Transcript for Arts and creativity making change Q&A


  • Veda Harrison, Director of A Fairer Future and Creative, Confident Communities
  • Alison Holdom, Funding Manager and Arts and Culture Lead
  • Luna Dizon, Communications Manager

Welcome and introduction to new strategy for A Fairer Future

Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to this webinar on Esmée Fairbairn's priority: arts and creativity, creativity making change.

We're really pleased that so many of you could make it today and are taking time out of your time today to kind of hear what we've got to say about this new priority.

So I'm Veda Harrison, I am the Director of a Fairer Future and Creative, Confident, Communities at Esmée I'm here with my colleague Alison Holdom, who will share more detail behind our arts and creativity making change priority.

And my colleagues Luna, Will and Gillian are also on hand in the background to help with the Q&A. For accessibility, we'd like to welcome Sammi who will be providing BSL interpretation and interpreting what is spoken live today.

We also have asked speakers to describe themselves and where they are.

So starting with me, I am a Black woman with a short, curly Afro with flecks of grey depending on when I've been to the hairdresser's or not. And I'm sitting in my loft surrounded by musical equipment, and lots of records.

Just a few brief details on practicalities before we start. You're going to hear a lot from me today. I'll be setting the context of the strategy and the changes and why we've made those changes. I promise we'll get you to Alison as soon as possible, because that's who we know you want to hear from today. So please bear with me.

Live captioning is available today, Luna has shared a link in the chat, if you'd like to see the captions in a separate window. You can also click the live transcript button at the bottom of this window so you can see them within Zoom.

You can also post any questions at any point in the Q&A facility, which you'll see at the bottom of your screen. And I'd encourage you to vote for questions submitted by another participant if you'd really like to see that one answered.

You can do this by clicking on the thumbs up icon next to the question. As I've mentioned, Will and Gillian are typing responses to questions in the Q&A. We're expecting a lot of questions today.

So we'll be prioritising ones that are up voted. Please note that if you have a specific question related to your work, it might be better to email them to us.

Or if you add it to the Q&A, we'll get back to you afterwards.

And finally, we're recording the webinar today. So we'll share it along with the transcripts on our website in due course.

Okay, so let's get started. So, before I begin, I think it's really important for me to say thank you for your compassion and your patience in bearing with us over the past year. It was a difficult decision to close the applications, but we felt it was necessary in order to make this specific strategic aim clearer and more focused.

As many of you will be aware, in late 2020, we launched a new five-year strategy focused on three strategic aims, a fairer future, creative, confident communities, and our natural world.

So now before I continue, I just felt it was really important to kind of point out a quick difference between creative confident communities and a fairer future because sometimes we do get questions about that when people contact us.

We all recognise that all of you are located in a place as you develop and deliver your work.

But the work that we want to support under a fairer future is that which has an impact beyond any given geographic community or location.

Even though we know a lot of your work is evidence, it is related to what you're doing, actually in the place in which you're working.

Within creative, confident communities, however, we support work which is placed based, and the community of that place is developing and leading the work. And that's a really important distinction.

If you want to know more about creative, confident communities, please do take a look on our website for more details about that specific strategic aim.

Right, okay, back to a fairer future. Now, the three strategic aims that we launched in 2020 does build on work that we have already been supporting in a number of sectors for many years, with the purpose of moving us to be a more proactive funder, and that proactive approach across all three areas of our strategy.

Ultimately, we want to support work that achieves long term, sustainable change, and enabling organisations like yourself to work towards that change.

However, given the scale of the challenges that we're all facing within all different sectors, particularly in light of the ongoing impact of Brexit, and as we know, currently at the moment, the kind of economic uncertainty that we're all kind of facing into, we're also recognising that we're still continuing from the pandemic.

There's still a hangover from that particularly challenging period, and importantly, our ongoing organisational journey and work on anti-racism.

It's become clear that that a fairer future needed to do more work to clarify the long-term outcomes were seeking, and also to work out the best ways to support organisations like yourselves working towards those outcomes.

Over the course of the past year, we've been reviewing the fairer future strategic aim, which identifies where we want to target our support.

There are now five priority areas for the next five years. And Luna, if you could share that slide, Children and young people's rights, Arts and creativity making change, which is the subject of today's webinar, and what we're calling our three justice areas: race, gender, and migration.

And these are the areas that we, as a funder, want to support organisations, develop new ideas, build solutions, working collaborations and partnerships, and building on your expertise and practice to enable that long term change.

While many of you we focused on the priority areas on the left, I think it's also worth noting the changes in how we're articulating our impact goals. On the left, sorry, I mean priorities on the right, impact goals on the left.

Because these impact goals clearly signal, what is important to us, and how we want to work with you to achieve the outcomes.

These are more focused around the first one improving systems policy and practice.

The second one is about strengthening your organization's capacity, as you are at the forefront of advocating and delivering change, to use your power to tackle systemic injustice and inequity.

And finally, supporting you to work together to build movements to tackle systemic injustice, and inequity. And in all of this, we are keen to support organisations that are led by the people that they serve.

Another key aspect I want to draw out is that A Fairer Future is designed to work across the intersections, which is why as you can see from the visual, it's grouped in a particular way.

