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  • Trina Dalziel

Challenge Fund Catch Up! A blog series with creatives from Northumberland - Trina Dalziel.

This is a guest blog by Northumberland based illustrator Trina Dalziel on her project funded by Creative UK's Challenge Fund (via North of the Tyne combined authority).

Peer Led Research Workshop for Visual Artists in North Northumberland to discuss and share knowledge about Arts Funding Barriers and Opportunities.

I’ve recently received funding from CreativeUK and North of the Tyne Authority as part of their CreativeUK Challenge Fund grant to host a research workshop.

Twelve people have been invited with an equal split between ‘fine’ artists and ‘commercial’ artists - illustrators/designers/animators/documentary film makers.

Three attendees are experienced at applying and receiving arts funding, some of us have only dipped our toes in the water with funding applications and researching into funded opportunities, and for others it is something they’ve never considered or feel it’s not a route they would pursue. I was looking for a very broad mix of experiences and opinions. I also aimed and succeeded at a nearly equal gender balance.

The aim is to examine the group’s awareness of opportunities and map our group knowledge. We’ll consider why some creative practitioners regularly apply for arts funding and others don’t or aren’t aware of the opportunities in the region, who does and doesn’t funding attract and why, and to explore perceived barriers and opportunities around applying for arts funding in the Visual Arts in North Northumberland.

The hope is it will be as if the pupils are running the classroom for the afternoon!

It will be a non hierarchical coming together for visual artists to meet with others in similar creative industries and discuss the subject and possibly an opportunity to gather fresh insights and thoughts. I imagine this sort of research is more commonly carried out by funders.

Those that don’t normally look for funding are by nature self deselecting. I feel people may speak more openly if funders aren’t present or asking the questions.

It also takes away the pressure to say the right things if someone is considering seeking funding for future projects. I would hope there would be some fresh insights of value to funding bodies.

The afternoon will consist of whole group discussions, small breakaway group conversations, brainstorming, a game activity and playful, visual ways to gather people’s current knowledge, awareness and thoughts on funding opportunities.

The other two aims set out in my application were to bring together for an afternoon a group of creative practitioners - for conversation and connection (and coffee and cake) who might not otherwise meet. And for me - to practice hosting a workshop /group.

I will lead the workshop and present back the information gathered. I believe the fact that I feel like a “beginner” in regard to how funding bodies work is partly beneficial in that I may ask questions and perceive things afresh that could be missed with more knowledge. (Well, that’s what I’m hoping!) The gathered information shall be shared on the Culture Northumberland website in a few weeks time.

If you are involved in an organisation connected with funding visual arts and have any questions you’d like asked/considered at the workshop please email -

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