28 March 2019 to 31 March 2019
28 March 2019 to 31 March 2019

If funders really wanted to support artists – what could they do?


There is constant criticism of bodies who fund art. Artists often feel that they are speaking a different language to funders. With different priorities and different approaches to risk, artists can feel alienated rather than supported by funding bodies.  

In this open forum discussion, within a series of groups, let’s discuss what funders could do if they really wanted to support artists.

From the methods and mechanisms that you would like them to use to what your perfect funding grant would look like, let’s hear what you think?

Please check the accessibility of the venue here.

City Hall - Mortimer Suite
Queen Victoria Square, Carr Lane
United Kingdom
29 March, 2019 - 16:00 to 18:00

Share your ideas


image of Susanne Danig

Jeremy and I have been exchaning ideas on how to make this session fruitful and fun for you - and we have decided to invite two panels to join us for a Q/A - one of 4 funders and one of 4 artists. And I happy to announce the 4 artists who have said yes to joining us and sharing some of their experiences - and they bring alot to the table from different areas of the world, working cross nationally, and also been part of more strategic platforms.

They are:

Israel Aloni - Sweden, Israel, Australia

Sabrina Apitz - Germany

Alysha Herrmann - Australia

Vahid - Denmark, Iran

These are the questions we have given them so far to reflect on:    What could funders do if they really wanted to support artists? When have you felt supported in your artistic development/from what funding bodies and why did it work? What would your perfect funding grant look like? What is your own responsibility in the funding process?

We will add questions along the way - also after the panel with the funding bodies.

We aim to ave to clear goals for future work at the end of our session and really want both funders, artists and producers to join us for this.


Posted 1 year 2 weeks ago
image of Jeremy SMITH

Hello everyone,

I'm looking forward to starting my journey to Hull from Sydney (Australia) on Sunday...  

I am in the process of confirming the members of our 'funders' panel, and will share details with you as soon as I can.

In the meantime, for an Australian perspective, here is a link to the Australia Council for the Arts' funding page:


Please direct your attention to the five (5) categories listed under 'Australia Council Grant Programs'.

In 2015, Council restructured its grants model - shifting from 176 separate categories (each with their own criteria) across a range of boards, panels, sections, divisions and committees.  These five categories are the result of this significant piece of work.

Our peer assessment model alongside this also shifted.

One of the biggest reasons for the grants restructure is so Council could 'get out of the way' of artists getting funding, to make great art...  

Why not post links to other exemplary funding programmes you know of here in this thread too?

Feel free to leave your thoughts... and I will confirm our line up of 'funders' as soon as I am able.

See you all in Hull!


Posted 1 year 1 week ago
image of Vahid Evazzadeh

Hi everyone 
This report might be of interest to our discussion http://www.worldcitiescultureforum.com/assets/others/170516_WCCF_FullRep...

Look forward to see you in Hull.


Posted 1 year 1 week ago
image of Jeremy SMITH

Hello again everyone,

With one week until the start of IETM Hull, I am thrilled to reveal the people who will join our panel of funders at this session:


Funders’ Panel:

Tarek Iskander - Arts Council England

Isabelle Mestdagh - Wallonie-Bruxelles Théâtre/Danse

Mary Ann Cauchi - Arts Council Malta

Saxe Lomholt - Creative Europe Desk, Denmark


Between them, we're sure to have a great and relevant conversation, as each person brings a really interesting perspective to the conversation – different regions, different funding priorities, funding for individuals, funding for organisations, different artforms…

Some of the questions this panel will consider include:

As a funding agency, how can we get out of the way?

What are the biggest changes you’ve implemented to improve access & process for artists?

Who makes the decisions about your funding (staff or peers)?

(and a few more we'll keep as a surprise...)


See you all next week in Hull.



Posted 1 year 1 week ago
image of Jeremy SMITH

One more post from me... here is a podcast I gave late last year here in Australia about our Community Arts & Cultural Development (CACD) and Emerging & Experimental Arts (EEA) sectors that I work closely with through my role at the Australia Council...


Have a listen and ask me a question during our session...


Posted 1 year 1 week ago
image of Alysha Herrmann

Excited (and quite nervous) to be joining this panel and attending my first IETM.

I don't want to give away anything I might talk about next week on the panel but am going to share some links over the next few days to some Australian articles that provide (some) background to our funding context and the kinds of things people are talking about at the moment.

There is a lot of concern/anger/frustration in our indepedent and small-to-medium sector about the Major Performing Arts Framework (which started a review process last year), which quarantines funding for a select group of 28 performing arts companies. This article (published late last year) breaks down some of the numbers and the feeling in the sector: https://www.artshub.com.au/news-article/opinions-and-analysis/grants-and...


Jeremy has posted links above to the range of fantastic funding that is provided by Australia Council to independent artists and the small-to-medium sector. I've been lucky enough as an artist to be a peer assessor on some of those grant funding rounds. Seeing behind the process really helped me understand the process better (and I think improved my grant writing skills) and I feel really confident that the process is incredibly rigourous, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is fully fair in the context of the bigger picture re: MPA framework etc.