We recognise that much of your hard work does not just sit within a single priority. Because we know that injustice and inequity doesn't operate like that, it doesn't work like that. It isn't siloed and it isn't compartmentalised into small neat boxes.

And as I finish, I just want to highlight, highlight something that is really important to us as a funder is something that over many years, I suppose most keenly in what would have been some very challenging past few years, something that we know that you are very, very aware of.

We know that the sectors in which you are working, and the issues that you are tackling are challenging. And we know that they can take an emotional and spiritual toll on you.

As a funder, we know we're not just funding organisations, we're working with people, we're working with you and your teams.

And many of you have been working really hard on the issues that you're tackling for many, many years. We want to understand how we can best support you as you lead this work in your individual places and spaces. And as you work together.

Because we want to continue to be a listening funder, that's really important for us, because we're still developing our plans. And we're really excited about working with you, and in service to you as you address structural injustice and inequity in our society.

But we are aware however, that many of you are doing some fantastic work that you are seeking funding support for from us and from others. And as with previous years, it's likely that we will be oversubscribed and won't be able to meet all requests.

We, as a team, will have to make some really tough decisions. And the whole purpose of the strategy and re shaping the strategy is to help us to use that and the funding guidance that you are now all in receipt of to help us to guide and make those decisions.

So I'm now going to hand over to Alison, the person you really want to hear from but before we do that, we'll begin with an audio description from yourself Alison, if that's okay.

Arts and creativity making change

Thanks Veda. My name is Alison Holdom. I'm a funding manager at Esmée who leads on arts and creativity.

I'm a middle aged, white woman with shoulder-length fair hair and glasses. And I'm sitting in my sitting room, which is the closest I can get to the router for this webinar.

So I'm going to talk about the long term outcomes that we have set up under the Arts and creativity making change priority.

And I hope that will explain to you the kinds of grants we're hoping to make and the impact that we're hoping those grants will have.

So on screen you can see these three outcomes which are: a representative cultural workforce, new and diverse generation of cultural leaders are equipped to influence the world around them.

And youth led culture and creativity enhances younger people's lives and enables them to influence change in their communities and wider society.

So that's what I'll be focusing on. Now. The difference here from previously is that in the past, our culture and creative funding really supported a far wider range of priorities.

And we made more generalised grants more, we supported people in a more general way.

But now we're really focusing our support on those key organisations, networks and collaborations who are leading practice, and that leading practice is moving towards transformative change, both within the arts sector, and how the arts can change society.

And this can be lots of different ways it can be testing new grounds, it can be new models, or it could be tried and tested routes, but pushing change in a new way.

We absolutely understand as we've made these decisions, that there's a huge need for funding in the sector, that the cultural and creative sectors have been through a horrendous time during the pandemic and continue to struggle due to rising costs of utilities, and the impact of the cost of living crisis on your audiences and visitors.

But we believe that by focusing on these areas, we are looking at the knowledge that we have from our applicants and the relationships we have, that this is actually the best use of our funding at this point, that we focused on areas where change could really happen, and where our support could be really timely and tangible.

In general, this change really continues as we move towards supporting culture and creativity as a force for making change. So why have we focused on these particular outcomes?

Well, we've moved to a strategy as Veda explained that has a really overarching ambition to unlock change. And so that is really the overarching reason for doing that.

We want the way we fund creativity to feed into that unlocking of change.

The second thing is that we are very heavily oversubscribed, the fact that there are nearly 300 people here today is a real indicator of how much our funding is oversubscribed.

And the third thing is that we really want to make it easier for people to identify specifically where they fit within our strategy.

And when they could apply, and when their work lives outside our priorities and they'd be best advised not to.

So if I can take the first of the three outcomes: the workforce, sorry, the representative cultural workforce.

We've got a really long history of funding talent development. But we know that despite that, and despite all the work that's been going on equitable access to careers, careers development and leadership isn't achieved yet.

And we believe this is really important. That to have a cultural workforce that's reflective of UK society, that you've got a cultural and creative output that reflects society that enables voices to be heard, barriers to be broken and wider understanding.

What we're looking for under this priority is organisations, collaborations and networks, all three of those, and we're really keen to support collaborations and networks.

And we will support you to do that work properly, to make those best costs that really strengthen networks and collaborations properly.

What we want to look at is those organisations and networks that have a really clear understanding of the cultural workforce and what's necessary.

We're looking for work that specifically supports building a diverse representative workforce and leadership, but not broad talent development or workforce development. Really specific. We're looking for wider impact.

We'll be asking how the changes that you make affect the wider sector, who's involved, who are you working with? Who comes to you for advice? Who are you presenting your work to?

We are also looking for work that's across the cultural workforce. We're not just talking about the creative teams, we're talking about the administrative teams, the financial teams, the technical teams, diversity, and often all its areas.

We're also open to all art forms and the heritage sector. And we recognise that art forms are not always quite so clear cut that there's a lot of merging between several of them and we're absolutely open to that as well.

As Veda was saying earlier, we have a interest in supporting organisations that are led by the people they serve. So that will be a consideration as well.

