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

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

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