On facebook I've also been asking others in my networks the question presented to us on the artists side of the panel "What coud funders do if they really wanted to support artist?" and I look forward to sharing and unpacking some of those answers with everyone next week.


Also for context about me:

A short memoir piece (written in 2015) about how I came to the arts as a disconnected and disengaged high-school dropout and teenage mum in 2004: https://griffithreview.com/articles/not-for-me/

Two examples of my recent (ish) work:

As a performer: https://www.greatscott.media/2016/03/10/another-elusive-maybe/

As a youth arts facilitator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeatjvyJ-P4&list=PL0IRgfhn-sEHdTrvGrdwVd...

My personal blog, where I share updates about my work and the behind the scenes that make me tick: https://alyshaherrmann.wordpress.com/about/

A couple of interviews around recent projects/work that give some insight into how I work and think:




My current focus work:

Various works-in-progress as a performer (ask me) and tackling a young adult fantasy novel (just cracked 66k words this week!)

New independent project - I've signed a two-year lease to take over a council owned space (which has been vacant for 14 years) and turn it into a creative hub in my very small local community: https://partofthings.org/about/

Board member of Outback Theatre for Young People, a youth arts company working across a 30,000km rural and remote stretch of New South Wales (an eastern state of Australia): https://outbacktheatre.com/our-board/

Full-time role co-funded and co-managed by Carclew (youth arts organisation) and Country Arts SA (regional arts organisation) until October 2020: http://carclew.com.au/Program/creative-producer-regional-youth (overview) and https://thedirtsa.com.au/project/diary-of-a-creative-producer/ (my creative producer diary)



Posted 1 year 1 week ago
image of Jo Verrent

Hi all, I'm not on the panels or anything but passing on a comment from a different event I went to earlier in the week where one participant cried out for non competative options to support artists. They felt that the current (global?) models all pitted artists against artists, set up notions of 'best' and therefore 'not good enough', and ultimately damaged us all. I wonder if anyone - funder or artist - has any alternative models given than we live in a world where all our resources are becoming reduced?


Posted 1 year 5 days ago
image of Jo Verrent

Oh and this is fun - recognise any of these?


Posted 1 year 5 days ago
image of Alysha Herrmann

Oh Jo - that form is too real! Hahaha!

Posted 1 year 3 days ago
image of Susanne Danig

OMG I laughed at this :) Thanks - will keep it

Posted 1 year 3 days ago
image of Jeremy SMITH

Good morning everyone!

There is s brief update to our ‘funders’ panel today - unfortunately Tarek Iskander hasn’t been able to make it to Hull at the last minute, so replacing him will be Cate Canniffe - National Director for Dance with Arts Council England.

Following Jo’s link above in this thread, I did consider for a moment asking Blockchain if they would like to speak as a funder... but poor WiFi prevented a connection. Haha.

Best, Jeremy 

Posted 1 year 3 days ago
image of Sabrina Apitz

Hello everyone,

Thanks for sharing the funny application form, Jo Verrent! 

I am looking forward to meeting you all this afternoon.

I am sharing with some information about me: This is the webpage of the theatre collective I am part of: https://www.egfka.eu/ We are still mainly working in German speacking countries, apart from Greece. Therefore the page is also mainly in German.

I am also working for the Berlin State Association for the Independent Performing Arts iin the area of information, consultation and qualification for artists, producers and cultural managers in the independent performaning arts. I am directly working with a lot of artists and therefore know a broader perspectives of the independent performing arts scene in Berlin. Some more information here: https://pap-berlin.de/en/the-performing-arts-program-areas/information-consultation-qualification/

See you soon,


Posted 1 year 3 days ago
image of Jeremy SMITH

Hello again one final time everyone,

Thought I would also share that the Australia Council for the Arts is currently developing a new strategic plan...


There is a discussion paper that sets out our proposed strategic priorities for 2020 to 2024. These priorities will inform our future investment in the arts.

Think about anything from today’s conversation that  I can take back to Australia which might help shape our next strategy... or indeed strategies from funding agencies in other countries and regions...



Posted 1 year 3 days ago
image of Jeremy SMITH

Thank you to everyone for their generous contributions yesterday. 

If any of you kept the papers which had your notes from the final four group sessions, can you please let me know?

it would be useful to have a photograph of the notes so we can make sure it is reflected in the final report of the session. I was only able to photograph the diversity & inclusion notes. 

Please track me down today or at the brunch tomorrow if you have kept your written materials. I’ll happily photograph your paper! 

Thank you!



Posted 1 year 2 days ago
image of Vahid Evazzadeh

Thank you everyone for the good session. It was nice to meet you and hear different voices. I have encouraged Jeremy and Susanne to propose a continuation of this working session at the next plenary meeting. I hope it'll happen and I'll see you there. 

P.S. saw this piece by the chairman of the art council Denmark about a shift in the funding allocation. Perhaps Susanne can contextualize this for the colleagues abroad :-) 

Posted 12 months 3 days ago