In terms of leadership, we are looking to support programmes that are developing leadership skills, we are not able to fund individuals. So we're not talking about funding individual leaders, we're talking about programmes, projects, schemes that support diverse leadership.

So if we move on to some case studies, which will apply to both the representative cultural workforce and the new and diverse generation of cultural leaders, there's some case studies from our current portfolio.

First of all, Graeae, the theatre company, who are breaking down barriers and transforming preconceptions, by placing deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists centre stage, and they work in partnership with the theatre sector and that's what we're supporting them to do.

So to do some work with the theatre sector, around nurturing playwrights that, that centering that voice in the theatre sector.

The second example would be Culture&. They work in partnership with arts and heritage programmes around the country to open up who makes and who enjoys the arts and heritage, and we're supporting them to tackle some really specific barriers to career progression in the heritage sector.

And thirdly, will be Hijinx. They are Welsh theatre company, working to produce and promote opportunities for actors with learning disabilities and autism.

They also offer academies across Wales for training, providing professional performance training. And they work as a trainer to the industry, particularly the screen industry.

So they have that multifaceted role that has a wider impact.

Under these two areas, the two outcomes around the workforce and leadership are things we don't think we will be funding.

Just to give you a sense of where we think we might not fund is we won't be doing an individual organisations internal work, we absolutely appreciate that adding perhaps one or two posts or changing your HR or your recruitment process is really can be absolutely transformative to you as an organisation.

But what we're looking for is that wider impact part, it doesn't mean you can't apply. But if you do apply, you're going to really need to be able to show that people are learning from your work or that you're pushing things forward in a specific way.

So I'll move on now if Luna wouldn't mind going to the next outcome slide to young people's creativity.

In the past, we've funded young people's creativity - we funded cultural education, and we funded youth voice. And we've done them all in a variety of ways.

But we looked at our portfolio, and we looked at the people who were applying to us and talked to our people that we have relationships with.

And we realised that there was a specific area of work that had a really strong match with the overarching goals of a fairer future, but also appear to be gaining traction, and to seeing something really inspiring results.

That was how young people's creativity benefits their wider lives and how they use it, and they drive it to influence the world around them.

So this is very specific this priority. And what we're looking for here is again, organisations collaborations and networks, again, really about wider impact.

This is about your ability to disseminate the learning that you've gained from working in this way, or for the young people to disseminate the learning they gain from working in this way.

We're asking you the same questions here. How will you disseminate the learning? Who will you work with, who's coming to you for advice?

The second really important thing we're looking for here is genuine youth leadership in the work. We want to see evidence of posts being held by young people, evidence of how young people have a strategic impact on your work, or how you're really sharing leadership with them in a thorough and strategic way.

Examples of change is something we're really interested in. How can you evidence the change that the young people have had in their lives or in issues that they care about?

And how can you link that back to creativity? We want to help you build the case for this way of working. And we want to see examples of the ways in which young people's voices are really developed through this work.

And then the other thing to say about this priority is that this isn't just for arts organisations who work with young people. It’s equally for your organisations that are set up around supporting young people, but use creativity.

So you can apply to us from either one of those ways. So some quick case studies for this priority.

Company Three Youth Theatre Company who creates transformative work by working in really long term collaborations between young people and professional artists.

And they also present that work to an audience who has an influence over those young people's lives. And they share their practice through play texts sensory training. So they have a wider impact.

42nd St. Young people connections, the opportunity to campaign about what's important to them and they're expressing and how to express themselves. And all those things through creativity.

And finally, the Creative Academies Limited. They're based in Sandwell in the Midlands, and they bring creative change making opportunities to young people to support them to reach their full potential.

So far, what we're not probably going to fund in this area is an individual organisation's young people or children's programme that's adjacent to the organisations main work.

If the young people have no real opportunity to influence the main work of the organisation, we're unlikely to find you.

And we say all of this, recognising the intrinsic benefit of creativity to children and young people, but we're not supporting work that's just focused on the creativity.

It's work that's focused on developing their lives, or of seeking how that creativity influences the way they live in their society, the changes they make.

And that does mean that cultural education programmes in schools or after schools, are probably not going to be supported through this priority.

Just finally from me. So I've talked a lot and I know you've probably got loads of questions you want to ask. This isn't the only way that arts organisations can approach us.

As Veda said creative, confident communities, our other strategic aim is open. It has a community approach, it focuses really strongly on co-creation, on community co-creation in any work.

So if you think that actually your work is more of a link to that it's worth having a look at that one.

And the other thing is that in fairer future, we have the justices, Migrant Justice, Gender, justice, and Racial justice.

We absolutely appreciate that creativity has a really important role in those areas, particularly in as a means of impacting the public narrative.

So if you feel that you want to have a look at those as well, you could have a look through them. Although obviously, with both creative, confident communities and the other justice areas, we have to reiterate that that will be highly competitive funding.

So I know that you've probably got lots of questions to ask so I'm going to ask Luna, if you can to start the questions.

Thank you.

Q&A - questions are in bold


Hi, everyone. I'm Luna and the Comms Manager at Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. And I am a short-ish woman from Southeast Asia. I have long black hair, and I am in our office in Kings Cross.

