who directs his last international festival next month, said the UK’s post-Brexit visa rules have stifled collaboration, making it harder for British artists to tour abroad, labelling the situation a “disaster”.

He has called on government to introduce visa-free travel for artists and address logistical problems affecting companies importing touring equipment into the UK.

“Clearly, when musicians go to perform [in another country], they’re not going to set up home," he said. 

"That’s not what it’s about. So visa-free movement for people. We’re part of an ecosystem. The idea of discouraging collaboration is a disaster in our industry."


British Council and Ukrainian Institute launch joint season

27 Jun 2022

The British Council and the Ukrainian Institute have launched the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture, a new programme designed to support the Ukrainian arts sector.

The season, which has been planned since 2019, marks 30 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, its theme is “Future Re-Imagined”. 

It will focus on the changing needs and priorities of the Ukrainian arts sector and aim to provide new opportunities for Ukrainian artists. A programme of activities, events, grant-funded projects, residences, talks, films and lectures will take place in the UK, online and in satellite locations.

The season will also support future Ukrainian artistic collaboration through a series of grants worth up to £30,000, based on the results of an open call launched last October.

They will include the development of residencies for Ukrainian musicians and dancers; theatre pieces that examine Ukrainian political and cultural history; professional development opportunities for Ukrainian journalists and collaborations with Ukrainian designers, photographers and digital artists for London Fashion Week.

The season launched last week at Sheffield DocFest with a display of artworks and screenings of Ukrainian documentaries. 

Upcoming highlights include Cheltenham Book Festival and the Kyiv Book Arsenal partnering for a special Ukraine Day event celebrating emerging voices in Ukrainian literature; a Ukrainian to English Literary Translation Summer School at the University of East Anglia, bringing together translators and authors; and a programme at the 2022 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival focusing on contemporary Ukrainian opera and chamber music.

“While the whole of Ukrainian society is affected by the Russian aggression, artists and creatives are among the most vulnerable groups,” said Volodymyr Sheiko, Director General of the Ukrainian Institute. 

“Ukrainian culture is a major target in this war, so it is particularly important to continue building networks and supporting the creative sector.”

Visual arts face serious challenges

Turner prize 2019 Tai Shani, DC Semiramis
21 Jun 2022

While much has been written about the impact of Brexit on the performing arts, Şenay Camgöz shares insights from a new report on the challenges for the visual arts.

Vision for future of music libraries published

15 Jun 2022

A paper outlining a vision for the future of music libraries has been published by an alliance of music organisations.

The Music Libraries Trust, Making Music and the UK and Ireland branch of the International Association of Music Librarians hope Music libraries in the UK: a vision for the future can help protect access to and sustainability of music resources.

The public library network has been traditionally the largest and most cost-effective provider of sheet music, but they have been impacted by local authority budget cuts over the last 20 years.

The paper states that every music group should have access to printed music and recommends creating a national steering group, consisting of funders, operators and users, to explore how to integrate services and resources at a national level, and safeguard material when a local service closes.

Making Music CEO Barbara Eifler says work with local authorities and service provides has shown its is possible to “ensure a future for music libraries while relieving under-resourced local authorities of all or most of the financial burden”.

“We look forward to this vision opening up a conversation which will benefit all parties in the longer term and underpin the thriving community music scene for which the UK is rightly known.”

Guide to running hybrid in-person events launches

15 Jun 2022

A new guide to help festivals, literature organisations and publishers run online and in-person hybrid events is now available.

Written by CRIPtic Arts Director Jamie Hale, in consultation with D/deaf and disabled writers, the Being Hybrid guide is designed to support time and resource limited organisations.

The guide hopes to prevent “shutting the door” on those who benefited from the increase in hybrid events during the pandemic, namely those who are geographically dispersed, disabled, poorer or have caring responsibilities.

Hale says hybrid programming can be simple and quick, adding the guide gives “the cheapest and fastest way of offering online as well as offline access to events”.

It covers five reasons for making an event hybrid, how to go hybrid with limited time and tech, putting ideas into practice, advice on including hybrid speakers and facilitators, and access to hybrid events.
The guide is available in full, summary, plain english, BSL and in audio and video formats.

Empowering your people

Dancers in a circle
08 Jun 2022

If you support someone to feel good about themselves, they’re going to give you their best and, most importantly, do the best for themselves, says Vicki Igbokwe.

Backlash over massive funding cuts for emerging musicians

07 Jun 2022

Leading music industry figures call for royalties body to reverse 60% funding cut for new talent, despite increase in revenues.

Partnership to tackle racism in music industry

07 Jun 2022

The Musicians' Union (MU) and Black Lives in Music (BLiM) are embarking on a three-year partnership to challenge racism in the music industry.

BLiM CEO Charisse Beaumont said the goal of the collaboration is to empower Black music creators and combat racism.

They aim to do this by ensuring quality music education is available at the grassroots level and by removing systemic barriers to create career opportunities for Black musicians which result in a level playing field across the music ecosystem. 

The partnership follows a BLiM report into racism in the music industry, based on a survey that found 63% of Black musicians and 73% of Black music industry professionals had experienced direct or indirect racism during their careers.

MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl says the research shone a light the areas where “Black musicians and specifically Black female musicians encounter barriers and experience discrimination”.

“We are really excited to work with BLiM on changing that experience and shaping the future of the industry.”

Learning to laugh at war

Bomb shelter in Kyiv theatre basement
07 Jun 2022

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a Kyiv theatre has become a bomb shelter for artists and locals. Its director Alex Borovenskiy has led the creative and humanitarian initiative using Facebook.


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