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North East Artists’ Fund launches!

Posted: 6 October 2022

The North East Artists’ Fund is a partnership between North East CVAN and four arts organisations, MIMA, BALTIC, The NewBridge Project and Sunderland Culture, which aims to support the region’s creative practitioners by providing small but critical interventions which help to overcome barriers to their practices.

A few hundred pounds isn’t going to change an artist’s career, or prevent a curator or writer from having to find other work to supplement their practice, but by removing even one small obstacle – the chance to travel to attend a critical meeting, or to buy new materials, or to arrange childcare to finish off a key piece of work – it might just make the difference between a project seeing the light of day or not. And that in turn could have a wider effect.

The bursaries are simple to apply for and are based around outcomes, not outputs — which means no lengthy reports and no requirement to make anything

What's different about this fund?

The North East Artists’ Fund is a partnership. It isn’t controlled by the agenda of one organisation, and isn’t confined to one part of the region.

It’s small! The total fund is just short of £9,000, so we don’t have much to give away. The point is to use this as a means to assess if a micro-bursaries initiative like this is useful for individuals, and if so, to try to measure how much, so that we can attract more organisations in the region to join us and create an even better fund for 2023-24.

It’s designed to be user-friendly. The form will only take 5 – 10 minutes to complete, and it’s focused entirely on you and your work. We don’t ask you to make anything in return, and we don’t ask you to complete a lengthy report afterwards. We only ask that you answer a few brief questions on award of your funds and again at the end of your activity, so that we can try to track how useful the intervention has been.

It’s about outcomes, not outputs
. This means it’s all focused on making a change to the way applicants feel about their practice – that they feel they’re able to move forward, even in a very small way, compared to how they’d feel without the support – rather than asking that they make a new piece of work, or undertake specific research.

It’s for people based in the North East. That way, you’re only up against other applicants from the region, not thousands from across the country — and we can be sure all of our support is going to benefit the North East.

The fund is designed to help individual practitioners. This includes but is not limited to artists, curators, art writers, freelance technicians and freelance producers. It is not open to students or organisations. See the FAQs for more information.

How to apply
You can find out all the information on how to apply on the North East Artists’ Fund website.

What the micro-bursaries can cover
The micro-bursaries are designed to help you overcome what might otherwise be a barrier to your practice.

You can apply for anything that will make a difference to your practice. This might be something that is practice-based – for instance, materials, travel or research – or it might be about removing an obstacle to your practice, such as essential childcare, or even buying out your time from a non-art based job in order to spend crucial time on your art practice. It could also be a ‘capital’ purchase – a piece of equipment which helps you to make work, for instance. There are no ‘correct’ answers, and there is no exhaustive list, but in general, if it’s something that would help your practice, and which you couldn’t otherwise afford, it’s eligible. If you’re unsure and would like further advice, please contact us.

How much to ask for
You can apply for anything from £1 – £500 — but please note that we will only make awards of over £300 in exceptional circumstances, so unless this applies to you, consider keeping your request to £300 or under.

There are two ways your application will be assessed, depending on how much you’ve asked for.

  • For £1 – £100, we will assess your application directly and can provide a decision in 10 days.
  • For £101 and above, you will need to apply by the deadline and wait. There are two deadlines. Your application will be assessed by a panel.

For £100 and under, you can apply at any time.
For £101 and above, there are two deadlines:

  • Round 1 opens on 5 October, with a deadline of 11 November and decisions by 25 November.
  • Round 2 opens on 16 January, with a deadline of 10 February and decisions by 24 February.