I'm going to get started with the questions, starting with a very good, good intro question, I think is how do we define arts and creativity?


Oh, that's tough. I mean, we haven't. And that's really deliberate in the sense that we want to be open to as wide a form of arts and creativity as we can get.

The only restrictions we have is that we are a charitable foundation and that we can only fund the non-profit sector. So we're unlikely to fund sectors that are largely commercial, or work that is going into an entirely commercial art form.

Creativity can be really wide. I mean, we are seeing a lot of creative organisations coming up to us with projects that are around food, for example, or around things that would be considered design or bordering on the edge of technology. I mean, we're really open to a variety of of definitions of creativity.


And just staying on definitions for a moment, how do we define young people?


Do we have an answer to that? No, I don't know that I do.


I suppose the majority of the organisations that we've funded and we do recognise for a lot of young people that hit their mid 20s, there's a bit of a cliff edge in terms of how they're defined as young people.

So I think that it's really important for us to kind of better understand, you know, how, for example, in our youth lead change work, we say up to 25, up to the age of 25.

So it's fairly broad, it's very long, but we are kind of understanding that for young people that find themselves in their mid 20s, suddenly, they're considered to be much older people.

But we would say around the mid 20s, is probably our kind of upper limit. But it does very much depend on the organisation as well.


Thank you. And I am going to move on to a question from Hailey: arts and creativity making change - on this priority. They have a programme which fully meets these criteria, but it doesn't necessarily focus on young people. Is this a problem? And should they be looking at how this method might be relevant for young people?


I think the first thing to say is that we would not in any way seek to make you change what you're doing to meet our priorities.

In terms of arts and creativity making change, this particular priority around voice and issues is focused on young people. You may be advised to have a look at creative, confident communities if you're working in a particular place or around place based issues.

But no, if it's a general, this really is focused on it on a particular age group, because we felt that we knew that was the age group where we had most evidence of, of the real impact of that and had the strongest match with our overarching aims.


Thank you, I'm just looking for an open. So sometimes gets a bit tricky. Managing the questions. Again, I'm just gonna go to the top one in the open questions.

What indicators or measures would be used or expected to define economically disadvantaged? For example, Wales has the index of Multiple Deprivation Index, free school meals, specific benefits. So how would we define economically disadvantaged?


I mean, economics, I mean, like you say, there are many Indices of Deprivation that are used and they may be very different specific metrics.

They are used in each of the different devolved nations, what we would say is, in terms of the metrics that you draw on, for the work that you're doing with the young people or the communities in which you're working, that's the important measures that we would actually be led by you in terms of those measures of deprivation, which would include a kind of a multiple level of deprivation as well.

So very much led by the fact that in each devolved nations, those indices may be different, maybe measured differently.


And a question from Jane, do all applications have to meet all three outcomes equally?


No, no, they don't. I mean, if you are really focused more on one particular outcome, then I would stress that. I mean, obviously, we are looking at all three, we will consider all three, but you don't have to match all three equally.


Next question from Lucy, if a project is working in communities and school contexts, would it be eligible for the third outcome?


If it's working in schools, that's going to be trickier. It depends on what kind of schoolwork it is, actually.

I mean, we don't, this isn't intended to be kind of cultural education, that would be a standard practice in the curriculum situation in schools. It really depends why you're working in school and how you're working in schools. I don't know if that's helpful, if that answers the question.


And Lucy, if you've got a follow up question, just add it to the Q&A.

Next question comes from Emily. And do you have an idea of the sorts of numbers of people that we want to reach in the projects we support, and she says that they say that they deliver high impact work, but not in not to huge numbers of people?


I think we've, obviously, with some of the workforce development projects that we're looking at, some of the diverse workforce work, that probably won't be huge numbers.

I mean, we have funded some things where the numbers are relatively low, because the work is really intensive.

And because the outcome is really impressive, in that not only are the people that are going through that programme being taken to sit, there's significant change happening to them.

But actually, the broader impact that those people that are coming through that scheme are having on the sector as a whole is really evident.

So that would be what we were looking for. If you are doing small numbers, we'd need to see really significant change to the people involved, but also to the organisations that they're working with.

When we have funded and we would fund some organisations that have worked really intensively with people over a period of, say, 18 months, what's actually happened during that time, is that the organisation that those people have been placed within, or worked with have also seen really significant change to their broader workforce because of those people because of that intervention.

So that's how we would probably be judging it is what's the impact on those people, but also, what's the wider impact of having that sustained, deeper impact work happening?


Thank you. And next question comes from Rachel, if there's a first time that somebody has applied for funding with us directly, what do we need to see? What evidence of their reach, values and impact do we need to see?


So in terms of reach, I think the most important thing for us really is to understand where you sit in terms of your networks, we're really conscious of being a London based funder and not having on the ground knowledge everywhere.

So what we really need to understand is where do you sit and who are your networks? Who are your regional contacts? You know, where do you sit in in terms of your local area, and in terms of your art form or your sector?

Sorry, it was reach, what was the other two Luna?


Reach, values and impact


Values - we will be asking you to send us in or even when you're just making an expression of interest, we'd ask you a question that's around why is your organisation best place to do this work?

