Beginning in 2017, Create, working closely with the Arts Participation team in the Arts Council, have been engaged in a period of research and policy making within the Artist in the Community Scheme.
An aim of this work was to increase the capacity and engagement of artists and communities from minority ethnic and migrant backgrounds to access the Scheme, recognising the changing demographic of Ireland and the fragile conditions and challenging circumstances of many displaced artists. One outcome of the research was the 2020 report Creating a Welcoming Environment, Stimulating Diverse Art by AIC Scheme Cultural Diversity researcher Evgeny Shtorn. This report evaluates the current state of affairs for migrant and minority ethnic artists working in collaborative arts in Ireland through interviews and quantitative analyses, before establishing a number of recommendations for the field.
Since 2017 the AIC Scheme has featured an enhanced Research and Development award for artists from a minority ethnic or migrant background (2018, 2019, 2020), Artist Residency Awards (2018, 2019, 2020), as well as Schools in Cultural Diversity and Collaborative Practice (2018, 2019, 2020), and a Bursary award in Collaborative Arts and Cultural Diversity (2020). In response, we have seen a significant increase in applications from artists from a minority ethnic or migrant background to the scheme and a rich ecology at play, where previous awardees both artists and communities are reconvening to develop and initiate new projects.
Create are now committing to further widening access to the scheme, informed by this period of research and reporting, as well as the Arts Council’s Paying the Artist and Equality Human Rights and Diversity policies. In line with our own organisational Strategy Connect Create Change, which advocates for diversity to be understood beyond ethnicity alone, in 2021 Create will bring an increased intersectional perspective to bear on the AIC Scheme. We acknowledge that multiple barriers to the scheme may exist for artists with additional access and support needs. Enhancements to the scheme, in the form of increased award amounts and timeframes, and additional access supports, have been made possible by an increase in funding by the Arts Council.
Increased Award Amounts and Timeframes for R&D Awards
In 2021, maximum award amounts will be increased for all Research and Development awards. This is informed by the Arts Council’s Paying the Artist Policy and Create’s guidelines on fair and equitable pay, and in acknowledgement of the multifaceted and time-sensitive nature of collaborative arts practice. Increased fees for Artist Mentors better reflect their contribution to this developmental work. The maximum available timeframe has been increased from 5 months to 6. From 2021, we will no longer offer the specifically ring-fenced Research and Development Award with Mentoring for an artist from a minority ethnic or migrant background. Rather, additional supports will be offered to all applicants, regardless of their individual background.
We acknowledge the very particular challenges for some artists in applying for funding. From 2021 we will take action towards ensuring a more equitable application process through additional support to those with disabilities or access needs. This will include translation or transcription services, or alternative modes of applying using audio or video format. Please see our awards page and AIC Scheme application forms for further information on accessing these supports.
In addition, this year we have introduced online application forms. The online portal allows quick loading of support materials and other relevant documentation, and has a “save and continue later” function, which allows applicants to revisit their application within 30 days of saving it.
Áine Crowley, Programme Manager, Arts and Engagement with Create, says “Create are encouraged by the ongoing investment in collaborative arts being made by the Arts Council. This work is both durational and relational, requiring time, effort and passion. We are pleased to be embarking on another programme of work to further widen access to the Scheme, allowing professional development and capacity building within the field. We look forward to working closely with artists and communities to realise their collaborative programmes together.”
Round One of the AIC Scheme closes on the 26th April 2021. Application forms are now live online. You can find further information on applying for the AIC Scheme at our AIC Scheme Awards page.