Saturday, 22 January 2011

Five things I have learned from the BC Arts Council Grant Writing Workshop

Last Friday, 21 January 2011, I spent a day in Vancouver and visited the "Professional Development & Mentoring Session: Grant Writing with Walter Quan."

Here in a nutshell is what I have learned:

1. Develop your projects only after researching the grant program you are thinking of applying for.

2. When sending a recording (CD) to support your application, make sure the music a) is impressive, b) is expressive, c) relates to the project, and d) has the potential to convince the jury immediately (think Malcolm Gladwell's Blink theory of "thin-slicing"). Juries have little time to decide so pick your tracks (especially your first track) very carefully.

3. Remember that all jury members will receive photocopied versions of your support materials. Therefore, do not use highlight markers on your documents (a photocopied version with highlights will actually look as if you tried to censor the document) and be careful when using a design (if any) for your support materials; make sure the design looks good in both colour and on black and white photocopies.

4. There are two handbooks on the First Peoples' Heritage Language and Culture Council website. These e-books can be viewed on any computer. They contain helpful information on writing grants. Just click, download, and enjoy the benefits!
- Arts Portfolio Handbook (PDF)
- First Peoples Grant Writing Handbook (PDF)

5. Walter Quan is great at explaining and clarifying the whole grant process, including what happens after you submit your application: how the jury is chosen, the jury process, etc. For information or feedback he prefers phone calls over emails, so do call him personally for any questions or concerns you might have.

The grant writing workshop was well attended and had an audience of about 45 people (CMC fits 40 comfortably).  I thought it was well worth the trip to Vancouver. Thank you Walter (from the BC Arts Council) and the CMC BC for organizing and hosting this workshop for us!

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