Preparing Proposals Communicating Your Practice In Writing
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Preparing Proposals Communicating Your Practice In Writing

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Preparing Proposals Communicating Your Practice In Writing

Preparing Proposals Communicating Your Practice In Writing

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  • 1. Preparing proposals- communicating your practice in writing Kerry McCall Professional Practice Series VAI/Artlinks
  • 2. Written Proposals
    • The process of preparing proposals is a ‘process of dialogue and communication..’
    • ‘ Preparing Proposals’ by Annette Clancy,located in
    • Info Pool, www.visualartists.ie
  • 3. Same principles apply
    • RESEARCH
    • IDENTIFY
    • PLAN
    • Do you know your audience?
        • Who are they?
        • What do they need?
  • 4. Written Proposals
    • What do you need proposals for?
      • Funding, commissions, residencies, awards, opportunities
      • Name 2 crucial aspects of a proposal??
        • That it meets the criteria set by commissioning/awarding body
        • That it is professionally presented i.e. containing no spelling, proper grammar + is clearly laid out
  • 5. Written Proposals
    • Is straightforward but requires focus and planning
    • Focus and planning require time and research
    • Time and research require a clarity of purpose and of goal
  • 6.
    • Funders
    • Galleries
    • Do they require different approaches?
      • Funders tend to be anonymous
        • Letters/application forms
      • Personal approaches can be viewed as soliciting
      • Galleries - make yourself known..network..personal approach..public profile
    • Similarities?
      • Brevity……Clarity….and Focus
  • 7. Consider in advance:
    • What criteria do ‘they’ need you to ‘fit’
        • Get proposal guidelines
        • Read them
      • What you need to say about yourself,
      • … about your work
      • What format does your approach need to take?
        • Application form
        • Cover letter , Artists CV/Statement , proposal and images
      • Formulate all into a Professional Package
      • VISUAL + VERBAL + WRITTEN
  • 8. Cover letter
    • Who is it to?
      • Find out the specifics
      • Name, specific address, dept…
      • What do they expect in your cover letter?
        • Can you ask if it is not clear?
  • 9. Artist’s Cv
    • Consider:
      • How many pages?
      • Which font?
      • What’s relevant?
  • 10. Artist’s CV
    • Name
    • Contact Details
    • Age?
    • Education
      • 3rd level only (even if a diff discipline)
    • Exhibitions
      • When, where
    • Residencies
      • When, where
    • Publication/Reviews
      • (Pub. Name, Yr, Author, Title, Venue of show)
    • Awards (prizes, bursaries)
    • Relevant Work Experience
      • When, where
    • Collections
  • 11. Artists Statement
    • We communicate through words and images
    • Your artists statement is a written communication of your professional interests
    • It should make sense
    • It should be accessible
    • It should be more than a description and contain a narrative
  • 12. Artists Statement
    • The expansion of why you do what you do
    • Good starting point - your verbal presentation of yourself
    • Hard to begin
      • what are your interests
      • what do you explore in your work
      • what does your practice mean to you
  • 13. Artists Statement
    • How long?
    • Depends on what is required
      • 1 paragraph, 5 sentences
      • Or
      • 1 page, 3-5 paragraphs
      • Remember, it’s the pitch on you and on your work
        • What impression do you want to convey?
        • What story to you want to tell?
  • 14. Artists Statement
    • Some Q’s to respond to:
      • What is it that you do?
      • How do you do it?
      • What concepts are you conveying?
      • Does it fit within any trajectory?
      • What materials is it made from?
      • Why do you do this? (Who is it for?)
      • What does it mean to you?
  • 15. Artists Statement
    • Avoid:
      • Vagueness
      • Verboseness
      • Inaccessible language
      • Obscure references
      • Long-windedness
      • Self praise
      • Comments by third parties
      • A long lead into your story
      • Comparison to other artists
  • 16. Artists Statement
    • Finally
      • Get someone else’s opinion
      • Proof and re-proof
      • You may need to change it for the next application
      • Have a number of different versions
        • Long and short
  • 17. Writing proposals generally
  • 18. Written Proposals
    • Common Problems:
      • The gap between the commissioners brief and your proposal
      • Generic proposals
      • Spelling mistakes
      • Poor visuals
      • Vagueness
      • Verbose unclear wording
      • Poor collation + presentation of all material
  • 19. Research
    • If research conducted widely and deeply you will have enough information for proposal in terms of:
      • time schedule, cost,
      • materials necessary,
      • context within which proposal exists,
      • stakeholder groups,
      • subcontractor groups,
      • additional funding,
      • exposure possibilities,
      • potential strategic partners,
      • audience,
      • documentation requirements,
      • evaluation criteria,
      • maintenance schedule (if appropriate)
  • 20. Research
    • Where do you go for Research possibilities?
      • If a private organisation
        • Awareness of media
        • Annual reports
        • Websites
      • If a County Council
        • Development Plans: Artistic, Cultural and Tourism
        • Websites
      • At all times have an awareness of National Arts Strategy see www.artscouncil.ie or www.artscouncil-ni.org for strategic documents
      • Familiarize yourself with successfully realised proposals
        • Consider how these would have met the criteria/brief set
  • 21. The gap between the commissioners brief and your proposal
    • In Foreword, Public Art: Per Cent For Art Scheme, General National Guidelines 2004 :
        • ‘ The best public art is informed by a knowledge [sic] of the needs and expectations of all those involved…’
        • Caomhín Mac Giolla Léith
        • “ each public art work is unique and has an individual story to tell, so the criteria [ and therefore the artwork ..sic] relating to it should be specific..” Pg 27
