Funding news – August 2015

Photo: Consortium Instabile’s Pollinaria, part of GALA Artist Labs (© Daniela D’Arielli)

The Green Art Lab Alliance (GALA) has released its first funding guide for creative projects that promote environmental sustainability. The document, available from GALA’s website, includes listings for public and private funding at local, regional, national, European and international levels. The EU-funded guide is intended to increase the number of cultural professionals working on projects that engage the public with green issues. GALA was part of the EU’s 2013-15 culture programme, and came to an end with a summit meeting in Glasgow in March. The 41-page GALA funding guide, researched by On the Move, can be found at greenartlaballiance.eu

Virtual reality is becoming actuality – at least, that’s what IC tomorrow is hoping. Part of the UK Government’s Innovate UK programme, IC tomorrow has launched a competition for entrepreneurs to submit ideas on how to best use virtual reality in a variety of fields. Backers include Sony/Columbia records, who hope the GBP210,000 (€300,000) prize money will encourage tech inventors who might have the next big idea for the industry. ‘This initiative is a great chance for collaboration between the Music and Tech worlds,’ said James Bassett, head of digital creative at Sony Music UK. ‘By combining the right artist with an exciting virtual or augmented reality proposition, we’re confident that we can create something truly special.’ Six winners will be selected and receive a share of the prize money, as well as mentoring and assistance in developing their product ideas. Deadline for applications is 12pm, Tuesday 18 August, with more information at bit.ly/VARcon.

Following drastic budget cuts announced by the Australian government in May, the Australia Council for the Arts has amended its grants programme. There will now be just two application rounds for funding in 2015-16, with the December round dropped altogether. The duration of funding has also been reduced, from 6 to 4 years, with Australia Council describing it as a ‘transition year’ as they adapt to reduced funding while still honouring existing commitments. The council plans to invest AUD12m (€8.1m) over the two rounds of funding for small to medium sized organisations, while AUD22.4m will continue to go to so-called Key Organisations until the end of 2016. Australia Council’s website australiacouncil.gov.au has a full rundown of the changes, which includes some changes to eligibility criteria. The next funding round closes on 1 September.

The Department for Culture Media and Sport is just one of the UK government departments that has been asked to prepare for spending cuts of up to 40 per cent by 2019. The exact amount will be announced on 25 November following a review process. Following an election campaign in which it won a majority in the UK parliament, the Conservative government is now pushing ahead with proposed spending cuts that, according to chancellor George Osborne, will devolve power ‘so people have a greater say over the issues that affect them and their communities.’ Arts Council England (ACE) may be able to use Lottery funds to make up for the shortfall, funds that have become increasingly important to the organisation in recent years – ACE received GBP100m (€143m) more from the Lottery in 2014 than it did five years previously.

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