And the reason we ask that question is so that you can express exactly that sort of thing, what your values are, so that you can show us how you do that work, what's sitting behind that work?

What's your intentions behind that work. So that would be part of that question of that expression of interest question about why your best place to do the work.


Can I just jump in here again, in terms of values as well.

I think it's also important to be thinking about as an as an organisation in the in the sector in which you work. Where do your values sit in terms of the work you're doing on diversity and inclusion?

How are you ensuring that within your particular sector, within your particular geographic location, depending on the work that you're doing, how are you ensuring that, you know, access is is kind of as broad as possible.

And when we talk about diversity and inclusion, we're talking about it in terms of race, ethnicity, sexuality, but also socio economic access as well, because that's really important for us as a funder to ensure that we are supporting organisations that are doing some, some deep thinking on this work.

And everybody is on a journey with regards diversity, equity and inclusion. And we're not always going to get it right, first off, and we recognise that, and we understand that, and we want to learn from your experiences in that space as well.

We're not going to hit you over the head with a big stick if you get something wrong, because we're all working towards ensuring that as a funding sector, we are doing better in this space.

But also supporting organisations to do that work as well, because this is about ensuring that, you know, when we go back to the kind of overarching kind of impact goals and kind of what's underpinning a fairer future, it is about address addressing systemic injustice and inequity, and organisations need to do that type of thinking as well.


Thank you. So next question comes from Miss Joyce. Does this represent a move to project funding rather than core funding, i.e. targeted projects that meet Esmée's objectives rather than organisations as a whole?


No, no, absolutely not. As a funder, we've been moving towards core and unrestricted funding for a long time. And that's in response to what we've heard from the sector, all the sectors that we fund into.

So I suspect, this actually means that we're going to be funding organisations who have this way of working is really central to the way they work.

We can fund project funding. But as I said, in one of the comments I made, you know, we will be looking at how all of this work impacts your organisation as a whole.

So we are looking for a place where organisations where this type of work is central to the way you work, and therefore we can give you core funding or unrestricted funding.

With the leadership one in particular, I expect that's going to be organisations who are just focused on leadership. So it'll be their main programme of work. And so therefore, they would be getting core or unrestricted funding.

If it feels like it is going more towards programme funding, that will be something really interesting for us to learn from actually, because I mean, this is a new strategy, a new way of working for us.

And if that's an if an accidental outcome of this is that we ended up doing more project funding, and that's not as valuable, then obviously, we will look at that.

So if that is the case, that actually what turns out to mean is that people are applying a smaller programme funding, that is something that we'll take on board and consider because I think we appreciate that core funding and unrestricted funding is actually really, really valued.


Thank you. And can people apply for funding in all three of our strategic areas, so Our Natural World, A Fairer Future and Creative, Confident Communities.


I'll take that one Al. I think in terms of applying across all three. The strategy as a whole kind of holds together.

So we recognise that some organisations that will be delivering work, as I said, in creative, confident communities t in place. Obviously, social justice also happens in place.

And that's a lot of the work that we're doing in a fairer future. And obviously, we have to be minded of the kind of natural world and climate impacts.

So it very much depends on the type of work that you want to do, there will be, I would imagine, when you're applying for work, for applying for funding with us, you have to be very minded, clearly what it is you're wanting to do.

That you will some organisations that we funded in the past will have aspects of their work that does sit within fairer a future, but also within our natural world. But the lead work that they're doing the organisation as a whole may be leading on one particular strategic aim.

Our advice would be to be absolutely clear about that, and actually lead with that particular strategic aim. Rather than trying to think if I hit all three, I've got a better chance of getting funding because that's not how it works. It's that clarity of understanding, what are we doing as an organisation?

What what are the objectives that are important to us? And how do they align with any one of the strategic aims more strongly, even though you the work may have underpinning aspects that do apply to a couple of others.

So that that would be our advice is to think about that really carefully. Because it does don't it can actually dilute your application and make it much more challenging to assess fairly.


Thank you, Veda. Can you clarify your hesitation in funding work that engages young people through in school delivery, even if it meets the aims?


When we say that we're not funding cultural education. I think we mean that we're not funding education that will be curriculum based, that will be contributing to their curriculum.

We appreciate that some work may take place within a school setting, or in an artist school setting as a means of reaching people that you want to reach. But we're not looking to fund cultural education in the traditional curriculum based sense.


I'm just sorry, because I missed that they’ve clarified their question. So it's about a young people led network that operates in their communities, which includes their school community and supported by teachers. It's not about cultural education. It's about young, creative activists. Would that kind of work be eligible?


Without knowing the detail, broadly, it sounds like it could be obviously if it's not actually about the curriculum, it's actually about what the young people do, and they're driving it. And using the school as a network through which to do that, then it sounds, without knowing too much detail, that that's something we could potentially look at.


Another question on the that young people priority. What if one of the ways that they're developing relationships with young people, one of the ways of developing relationships with young people so that they can have agency over their own lives as a result of engagement with culture is through schools, and they then support those young people to develop their practice and leadership out of schools? Is the school's bit not something that we would fund?


