Making it through.

May 6, 2016 § 7 Comments

Photo on 05-05-2016 at 14.01

My last post was about waiting for Arts Council England (ACE) to make a decision on my project. Funding from public money in the arts is limited and brings a great responsibility to the recipient. So I feel incredibly fortunate to have been awarded funding under the Grants for the Arts scheme, and will give my all to this work. The ability to maintain a sustained focus and perfectionism are real assets in my job. They are also what enabled me to put three months into the project development and application – though I could not have made it through without my network of helping hands. Trusted neurotypicals, who were willing to share their insights and skills with me to navigate the NT world.

Autistic artists face multiple barriers in applying for this kind of award. These became apparent to me during the application process, and I have begun to write some survival notes for other artists in my art blog. Yesterday this particular blog post was shared on Twitter by the Arts Council itself – it feels as though my message about the inequities faced by neurodiverse artists is beginning to filter through.

ACE have a wonderful helpline for those who can access the telephone and you can also email. There are generous access measures in place if you can find them and they happen to take the form you can get along with. I felt encouraged at every turn by the people interface at ACE. But difficulties remain in accessing the access for many of us (a frustrating tautology), and further barriers created by the clunky new online portal called Grantium. A more detailed analysis of what is so very wrong with this template for neurodiverse artists will be a longer and more technical matter than befits a blog post – and possibly the work of consultation with ACE if they’re willing.

These are major issues for neurodiverse artists, but could be improved without great difficulty I feel. From my days of social policy study I reckon these to be “at a stroke” changes, meaning that they require only  policy shifts and administrative nods to implement. SO it is important to bring them home to source, as I’m certain ACE are committed to access and equality and that these obstacles are systemic and unwitting.

The larger more insidious inequities are those of the social world which are embedded in arts opportunity on every scale and form. This will take a great deal of unpicking to arrive at an adequate description of what is so very disadvantageous for autistic artists in particular. I’m ready for the long haul.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

§ 7 Responses to Making it through.

  • susan kruse says:

    I have been thinking a great deal about your successful Arts Council funding and really appreciate you sharing that process through your blog. There is also a part of me that has gone into meltdown this week because I realise that I don’t have “neurotypical support.” So it’s exciting and empowering and at the same time depressing and upsetting to read about your situation! Funny huh? SO anyway, I have been giving some serious thought to developing a project bringing autistic artists together to support and nurture eachother’s practice. I’m thinking that a group of autistic (or otherwise neurodiverse) artists talking to ACE might get things moving forward quite fast. I’m thinking that it could be an online space, but also that it could start via an exhibition of work too. What do you think? Would you be interested?

    Liked by 1 person

    • soniaboue says:

      Yes Susan – this sounds excellent.

      Like

    • soniaboue says:

      ps This is the idea of Jon Adam’s Flo Observatorium too – a safe nurturing space for ND artists. This can happen! Btw sorry for meltdown 😦

      Like

    • Sonja says:

      “a part of me that has gone into meltdown this week because I realise that I don’t have “neurotypical support.” So it’s exciting and empowering and at the same time depressing and upsetting” –
      Same here Susan…re submitting, finding the right support to do this, not knowing what the right support is, not being able to explain things… and face another mountain of energy and time on top of what I’ve already spent – far in excess of what NTs would.

      I applied for ACE funding 17 years ago for an artists film I wanted to make with a local street dance group – I went along to an ACE funding morning for artists – I submitted something but realise now that what I submitted was naive – there is a language/’etiquette’ around all this that I had no access to/understanding of because of my background/being ND/not knowing the right people/not knowing what I needed help on or the right questions to ask. I didn’t get the funding. In the end I got some funding from a local charity where I lived and where the project was based – I just wrote a letter to them about my idea and they liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • soniaboue says:

        ” I submitted something but realise now that what I submitted was naive – there is a language/’etiquette’ around all this that I had no access to/understanding of because of my background/being ND/not knowing the right people/not knowing what I needed help on or the right questions to ask.”

        Yes – there is a formula which we couldn’t possibly guess at. This is part of what needs to be addressed with ACE re ND artists. Deciphering the code is something I can now help with & happy to share. I just need to find time to blog it in more detail. But also happy to look at application Sonja or try to help you in a way that is accessible. I had similar experience with my previous project idea and in the end worked with a local organisation like you. Have also submitted “naive” application and was rejected previously by ACE.

        Like

      • Sonja says:

        Thanks Sonia, a look over the application before I submit would be fantastic if you have time! Reassuring to hear your previous experience also. I do think the whole access issue for ND artists if addressed by ACE has wider implications re accessibility for artists in general particularly for those who do not have advantageous connections or backgrounds.

        Liked by 1 person

      • soniaboue says:

        I completely agree Sonja – accessing the application process is currently privilege.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Making it through. at The other side.

meta

%d bloggers like this: