North Arts Sector Trust and Foundations Event


As director of the the Queer Media Festival my aim of the day was to understand why Trusts and Foundations fund the arts and how this could ultimately help support next year’s Queer Media Festival in screening more films, and curating more in-conversations and performances.

BALTIC arts centre

What made this event particularly successful was the amount of structured debate and conversation between participants. The day was opened by an introduction and welcome by Adam Lopardo from Community Foundation followed by a brief presentation by Sarah Maxfield of Arts Council who explained: How organisations need to diversify their income streams in order to become resilient. In times of austerity and reduced public funding, competition for funds is high, so arts organisations need to know how to ensure their applications are successful.

Debate began with a panel chaired by Phylida Shaw. The panel included:

Rob Williamson | Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland

Penny Wilkinson | Northern Rock Foundation

Vivien Stapley | Sir James Knott Trust

Each panellist gave an introduction to why they fund culture. Culture may not be the main priority of a Trust or Foundation, but grant givers are humans, and they understand the social benefits that culture can have on areas of deprivation.

“You’re not going to solve the problem but you are part of the solution”

The top 3 things that we learned from this section:

  1. Do include information about the non-arts benefits of arts and culture projects
  2. Do include evidence like YouTube clips, images and case studies
  3. Think about your legal structure, grant givers sometimes insist you are a “registered charity” but, “If your organisation’s objectives are exclusively charitable and income is over £5k, you’re legally an (unregistered) charity”

The second panel of the day:

Clare Wilkinson | Garfield Weston

Dorothee Irving | Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Garfield Weston is the largest family run trust in the UK, with all trustees being a descendent of Garfield Weston himself. The Trust is now actively encouraging applications from the North of England, after a significant decline. There are just two people judging every application.

Paul Hamlyn Foundation gives £6m annually to the Arts. Dorothee gave the group an exclusive overview of the new structure of the Foundation, which now focuses on 6 tiers:

  • Widening participation
  • Education and learning through arts
  • Evidence base and information sharing
  • Youth organisations (not necessarily arts)
  • Migration
  • Ideas fund (open to individuals)

This section allowed the audience to question some of the assumptions of trust fundraising, with some myths brought to light:

  • Arts organisations do not necessarily need a good track record of previously funded projects.
  • They do not need a former relationship with the Trust or Foundation.
  • Knowing someone on the inside does not increase chances of success.
  • Trusts and Foundations do not take into consideration Arts Council funding.
  • Each application is considered independently and judged on a case by case basis.

Attendees were invited to take part in a one-to-one advice session with one of the representatives of a Trust and Foundation. Meanwhile, drop-in discussions were held on the following topics:

  • Using who we know and what we know
  • Success stories
  • How we use our boards to support fundraising.

Some of the key issues that arose were:

  • There is an increased need for core funding, however trusts and foundations tend to favour time limited and measurable projects.
  • A need for feedback from unsuccessful grants
  • How do we articulate where the money will be spent if it is for core funding?
  • Boards need to understand the importance of the role of a fundraiser.
  • Arts organisations need ambassadors

The main lessons I learned from the day were:

  • Do not be afraid of rejection, and to try again.
  • Trusts and Foundations need arts organisations to fulfil their objectives.
  • Do not be afraid to pick up the phone and ask for advice.

Overall the day taught me to be brave, and to understand that grant givers are only human. Ultimately I learned that you need to translate what your event or organisation aims to achieve into emotional and physical outcomes for your participants that Trusts and Foundations can understand and match up with their own objectives. Jamie Starboisky

Held at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Community Foundation on Tuesday 28th April 2015, Tyne & Wear and Northumberland #Northartsfunding

Queer Media Festival Goes to BFI Flare

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Every year in March those working in the creative field of film head to London for the BFI’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender film festival: Flare. It is an event we regularly look forward to with the fantastic stories told on screen and the inter-generational creative energy from the LGBT and filmmaking community. Last year we were lucky enough to attend just four weeks after the ending of the first ever Queer Media Festival, which included in-conversations, short film screenings and performances held at MediaCityUK, Salford.

BFI Flare Mike and JamieFresh from February’s finale of the Queer Media Festival’s second year, this year held at the Contact theatre, Manchester, we headed down to London’s South Bank to join our friends, make new contacts and most importantly watch films at Flare. Last year the name Flare was adopted instead of the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival after it was felt the old name was not representative and inclusive enough of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT).

We Are UKFlare has thoughtfully created a wonderful delegate area for people in the industry, press and filmmakers. Featuring a café area, reception desks for attendees, and a viewing area to watch films, it is the perfect place to join in the many talks and round table events held daily. We were honoured to be invited to speak about the Queer Media Festival on the We Are UK panel, the first weekend of Flare, alongside other festival organisers from across the country including Liverpool Pride, Eyes Wide Shut from Brighton, Scottish Queer International Film Festival, London’s Fringe! Film Fest, BFI Flare and the Iris Prize from Cardiff.