If the school's bit is about recruitment, or if it's about a means to reaching people, I don't think that would be a problem. I think the problem is if then the actual activity takes place as part of the school day. It's not a problem, problem's the wrong word.

It will be something that we couldn't look at. But I think if its a means of recruitment, or it's a means of coordinating the group, then that's fine.


Great, thank you. Would funding for apprenticeships and trainee roles be considered where the apprentices are given ownership over their own creative projects?


It's a tricky one. We are not in a position to be able to fund apprenticeships and every single organisation that has one or two apprenticeships, we're also aware that there are major national schemes around apprenticeships that are already existing.

I think it's less likely because this because most of them are already established schemes, or it's one or two people in one organisation.

If it's a very, very much broader programme, and it has really substantial change at the heart of it, and it has a very, very clear sense of the change it wants to make to the way apprenticeships are run or to the impact on apprenticeships, then it's something we could consider.

But we don't really expect to do a huge number of apprenticeships, because they probably tend to be one or other in one or two in particular organisations, or they are part of wider schemes.


Thank you. Rhian has a question. They work with young people to help them develop music industry skills, would we consider this to be commercial rather than non-profit? They're a charity and all their work is for the benefit of young people and changing the music sector in Wales.


I think the music sector is the trickiest one for this whole business about the crossover between commercial and non commercial.

If what it's doing is actually enabling young people to get into the music sector and make a difference to that music sector because their voices that are being heard, then I think that's fine.

Obviously, it's something that it's a bit of a difficult balancing act that all trusts and foundations sort of negotiate this one.

But I think if you're really doing that, if you're really working with young people who otherwise would not have an opportunity to get into that music industry in any other way, and who are once they get into it going to make a difference, then that's something that's potentially we could have a look at.


In what way should organisations be youth-led? With a young trustee or a project being organised by adults with young people that young people then lead?


Veda, I don't know if you want to take that one. You're on mute still sorry.


Sorry. Apologies. Apologies for that. So in terms of what we mean by youth lead, we don't exactly define what organisations should have.

So some your organisations will have a youth board. Some will have young trustees, some may be doing youth led work through co-production.

But something that we've been working on really closely with a group of young people that we're calling Involving Young People Collective is that they have set out a set of values which have been really important in helping them articulate to us as a funder, what genuine youth co-production is, actually co-production throughout all levels of the organisation.

And what we can do is actually share the link, Luna, in the chat for organisations because as I say this has been developed by a group of young people that have been looking at this over a significant amount of time.

We shared them recently on our social media, and a number of arts organisations, a number of organisations across all sectors have looked at these values and kind of, you know, taken them on board because they are genuinely and authentically led by young people.

These are the things that young people are saying, they want to see organisations that are doing work, led by and for but, you know, throughout how the organisation operates its values, its intentions, its purposes, to actually ground what youth led actually means in practice. So we'll share that link with you in the chat.


Thanks. Question from Debbie, who presumes that we're going to be deluged by applications from organisations who've been waiting for us waiting for me to reopen.

Are we expecting to turn down more strong applications that might be usual in the first six to 12 months? Or do we plan to just work our way through the good applications as and when we can?


I think as I said, in my introduction, we recognise that there's going to be a lot of people that are wanting to apply to us. And our approach to assessing organisations will be along the lines of our funding guidance.

And it very much depends when applications come in. We have we know as I say, we're going to be oversubscribed, we have to set a benchmark in terms of what we're looking for. And we know that organisations are kind of developing their practice, and at some points, they may be hitting that kind of benchmark and others won't be.

So we will be working through applications as they come through. But obviously, that does then have an impact across the air in terms of our allocation.

So this is not to kind of invite lots of applications at the same time.

Because essentially, the important thing is, is that when you're ready to submit an application, you know that it's right, and you know, the work that you've put into it, whether it be an EOI (expression of interest) stage, or a proposal stage, and our funding managers, as you know, for those that have have had funding from us before we do, have an open dialogue with you, across the time that you are applying to us that we're using that time to help you to better articulate what it is you're wanting to do.

So we can assess you fairly. So you know, it will, you know, the kind of levels of of application we will have to manage as they come through.

And it's important for you as an organisation that you feel ready to articulate the work that you're wanting to see funding from us.

And we will assess it along the guidance, which we hope we've made much clearer that you will have access to.


Thanks. In terms of influence to a wider network - do we take the size and scale of the organisation into account? For instance, grassroots versus national organisations will have very different spheres of influence?


We do of course, yes. And actually, so far, particularly in the workforce development, we found that small organisations have been having incredible traction.

So we will probably actually be harsher on the national ones, saying you know what, because if you are a national, if you are working at a national level, we're going to be asking you about a certain level of expectation around what you can achieve.

We've funded a couple of really relatively small organisations who've, because they're so specific and so focused have actually managed to get traction in a way that a broader programme hasn't.

So I think we're really interested in how that happens, how those smaller organisations can do that. There's a caveat around that which is in our general funding, which is that we have a turnover limit, which is that we can't support organisations under that have a turnover under £100,000.

So I know that cuts out a lot of very small grassroots organisations, but anything sort of just above that or around that we will be looking at and we will expect to find some people in that area.

