Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Money Tap Is Turned Off, SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!!!

Sabrina Mahfouz (a writer of theatre, poetry and TV, apparently) is a great fan of the arts. As long as someone else is paying, of course:
When I first came across the boldly branded IdeasTap online I had two high-pressure jobs, in the wildly divergent fields of Mayfair nightclubs and the civil service, in order to pay my way through a part-time MA in international politics (hence the nightclubs) and to start a sensible, safe career trajectory (hence the civil service).
She doesn’t say what department she works for, so one can only guess just which might consider an MA in international politics useful…

But just what’s this ‘IdeasTap’ thingie?
The charity centres around a website where young people from around the UK create visual profiles and portfolios to showcase their work and to search for other creatives they might be able to collaborate with. This enables a cross-arts, cross-country approach to empowering emerging artists that I don’t believe has been achieved at this level by any other organisation. It provides a ready-made network of contacts and funding opportunities within an industry that is notoriously difficult to enter unless you have the financial backing of parents or the support of well-meaning friends in artistic places.
Maybe I’m missing something, but doesn’t it merely do what LinkedIn and Facebook groups and all those other social media applications do?

But of course, that’s not solely what it does. What it does – and what attracts the likes of Ms Mahfouz - is give out money:
In 2009 Dean Atta and I were awarded an innovator’s fund of £1,000 to host our first large-scale poetry event, Rhymes Won’t Wait, alongside Hollie McNish and Chiméne Suleyman. … I applied via IdeasTap for the 2013 Sky Arts Academy Scholarship – £30,000 to work on your dream arts project and help take your career to the next stage. I was honoured to be one of the winners. The scholarship allowed me to write poems for a new book; commission other artists to create new work – including Shame by John Berkavitch and London Matter by Deanna Rodger; and to write and produce a poetry-infused play, Chef, which will transfer to Soho Theatre this summer.
Can that last? Reader, it cannot:
So the news that it will be closing its digital and physical doors on 2 June after six tremendous years is extremely disheartening; especially as it comes at a time when young people face such a multitude of challenges in pursuing the career they want.
Mainly, the challenges of eating and keeping warm in a world that doesn’t value your thrilling performance art, you mean?
… why those who have been helped by the charity at some stage are now joining together to work out how to save this valuable resource for diversity in the arts. This spirit is the very thing that challenges the mainstream narrative, which favours privilege over talent and rejects the dreams of its young.
I hope that the answer isn’t going to be ‘demand yet more money from the gubbmint’, but I suspect it won’t be far down the list of demands…

4 comments:

Bucko The Moose said...

The 'art' that these types come out with should be thought of as a hobby rather than a career. It's clearly a very niche market that is incapable of funding itself through any public interest.

I see no reason why the rest of us should fund the 'career they want' when none of us want to purchase the things they produce.

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX Maybe I’m missing something, but doesn’t it merely do what LinkedIn and Facebook groups and all those other social media applications do?XX

Yes.

And then claim the copyright.

XX She doesn’t say what department she works for,XX

Neither in the civil service OR the nightclubs.... mind begins boggling....

Anonymous said...

I can declare some inside information here as my wife works for the company which ran IdeasTap and indeed she worked on the financial side of the charitable trust for a while.

The whole thing was set up by one man - Peter DeHaan - using some of the money he and his brothers made from selling the family business Saga. Technically then it was the kind of thing the lefties abhor, tax avoidance, as he ploughed some of the multi millions he would have otherwise pocketed and paid tax on into a charitable trust.

However this is "good" tax avoidance as the money was being used for the betterment of society. However unlike most normal high street charities which maintain a constant level of funds though the soliciting of donations etc. this was a charitable trust whose sole aim was to disburse all its funds and then shut down when the pot was exhausted.

IdeasTap was one such vehicle for this, and yes it did sponsor some fascinating projects and fostered creativity in young people. All to be commended. But at the end of the day it was down to the personal generosity of one man and his personal fortune. Once that fortune was gone then the magic money tap was always going to be turned off. That's just the way it is. Rather than whining about it, you would think people would be profoundly grateful that for six years a body existed that handed out large sums to be frittered away on interpretative dance flashmobs. Rather than just being handed over to the taxman to buy bullets with.

JuliaM said...

"The 'art' that these types come out with should be thought of as a hobby rather than a career. "

Who'd buy it? It's the very antithesis of 'commercial'.

"Neither in the civil service OR the nightclubs.... mind begins boggling...."

I suspect they are rather similar, just differing in who is screwing whom...

"...this was a charitable trust whose sole aim was to disburse all its funds and then shut down when the pot was exhausted."

Well, well, well! That does indeed cast a different light on this.