News Update …..
Feeling more optimistic as we are told that The Arts Council England are reinstating Project Grants Funding as from 22nd July. Awaiting further clarification of any changes to making an application or any different specifications in view of the different times we are all now working which should be available very soon. If you feel that you need additional help to make an application for this funding you may be able to get Access Support both to make your application and within your project. Please contact me for further advice or the Arts Council.
We have all also had the good news relating to additional financial support for the cultural/creative sector from the Government and also we now see the first signs of galleries and theatres adjusting to enable access to us again. At heart our whole sector is about bringing people together to share, take part, enjoy and be challenged- the very thing this pandemic prevents us from doing. It is heartbreaking to hear that even with recognition and financial support that for many it will not be enough to enable them to continue. But I would like to think of us as the phoenix rising from the ashes as our creative souls kick in and we reinvent how we can once more have a vibrant and engaging arts scene. We must remember the best way we can help is to support each others projects in whatever way we can, be it attending activities or events, collaborating, advertising/promoting, this really is the time for artists to support artists.
I myself am continuing making art in many formats, see my BLOG and I am going to be interviewed by Scratchworks a touring theatre company from Exeter who are doing a series of podcasts called ‘Stories from the Sticks’ to bring together city dwellers and isolated communities – looking forward to this. Other news The Country Wisdom & Folklore Diary that I co-create as Talking Trees Books is now at the printers ready for distribution and sales from August 1st.
Finally I’m toying with trying a creative activity with a small group in a local village hall to test the water to see if people are ready to come together yet. I’ve checked my artist insurance to check I am still covered to do this in view of Covid virus risks and I am pleased to say they are happy for artists to go about doing their work in communities. There is of course no insurance against Covid and all we can do is follow government guidelines, work with the venues and ensure we take all steps to mitigate the likelihood of catching the virus. This includes distancing 2m ideally, use of face masks in enclosed spaces, good ventilation in the venue, cleaning often at touch points and hand sanitiser available, if needed a one way system for movement and taking the contact details of all present to be held safely for 14 days. Its extra work, not as we want things to be but if this is what we have to do then we must embrace it and try to make it work happily.
Well strange times indeed…. we find that much of the cultural/arts sector is in very bad shape after the consequences on the way we live and our economy from Covid 19. However we should remember that this pandemic has taken people’s lives or affected how their health will be for a long time and so perspective is needed. Equally many people are struggling with their mental health, are shell shocked from losing thriving businesses or opportunities and positive well-being is more than ever needed.
Updates from most major funders imply that it will not be until the next financial year (April 2021) that funding begins to return and even then the type, process and eligibility is not clear. We have a long time to develop more self-sustaining models of working. Now is surely the time that we must try to help each other in the arts community and begin to look forward in new and creative ways of thinking, working and sharing.
As with many I am currently exploring new ways of working in my own practice as I have felt challenged about the role of art in society and how to go forward. New collaborations is definitely a high priority as is continuing to develop the use of eco friendly materials, a sustainable practice and exploring how to make my artwork accessible and inclusive. Updating this website to a more accessible format has been one of the first steps I have taken.
Hope you like it – please tell me if I can improve it in any way.