And then the counter side to that is that it is a big national programme, we will be expecting big national results. And then we will be asking you how funding at that level, because it probably means more money as well as working with more people, you know, with a difference that that can make.

So hopefully we can fund it both ends within the caveats around turnover.


And just on that, actually, are you open to organisations applying who are near the beginning of this journey and maybe don't have the same track record as others?


Potentially, yes, I mean, I think we do. If an organisation feels that it's really identified some specific barrier or some specific key to unlocking that barrier, but they haven't tested it yet.

And they're looking for funding to really test that model out. And they can show some evidence of traction, some evidence of connection, some evidence of networking.

It's all around those questions about who's listening? And who's coming to you for advice, and where are you being disseminated.

If you can start to show that even though there's the beginnings of that, and that you've identified a really specific key to changing things, then we can look at the early stages of something as well as a more proven model.


Thank you. Question from Catherine, how do you define user-led in relation to learning disabled specialist organisations?

They are a an inclusive arts organisation that works alongside people and artists with learning disability and autism. They're working towards a more integrated or being a more integrated organisation and have secured lottery funding to develop this.


Veda, I don't know, do we have a user-led definition overall?


With regards SEN and disabled people's organisations, this is where your expertise in practice in this specific sector is really, really important. Because user led within your sector may be profiled slightly differently, because of the levels of support that are required for all your users to kind of work within that space.

So I think that's where, for an organisation that's working specifically within the disability space within this particular priority, where we're really keen to see and we understand that actually, that user led the user led profile will be slightly different in that space.

But you know, your practice and how you work with your, client groups, your artists, your young people, your communities, etc, etc. How you evidence that and how you show that we can understand that because it's how you then articulate what you mean by user led, because we recognise there's going to be a slight difference.


Thank you. Does an application need to just focus on one area in a fairer future, for instance, arts and creativity making change? Or might it also cross pollinate with some of the Justice areas? How do people articulate that?


Sorry, Luna, could you ask that question again?


Does an application need to just focus on one area in A Fairer Future? Or might it also crossover with some of the Justice priorities?


I think this goes back to the point I made in my introduction about the fact that we know that work is really siloed. The real world doesn't work like that.

So if you're an organisation, and you have a specific focus on one of the Justice areas, per se, we know from the profile of organisations already in our portfolio that many of them are working across those intersections already.

My advice to you is not to become too laboured on do I fit here? Or do I fit there? Because that's work that we can do in terms of our conversations with you through assessment.

So I wouldn't spend too much time, you know, worrying over where do I fit, because if we go back to the kind of the way that those impact areas is designed, and the way that we talk about a fairer future, people could be working across all three.

So there'll be work that organisations are doing within arts and creativity making change that is specifically focused on young women, or could be specifically focused on you know, you know, disabled people, it could be specifically focused on migrants.

So we do recognise that, you know, some of the kind of the work that you're doing the work that you're interested in, the area that you're looking to change will sit across a number of areas.

And we find that really exciting, because that's the way the strategy is designed that it holds together, because that's how society is. We're not kind of little boxes that we kind of separate out.


Thank you. Question from Celine, who's asking for a little bit more around your thoughts on what representation might look like.

And they're working with children, young people experiencing life in care and care care leavers. And for care leavers, the commitment levels and transience are difficult for them.


Celine, you may or may not be aware that we do, under the 2020 strategy, we have a young people leaving care strand that is for invitation only.

If you were to come to another one of our webinars, there's a webinar on the 31st of October, which is focused on our children and young people's rights. And within there, we do have a strand about young people facing the cliff edge of care. Again, that is for invitation only.

So we are doing quite significant amounts of work working across, you know, a number of organisations that are focused on young people who are within the care system, and tackling that particular challenge of young people falling off the cliff edge.

In terms of where you sit within that, it would very much depend on the work that you're doing in that space, currently.

And I think that, you know, we're kind of, we see arts and creativity being funded under young people leaving care. And organisations such as Big House, Curious Monkey, Element, and others have been delivering work within that space.

And within those particular outcomes. If you come along to that particular webinar, you'll hear more about that kind of work both within the care space, but also creativity with working young people that are also in the care system as well, because we do have outcomes that sit in that space.

So you're more than welcome to attend that session as well on the 31st.


Thank you. A question on the workforce and leadership outcomes, this person is seeking funding to widen their artists support programme to help artists from diverse backgrounds to build sustainable careers, not just through the routes. And they're primarily support visual artists, but not exclusively, would such initiatives be of interest to us as a funder?


Thanks, then, if that's the main purpose of your organisation, and you're placing, or you're supporting artists in a variety of organisations, so there's a kind of a level of impact on other organisations.

Or there's a certain number of people that you're impacting, potentially, we could look at it.

As I said, in my introduction, we don't have a preference around art form. So the fact that it's predominantly Visual Arts is of equal interest as if it was anything else.

Obviously, what we're interested in is what happens to those people what they do.

And if we're talking about an alternative career path, that's something that we are absolutely open to talking about know what is the alternative career path.

We're already supporting some people who are working in a way that doesn't do the traditional route for some sectors where you would expect to go through a training programme or higher education training

We're looking at alternatives to that higher education offer. So yeah, we're absolutely open to looking at alternatives to a traditional career path.