This year Flare’s online platform Cinando was a new and welcome addition to the delegate experience, that negated the need to sit through and watch all the films we wanted at the delegate’s viewing gallery. We were now free to enjoy the many networking events, talks, see films not listed on Cinando featuring filmmaker Q&A, and then watch the short films at home as the platform remained available for a few weeks after Flare ended.

BFI Flare 4

All the films at Flare are divided into three streams; Hearts, Bodies, Minds and Cinando featured not just the majority of these but also featured a special Industry Selection of short films only for delegates to view online. We watched the vast array of films that were available online, and it is fantastic to see so many amazing short films being made especially documentaries. It was a shame more short documentary films were not screened for the public to see, as this would have helped us programme them into our next festival based on the audience reaction to them.

BFI Flare 1Of all the feature length documentaries the outstanding ones for us were The Amina Profile, Dressed As A Girl, Save The Tavern and Do I Sound Gay? They all unwrapped the main character featured in the film and explored their story; whether it was Sandra trying to find out the truth about her girlfriend Amina, Jonny Woo nostalgic about his drag past, the former owners of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern reminiscing about the pub’s heyday, or David taking speech classes to sound more masculine.

Watching the characters portrayed it brings home why screening LGBT films is important as for that moment you are drawn into their world, see, hear, feel and understand what it is like for them and for a moment you loose yourself in the silver screen. Viewers may identify with the characters portrayed and it may be helpful to see on screen emotional situations that they have lived through, which gives them great comfort to know that they are not alone in the way they feel, and so no longer isolated and can happily go forward into the world.

What’s in a name? Welcome to Queer Media UK…

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Here’s a YouTube clip of our wonderful logo animated into an advert ready for this year’s event.

We hope you enjoyed our inaugural festival in February where we screened a range of 20 short films and our hosts held six in conversations with LGBT media professionals on our sofa on stage and plans are already underway for the 2015 festival to be bigger and better. The fantastic feedback we received as the festival closed was so encouraging to hear and it was a superb opportunity to see just how creative and dynamic the queer community in the North West really is. Photos for the event are available at our Facebook page.

The next big thing we are looking forward to is attending the BFI Flare – the newly renamed London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival which is on 20 – 30 March and we are really happy to hear that the BFI have launched a new collection of some of their LGBT films on the BFI Player, with features, shorts and exclusive content from the festival, plus a special collection of queer classics and rare treasures from the BFI National Archives.

There is an interesting quote on what the BFI thought about renaming the festival queer in one of their blog posts before the new name was announced; “Queer used to really feel like a slap in the face, a hard, harsh word that was like an assault before the trendies took it as a badge of pride. Sexual politics is a febrile, changing territory and badges tell a story about identity too.”

Their blog post explains after the announcement why queer didn’t make the cut; “Although ‘queer’ is used often as a genre term and it’s something a huge number of our audience and wider LGBT community identify with, it was equally clear from audience feedback that a significant number don’t.”

In the North West we found that there is great heritage to naming LGBT events queer such as the Queer Contact theatre festival, the Queer Up North international festival, the bar Queer,  and the Sheffield Doc/Fest with their Queer Screen film strand.  We wanted an identity that would reach out and appeal to everyone as using queer can be a more inclusive word than simply an acronym and the potential ambiguity of what is queer means it can include not just sexuality and gender but also the questioning and unknown without too ridged a label.

Queer can be percieved as either retro, political or aggressive and after working for a theatre production recently commemorating the Peterloo Massacre it seems appropriate to consider the values that this word has as important in the context of a festival based in Manchester, which has a significant history of fighting for social reform such as the Suffragettes and the Section 28 protests in the 1990s.

To view the Storify story of the journey of our hashtag #QMFUK from our first tweet through to the social media generated during and after the festival click here.

A big thank you to all the film makers and here is a list of all the films we screened:

Last Session and Pretty Policeman by VADA theatre group

Polaroid Girl by April Maxey

Journey To The Centre Of Uranus by Gerard Gudgion

Animated showreel from LGYM

Vinegar to Jam by Ben Walters

The Break by Alexis Mitchell

#LoveAlwaysWins and Homecoming by Mike Buonaiuto

Children 404 by Anonymous

Acceptance by Belford Films

Kit by Bruno Collins and Craig Daniel Adams

Silence by Neil Ely

One Shot by Dietrich Brüggemann

What I Love About Being Queer by Vivek Shraya

(A) Typical Couple by Masa Zia Lenardic

10 Men by Graham Clayton-Chance

Recently In The Woods by Daniel van Westen

I’m Yours by Chase Joynt

Sisyfuss by Navid Sinaki

Cake Tin by Clementine Doll