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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: January 3, 2012 @ 10:28 pm

    Arts funding, bursary deadlines and upskilling in 2012

    Laurence Mackin

    The clock is now ticking for those looking to get funding this year from the Arts Council. There are three main deadlines that arts practitioners need to bear in mind, but the major date is January 19th. That is the closing date for awards in the following bursaries: architecture, arts participation, dance, film, literature, music, theatre, traditional arts, and visual arts. So start the New Year in style and get a funding application in, whatever your level of experience or the nature of your project.

    Those looking to gets funds under the Deis traditional arts scheme have until February 9th to submit applications, as do opera practitioners. The latter area could prove particularly lucrative, as there is no limit on the amount of funds that can be applied for, and the Arts Council recently published a new policy on opera.

    Those applying for funding under the small arts festivals scheme have until February 10th to dots the is and cross the ts. So now is the perfect time to get the cash for that Festival of Eurovision Irish Superstars (or Feis) you’ve always dreamed of. You can keep your Jedwards – the Swarbriggs will always hold a special place in my heart for this music video alone. (Excuse the dodgy sound – things will start to become very familiar, very quickly for fans of a certain comedy TV show.)

    Meanwhile, Culture Ireland will be accepting funding applications for projects that involve the presentation and promotion of Irish arts internationally all year, with four deadlines throughout 2012. The nearest closing date is February 15th for projects taking place from May onwards.

    It’s not all about the cold, hard cash though. The deadline for applying for the excellent Make residential theatre laboratory is almost upon us. This is open to Irish and international theatre makers with an idea or concept for a performance they would like to develop. Over an intensive week, from March 10th to 18th, they will develop their concept with international theatre artists and dramaturgs at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Co Tyrone. You’ll have to get your pencil sharpened now to apply – the deadline is January 13th and it costs a relatively pitiful €200. If you need convincing of its effectiveness, just ask Wayne Jordan, Tom Creed or Grace Dyas – they’ve all benefited from the process.

    There are also various residential courses offered by county councils around the country to Annaghmakerrig and other similar centres, so check with your local arts officer for details and deadlines of these, and to find out about their general arts funding.

    For visual artists in particular, there are a host of awards and bursaries available. This excellent article by Neva Elliott over on Visual Artists Ireland gives a solid overview and some strong advice on how to apply – many of the links have died though, so you will have to do your own googling.

    Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts in social and community contexts, has a number of schemes and awards available, most of which have a deadline in March. Click here for further information.

    If you’re a budding novelist with deeper pockets, you could consider the Faber Academy. Its Getting Started: Writing Fiction programme is for those who are working on their first novel or short story collection. It consists of two-hour evening sessions over a four-month period and one Saturday session. This will involve peer-review sessions of your evolving work led by course director Carlo Gébler. There are 15 places on this course and it costs a not inconsiderable €1,500. Phew.

    For something a littler more accessible and theatrical, you could try a workshop at the Abbey Theatre. This Saturday and next Saturday, there are two Talking Text workshops taking place, on the set of The Government Inspector. I did one during the summer and had a ball (although that Oscar/Tony/Bafta is still proving elusive). It costs €45, which includes a two-hour workshop, lunch and a ticket to the matinee of The Government Inspector. Booking must be made through the box office on 01-8787222.

    For those looking to sharpen their filmic skills, Filmbase has a host of affordable, energetic courses, from script writing and development, acting and directing, to the more technical aspects of editing, sound recording and lighting. For example, an Acting for Film & TV course, starting on January 30th, consists of eight Monday evenings, from 7pm to 10pm, and costs €300. Maybe this is my pathway to that Oscar – though it’s the stunt-acting course that most appeals. After all, who wants to train for an Oscar when you can train to be in Die Hard?

    Aaron Meredith has weighed in with a few funding and learning options in Northern Ireland

    A variety of different awards and funds are available to those living in the North as well. Northern Ireland Screen offers funding to filmmakers and production companies based in the North throughout the year. It has a rolling programme for projects, with help on every aspect from script and slate development to funding for features and digital content. It also has specific funding for short films and films in Irish and Ulster Scots. Click here for full details, most sections advise the specific person to get in touch with “for an informal chat”. They are fierce friendly up North altogether.

    Many of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland application deadlines have now passed, but there are still a few available for a short time. For example, if you are interested in obtaining a travel bursary to hone your artistic skills elsewhere, the council offers a rolling program that you can apply for by clicking here.

    The Arts Council in the North also offers a grant for public art, but if you fancy leaving a lasting mark on society through artistic means, you have just until January 12th to get your application in. This covers pretty much anything placed in the public domain, from the usual paintings and sculptures, to video displays and photography. However, the emphasis is on permanent artwork as opposed to temporary projects. If you run a creative industry, the council can also offer bursaries, with applications due on February 23rd with workshops on how to apply taking place in January and February. See? Fierce friendly altogether. They want to help you take you take their money.

    Small grants of up to £10,000 can also be applied for through the council, namely for community arts projects that are original and intended to have an impact in their respective areas. Thankfully, for the slow people who walk among us, this is offered throughout the year.

    The celebrated and recently restored Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast is offering to help you get your writing career off the ground with its Creative Writers’ course. The evening classes begin on Monday January 16th, running for 10 weeks and they give promising writers a chance to receive a solid education in producing their own masterful piece of literature, all for £72 (€86).

    Also on offer in Belfast are various photography workshops available on request at local gallery Belfast Exposed. It is run by an enclave of professional photographers, so if you have always wanted to grab a camera and begin striving for that perfect picture, the gallery can get you started. Courses are hands on and the tutors promise to leak many trade secrets. Upcoming classes include a workshop in turning that plethora of artsy camera shots into a photo project, on January 14th. The cost is £130 (€156).

    In Derry, the Playhouse Theatre offers a range of different courses such as pottery, Irish dancing and the simple but never underestimated act of painting, alongside the benefit of being right in the centre of town. If you’re interested in getting involved in something artistic in the Derry area, this is probably your best bet.

    If there are other schemes or awards you now of, let us know in the comments section below. Or, if you’ve any advice for those applying, we would love to hear it.

    • Clare Creely says:

      Filmbase/TG4 Lasair Short Film Award – Deadline 27 Jan

      Thanks for the mention regarding Filmbase training courses! Another funding opportunity that people may be interested in is the Filmbase/TG4 Lasair short film funding award scheme. This highly successful award scheme is for short films made in the Irish language (the excellent ‘Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom’ was made through a previous round of the scheme).

      This year, we’re looking to encourage new filmmaking talent and will support up to six short films with funding and facilities worth up to €20,000 each. The deadline for the award is Friday 27th of January. For more details on the award, check out the complete guidelines on the Filmbase website or contact us for more details.

    • Kevin Byrne says:

      Please instead of forced enthusiasm give details of what the council wants in each category, like film, poetry, etc. And the video, not only is it gross to watch its got no relevance to anything on this planet that I can see. Its like what RTE do and thats condemnation enough. We all know artists, and I mean real ones, are going to have to beg , borrow or steal to get their projects done this year despite the jolly jolly presentation here. Please deal with reality and not advertising.
      Yours, Kevin Byrne.

    • John O'Driscoll says:

      I suppose only a fool did write (or any other art) for other than money..

    • John O'Driscoll says:

      But ’tis better to get wisdom than gold and understanding is to be chosen over silver. Or something.

    • John O'Driscoll says:

      But then again, a fool hath no delight in understanding, only that his heart may express itself. Can’t win really.

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