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…