Deep breath, and then GO…
Arts Council England said yes.
I’ve been at this for over a year. If you count the first abortive attempt, nearly two years.
This was the seventh attempt. Six unsuccessful applications.
So the lesson is, keep going. If you need it, if you think the project is worth it, keep at it. Like a dog with a bone. Don’t let it go. And actually, you do get a bit hardened to rejection. It’s character building! (Not that I need any extra character, frankly, but you know what I mean?)
I do have to thank ACE also for the feedback, support and unrelenting cheerfulness with which they answer queries, and in some cases, they seemed genuinely gutted that I didn’t get it, and were very encouraging all the way through. They are, in spite of difficulties, technical issues, covid-19 nightmares, a true national treasure. Keir Gill has been an absolute star, so he gets a special mention.
The first six unsuccessful applications were essentially Research and Development. Every bit of rejection feedback centred on audience and engagement… and I was having a tough time trying to meet the requirements for that. It was speculative, and from my end, I had a hard time with that… predicting what the outcome might be, and consequently how people would engage with this mythical outcome is hard. I know they say they welcome R&D applications, but if you are going to give that a go, try to figure out that bit and pin it down.
The difference this time was that over lockdown, with a chunk from the ACE emergency fund, and a chunk from the government SEISS, I was able to do much of that research. The seventh application therefore, was able to concentrate on the actual project itself. And therein, I think, lay the success. Now I knew what I was going to do/make I could reliably state what sort of audience and how they would engage, even in the current circumstances. The application was much clearer for the writer as well as the reader I’m sure.
So what am I going to do?
I have two blogs on a-n, one that is the same as the one posted on my website, and the other just on a-n concentrating on my musical output. (I’m posting this on all of them, but may start a separate project blog…?) The music over the last few years has become a stronger entity, and in my head, if not in the exhibition space, runs alongside, through, is entangled and enmeshed, fully integrated… but only in theory really. Because music production is expensive, and requires technical skills and music knowledge I don’t have much of. But the thing is, I can hear what I want.
The money then, will pay for the time and space (and people) for writing, recording, experimentation and eventually production of the sounds and music at the same pace and time as my drawing, and will be cross-pollinating. I have very basic recordings, a library of sounds waiting to be manipulated, drawn out and drawn on… the drawings are pulling out from the page into three dimensional drawings, and now I can pull them further out into sound. This will culminate in an exhibition/installation/event/performance in 2021 which will definitely have an audience to engage!
It’s going to be a fun year!