Artist Rachel Dobbs has created a toolkit / ‘cheatsheet‘ for the Arts Council England Grants for the Arts application form which she has published under a Creative Commons copyright licence.

Dobbs, one-half of the artist-duo LOW PROFILE, hopes that the guide will support more artists in applying for funding.

“I’ve recently been working to support neurodiverse artists (people with dyslexia or on the autistic spectrum, for example) to prepare Arts Council applications,” she says, “and it has really hit home how difficult it is for a range of people to navigate the form and new system.”

Dobbs is no stranger to applying for Arts Council funding and also sees the ‘cheatsheet’ as a useful tool for her own applications. Created in two parts, it includes a condensed overview of the questions and uses colour coding. It is intended to be used in conjunction with the official ACE application portal and guidance.

With practical use in mind, Dobbs has made versions available in both pdf format and as Google docs that can be edited by the user.

Dobbs, who has previously written on her blog about neurodiversity and arts funding, describes the differences in the way that neurotypical and neurodiverse individuals might describe their work and decipher information, using two lists to highlight the contrast in approaches. In particular she refers to artist and a-n blogger Sonia Boué’s words on the subject.

The Grants for the Arts application portal came under the spotlight earlier this year when Boué released a video plea to Arts Council England to make its forms more accessible to applicants with neurodivergent brains.

In her video, Boué describes how the linear sequence of the current application system is at odds with the way many neurodiverse brains function. She suggests that there need to be more ways of presenting information to funders.

“A number of people have suggested that it would be great for ACE to involve artists in the co-design of the funding application process, to make it more straightforward and less time consuming to navigate,” says Dobbs. “I certainly hope my small contribution towards this is a useful step in this direction.”

The ACE Toolkit/Cheatsheet by Rachel Dobbs is free to download from the artist’s website. Further information about the Grants for the Arts scheme is available from Arts Council England

Images: Rachel Dobbs, ACE G4A Cheatsheet

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