Thank you. A question from Irene, are you prioritising supporting organisations outside of London versus those who were London based but operate across the UK?


Like all funders, we've got a geographic spread that we're interested in. Obviously, it's funding as widely as possible.

And we understand that some London based organisations serve the whole of the UK and some, the same sort of in all the all the developed countries, the capital city will probably has organisations that are supporting the whole country.

But we're, we're quite broad and Veda, don't if you have anything to add to that?


Yes, I mean, we're not applying the similar kind of measurement of where we should be funding as another art funder does, of note, because it's really important for us that we are reflective across the whole UK.

We do recognise that we, you know, a lot of the work has been London and SE focused.

We are keen to hear from more organisations across the whole of the UK, including the devolved nations as well, because obviously, some of the challenges from the solutions that you may have, if you're based in Northern Ireland, or Wales or Scotland, and other parts of England, will be of relevance to other people in other parts of the UK as well.

So, yes, we're a UK funder or a UK wide funder and as as much as possible, we want to reflect that. But we are not prioritising one particular area over another definitely not.


I think we're starting to run out of time. So I'm going to maybe do one or two more quick. Well, definitely one question. If we've got more time for another one. We'll do that.

And this question comes from Celine, can an application include support for both project funding and plans to address systemic injustice with our partners in social services and the voluntary sector for children in care.


I think that Celine, and if that's okay, can we come back to you specifically on that question? Because there's a lot going on there, which is fantastic.

But what I don't want to do is to give you an answer that is not fully thought through. If that's okay.


Cool. That's fine. Let me just see if there's something that I feel like we could, because there's been quite a few questions around work in schools, can we explain the rationale for not funding cultural education work that is school based? And I think that might be the last question.


Yes, I mean, to be honest, it's not an area that we've funded a huge amount of historically. We've been supporters of things like the Cultural Learning Alliance, but we've actually not funded enormous amount of cultural education work happening in schools.

I think, as I said, at the beginning, what we're looking at here is a very specific focus on how creativity affects young people's wider lives and how it affects their ability to change their society.

And we've chosen to focus down based on our wider strategy, and based on the amount that we're ever subscribed.

It's not that we don't think that cultural education has huge value. It's just a we're not the experts in funding it.

And I think what we recognised in our portfolio was that where we were funding things that were having, probably an impact that other people weren't, was in this particular area.

We absolutely realise the importance of cultural education. And we have previously supported Cultural Learning Alliance, etc, to do that, make those cases.

Final thoughts


Thank you. I don't know if either of you want to share final thoughts.


Al, do you want to go first, and then I'll wrap up? If that's okay.


Just to say, really, thank you all for coming today. And thank you for the questions, because I think this is a very new strategy. And, you know, obviously, we're going to have to work out as we're doing it, how it works in practice, and what we do fund.

And, you know, as these questions will be available online later, and we will keep trying to answer and refine what we're doing. I think, do we are really keen to fund as much of this work as we can that has a really broad a wider impact.

And what I should be saying as when we are focusing all this on learning, if you are funded by us, that's something that we're going to support you to do.

Because part of our new strategy is very much about using the power that we have to convene, and to disseminate. So whilst as much as we're asking you how you can do it, we will also support you to do it, should you get funding from us.


Thank you, Alison. Yeah, just to kind of support that point, in terms of, you know, funding is one way in which we support you.

We have a whole host of different ways, or tools in the box, as we call it, which, you know, is about, and I think the strategy is about thinking through how do we as a funder, help catalyse change.

And there are many different ways of doing that. And as Al said, the connecting the convening, supporting your capacity as an organisation, your specific needs, as an organisation is really important to us, because it's not just about the work you do.

It's about who you are as an organisation, and how we can support you to grow and have a real stake in that change.

Again, from me, thank you very much for attending. It's been fantastic to have you all here today, to hear your questions, to hear your challenges to us, which we're really open to.

As Al said, the questions will be available. We'll be working through answers to those. If there are specific questions you have. Celine, I know you've got a specific one, we'll be looking to answer that one very, very specifically.

As I've also mentioned, we do have two other webinars taking place. So on the 31st of October in two, Monday's time, we have children young people's rights. And there are a number of outcomes in there, which you lay also as part of the work that you do be interested in attending that one, so keep an eye out for the link for that.

But also we have a webinar on Thursday, the 3rd of November, and that there will be a slightly longer webinar and we'll be looking at the three justice areas Gender justice, Racial justice and Migrant Justice.

But as I say, Luna will share our email for the organisation in the chat alongside a page with a list of all of when all the other webinars will be taking place. But thank you so much for coming today. And thank you for giving us your time.


Thank you for me as well. We will do our best to answer all the questions we didn't get to and put them up on the website. We'll have also some of the questions that I know Will in Gillian were typing responses to. They'll also be up on the website along with the recording of this and the transcript.

And also I just posted our email address. If you know if there's something that you want clarification on or you didn't get a question in, do feel free to just get in touch.

But we hope this was helpful. And thank you again, everybody for your time. And yeah, and maybe see you at one of our other webinars. Thanks, everyone.