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It is rare that I feel good about making funding applications. The process usually leaves me feeling inadequate to say the least. As I approach submitting my application for next year’s artists’ awards I feel if not confident (that would be far too egotistic) then at least that I am making a good and relevant submission. I cannot remember the last time that I asked friends for feedback as part of my writing process, this time I asked two – both of who made useful suggestions, and another proofread my Swedish.


It may not be the best application but I think that it is my best application … and I cannot do more than that.


I have to admit that I am rather nervous about hearing the result. If I do not get an award then I wonder if I should stop spending time on such applications (which are quite time consuming) and put my time and energy to better use in the studio. If I do get the award I have promised myself that I will take a sabbatical so that I can be in the studio – the idea of that scenario is equally exciting and frightening!


I guess that it is okay to be both excited and frightened by the idea of one’s fantasies becoming reality. There are also a great number of expectations that I have put on myself if I get the opportunity to be an artist full-time for a year. Are these expectations realistic? Possibly not! Are they relevant? Probably not! These expectations could even be dangerous. They are necessarily projections about what I aim to have achieved by the end of funding period. What I really want to do is focus on the here and now – something that I know that I struggle with. I too often find myself imagining my future self and looking back at an imaginary process, rather than allowing myself to engage with real processes and real steps into the unknown.


What I am trying to say here? That I am frightened of ’letting the crazy out’*, that I am frightened of what I might do, and who I might become … or perhaps of who I already am (always have been).


Getting the award, and taking a sabbatical, would be embarking on a journey without a map and without a destination. And that is scary. It feels good to admit that! So much of what I have been doing for the last few years has been about achieving security. Perhaps I am reaching a sufficient level of security where I can begin to take chances again. I felt that I needed a secure job because I was unknown and could not rely on freelance opportunities. Maybe now that secure job is not so necessary, maybe now it is actually unnecessary, maybe now it might start becoming detrimental. While this might be true for me a person, I have to remember that I live in a particular social and cultural context – one that values security and conformity. If I want to move to Uppsala (and I do), then I need to keep my secure job so that I can get a mortgage so that I can make that move. I might well want to situation to be different – that I could find a cheap long-term apartment to rent – but that is not the reality.


So here I am applying for an award to ’let the crazy out’ knowing that for the moment at least I have to keep the crazy in.



In other news …

I did not get accepted on the mentoring scheme.  I hope that this is because of another peer-to-peer mentoring programme that I know is in development and that might be more relevant to me.  My good friend and artist Pavel did get accepted with a not dissimiliar application so I shall be quizzing him for the hints and tips that he gets about professional development.



*’let the crazy out’ is a phrase I remember, or mis-remember, from the Wim Wenders film about Pina Bausch. One of her company talks about Pina Bausch encouraging them to ’let the crazy out’. I guess in that context Pina Bausch herself was the security that made it possible.