Belfast artist Aisling O'Beirn's work as part of the multiplicity exhibition in New York city - Image © Aisling O'Beirn ©

All rights reserved to Aisling O'Beirn

Are you a freelance or self-employed artist based in England or Northern Ireland?

“An artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.” The words of photographer Paul Strand seem an appropriate way to introduce the Artists’ international development fund. Set up through partnerships between the British Council and the Arts Councils in England and Northern Ireland, its aim is to open international perspectives for artists and to expand their horizons.

Each year they offer grants of up to £5,000 to freelance or self-employed artists in England and Northern Ireland to help them take their work to a global audience.

The Arts Council England has awarded a total of £381,168 to 86 projects, supporting visits to 35 different countries, including four countries that have not previously featured in supported projects; Gambia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia and Sierra Leone. So apply today and you could find yourself on a doorstep on the other side of the world.

What does it involve?

There are two separate funding schemes: one with the Arts Council England and one with the Arts Council Northern Ireland.

Artists from just about any discipline are welcome to apply, so long as they live in one of those two countries. Previous grants have been awarded for projects involving dance, poetry, street performance, school furniture and microbiology.

The proposal must have a clear explanation of how your work will benefit from the experience, leading to a grant of anything from £1,000 to a maximum of £5,000.

Can I apply?

The basic criteria for applying for grants in either England or Northern Ireland are:

  • you must be over 18 at the time of applying
  • you must not be studying in higher education
  • you must have received recognition for your work
  • you must demonstrate an interest in your work from an overseas partner/host
  • you must not have extensive international experience.

Please note that while grants are only currently available for artists living in England or Northern Ireland, there are similar schemes available with Arts Council Wales and Creative Scotland.

When are the deadlines?

The next round of applications for grants in England opens on 12 October and will close on Wednesday 13 December 2017. Find out more information here. 

Just be aware that for either scheme you can only make one application in any financial year (1 April - 31 March).

What will I gain from this?

The Artists’ international development fund is more than just a way to put on an exhibition in another country, it’s your chance to share your passion with others and get your name out there. Previous applicants have talked about the connections and strong network they created from their time abroad and how it’s benefitted them since.

And, of course, there’s the opportunity to immerse yourself in a completely different culture with new sights, sounds, and smells. A whole world of inspiration just waiting to be tapped in to.

What they say

 “The research period has inevitably left me thinking - a lot - about other cultural contexts, relationships between local and international landscapes, communities and their political and artistic ideologies. This experience expanded and further fuelled my thoughts and feelings to do with our experience of time, home, intimacy, community, presence and participation - which I'm itching to unpick in my next artistic project.”

- Luke Pell, awarded £4,945 through the Artists’ international development fund for a 17-day research trip to New York and Washington

Read more about Luke’s experience.


See also

External links