Artist and educator Rachel Dobbs has revised and republished her cheatsheet for applying for Arts Council England funding to bring it in line with ACE’s latest funding scheme, Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants, which replaced Grants for the Arts from 5 March 2018.
Artists will continue to be eligible for project funding from the Project Grants stream if their project engages a public or is intended for an audience. A new dedicated fund to support artists’ development, called Developing Your Creative Practice, will open on 12 April.
Dobbs, who is one half of the artist duo LOW PROFILE, first created an arts funding cheatsheet in 2016 in order to better address the needs of neurodiverse artists. At the time she was mentoring the artists through the Grants for the Arts application process as part of an ad-hoc freelance role with Arts Council England.
She sees the ACE Cheatsheet as a DIY approach to addressing access needs that were limited through the application portal Grantium‘s lack of user-centred design. The cheatsheet is colour-coded and visually breaks down the information in a non-linear way.
Says Dobbs: “When things like this change, it’s easy for people to feel uneasy or concerned that they’ll have to start learning a new process all over again. Luckily, most of the changes to the ACE questions are quite small and on the whole applicants are being asked for the same information.”
When the original cheatsheet was published in August 2016 under a Creative Commons copyright licence, it met with overwhelming praise from the visual arts community and went viral on social media.
“I have been overwhelmed by the feedback and response – hundreds of people access and download it every month. I regularly receive messages from artists and people who work for arts organisations around the country thanking me for making and sharing this.”
The new guidance published by Arts Council England for the Project Grants has itself become more interactive. It includes three steps to take before beginning an application, including a quiz to help applicants think about whether their project is ready or eligible for ACE funding, and pinpoints information, advice and guidance that they may need.
“I think, in many cases, people will find the revised questions (and contextual information provided by ACE in the form itself) more clear and straightforward,” explains Dobbs, who still feels that more can be done by ACE to ensure a more user-friendly online process. After all, she says, “there are 29 different info sheets for the scheme!”
She adds: “The ACE Cheatsheet is a way for people to feel less intimidated by the process of applying for grants from ACE, something that is currently compounded by having to use a clunky system like Grantium.”
The revised cheatsheet can be found on Rachel Dobbs’ blog. LOW PROFILE are co-initiators of Jamboree 2018, a national gathering of 150 artists and curators that will take place in Dartington from 28 June to 1 July 2018 and has been supported by a-n
1. Rachel Dobbs, ACE Projects Grants Cheatsheet. Courtesy: Rachel Dobbs