  • 22. The gap between the commissioners brief and your proposal
    • Ensure that you thoroughly read the guidelines/brief
      • This will give you a clear indication of the focus offered
      • Consider a brief as a problem which you are offering a solution towards?
      • How good is this ‘fit’?
    • Consider who are the Stakeholders?
      • Who is receiving your document?
        • Who will be reading it?/Judging it?- Find Out
        • How will they judge it in light of the criteria set?
      • Are there external stakeholders whose opinion will have a bearing on your proposal?
        • Who is the audience?
        • Are there community groups involved?
        • Is there an educational angle?
        • Is it the ‘process’ or ‘product’ that is important?
  • 23. Generic proposals
    • ‘ Each commissioning body should set a clear vision[sic] on how and why they wish to work with artists…’ Pg 27 National Guidelines
        • Review these carefully
    • ‘ Each selection panel will be expected to:
      • Review the commission aims and objectives
      • Assess submissions and select project(s) for development and realisation [ in direct relation to the commission aims and objectives…sic ]’ Pg 32
  • 24. Generic proposals
    • Ensure that your proposal is site specific and tailored directly towards this particular opportunity
    • Generic proposals are easy to spot
    • Quickly disregarded
    • Indicate you have made little effort
    • Reflect poorly on you (not on your concept)
      • Endeavour to make site visits offered if public art
      • Contact organisation with an intelligent question
        • You never know they may remember you
        • Will add to your resourcing
        • Perhaps even further information will be offered that you had not considered
  • 25. Gap/Generic
    • You must bear this in mind when preparing your proposal
      • See Appendix 4 Pg 46 Artist’s Brief
          • Work through from your perspective
          • An artist should respond to each of these in their proposal
      • See Appendix 7 Pg 49
          • Use as your own checklist
  • 26. Poor collation + presentation of all material
    • Be sure to include all information requested
      • CV, Artists Statement, Budgets, Previous Images, Concept Images, Tax Clearance Certs, Engineers Reports……etc
        • Your proposal could be disregarded
    • Prepare at least a week in advance
      • This is not exam time, no need to cram
      • Gives opportunity for ink cartridges to run out, phone lie to be cut off, car to be clamped…
      • Double check date and time and formats received
  • 27. Poor collation + presentation of all material
    • Be sure there are:
      • no stains on paper
      • that pages are numbered
      • that all type face is the same (where possible)
      • that you have a cover sheet
      • that you have kept a copy
      • that you get it in on time, addressed to right person
      • that all figures quoted include VAT
      • that you have considered the time you will spending making the work and have cost included
  • 28. Poor collation + presentation of all material
    • What suggestions would you have for presentation of your proposal in hard copy?
      • Which would consider the most effective and professional?
        • A4 pages stapled or with paperclip
        • Pocket sleeve
        • Document Wallet - plastic or card
        • Ringbinder
        • Spiral Bound
        • Clear Cover with Slip on Edge/Hard Back
        • A4 Portfolio type case with clear sleeves inside
      • The answer is whatever the proposal or brief demands
  • 29. Spelling mistakes
      • In every article there is at least one
      • How many in your proposal?
        • Did you get someone to proof it?
        • And someone else?
        • Did you?
      • For words, grammar, formatting, clarity of concept, check against list requested…..
  • 30. Spelling mistakes
    • Spelling mistakes include syntax and punctuation
      • “ On the page, punctuation performs its grammatical function, but in the mind of the reader, it does more than that. It tells the reader how to hum the tune.”
      • Lynne Truss Eats Shoots and Leaves Pg.71
    • Consequences of mispunctuation appeal to many:
      • ‘ A woman, without her man, is nothing.’
      • ‘ A woman: without her, man is nothing.’
  • 31. Spelling mistakes
    • Apostrophe:
      • A good place to start is to identify the difference between ‘its’ and ‘it’s’ : It’s your turn : it is your turn
    • Comma:
      • Humourist James Thurber once wrote:
        • “ After dinner, the men went into the living room.”
        • It was enquired of him,why he had placed a comma after the word ‘dinner’
        • He explained it gave the men the opportunity to push back their chairs and stand up
  • 32. Spelling mistakes
    • Colon and Semi Colon- are they endangered?
    • Colon:
    • H.W. Fowler said the colon ‘delivers the goods that have been invoiced in the preceding words.’
    • A semicolon is used, where there is no conjunction such as and or but and a comma would not do
      • Man proposes: God disposes.
      • Modern writers now tend to use a dash - its seen as less formal and more conversational
  • 33. Poor visuals
      • Many proposals can live or die on poor visuals
        • Poor attention to detail in this regard suggests poor attention to detail in other areas
      • For your concept:
        • ensure you have decent visual concept drawings, computer generated images or contextualising manipulated photographs
      • Also ensure that images of your previous work are clearly labelled and in the appropriate format
  • 34. Poor visuals
        • Don’t include a CD if slides have been requested
        • Clearly number slides/photographs
        • Provide a visual format list/breakdown of work
        • Clearly title + date work
        • Remember to credit photographer
      • See ’Documenting Your Work’ David Monahan, Info Pool, www.visualartists.ie
  • 35. And finally
    • Written: always check and double check spelling
    • Check photocopies for correct number of pages and quality
    • Always make a copy of your master doc
    • Same format on all printed documents
    • Emails are letters too
      • ensure spelling and correct form of address to person is used in any written material (email or letter)
  • 36. Thankyou
    • Kerry McCall
      • E: [email_address]
      • Mob.086.2324288