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$3.6 Million Approved With CNZ's Latest Funding Drop

20 Jun 2024

Joy for some, disappointment for many as Creative NZ announce the results of their two latest funds - we get a breakdown of what's gone where and dive into the available detail.

The results for Creative New Zealand's (CNZ) new Creative Fellowship and Creative Impact funds have been shared with applicants this week.

They're the two latest funds from the eight-pronged For the Arts programme that has replaced the no-longer-fit-for-purpose Arts Grants model (and its antiquated application cap that caused so many tears throughout the creative community) that came from extensive sector consultation.

The Creative Fellowship Fund is designed to "support artists, practitioners and collaboratives for a period in which to think, explore, create, and develop fresh ideas and approaches in their work".

From 612 applications, 55 applicants were successful and will receive support for 6-12 months that totals $1.8 million in funding (from a total requested $21.3m).

A CNZ statement explains that for the Creative Fellowship Fund "All assessment panel members reviewed all applications and made careful decisions about the allocation of resources. The budget was allocated proportionally to the money requested across each artform." 

39 applicants received the thumbs up from CNZ for a combined $1,802,594 as part of the Creative Impact Fund which "supports activity that encourages knowledge sharing, enriches audiences and deepens understanding and participation in the arts for up to 18 months."

CNZ received 322 eligible applications for the Creative Impact Fund - with a combined request of over $16m.

Regarding the Creative Impact Fund process, CNZ states "All assessment panel members reviewed each application. The panels sought to strike a balance between funding levels and length of activity to ensure more applications could be supported."

In all, 94 applicants were given the green light this week from a total of 934 applications across the two funds, covering General Arts, Ngā toi Māori and Pacific Arts - with a combined $37m requested against a total available budget of $3.6m.

James Wilson, Senior Manager, Arts Development Services told The Big Idea “The Creative Impact and Creative Fellowship funds are supporting a dynamic mix of artists, practitioners and collaboratives across Aotearoa. We’ve been able to support close to one hundred people and projects across the two funds – and while demand was high – we feel positive about the numbers achieved as we roll out these funds for the first time. 

"We’re keen to hear feedback along the way about this new type of support CNZ is providing. These funds are intended to give practitioners time, resources and support to think, explore and develop their work."

Avalanche of applications 

With the capping of applications at 250 (and then 300) a thing of the past, it has meant that CNZ now has many more applications to deal with. 

Those unsuccessful for both the Creative Fellowship and Creative Impact Fund received an email stating "With the high number of applications in this round, we will not be able to provide individual feedback on applications submitted...however, we have put together key themes and observations across this round that you may find useful which can be found on our website."

CNZ noted that they received record levels of interest from applicants seeking advice and support ahead of the funds opening, with advisors speaking to creatives via phone, email and video.

In its list of observations, CNZ stated that "supported applications clearly articulated how the funds would be used, and were particularly direct and concise, focusing on practitioner benefit and community impact. 

"These applications also clearly answered the questions and included additional information to support their application, such as evidence of previous work and who was involved in programmes. There was also a strong community focus across the board, especially from those delivering to young people and minority groups."

Dollar details

As always, the amount of funding remains a bugbear to many creatives - with frustration over reported discrepancies between the application financial boundaries being set and the reality of the final amounts funded.

While all understand the financial restraints the sector's funding agencies face, creatives have told The Big Idea that even when successful with funding requests, offers lower than the requested amount can often throw the projects into the unsustainable category. 

The Big Idea asked CNZ if applicants are being given what they have applied for financially or has the decision been made to fund more applicants with the funding amount lowered.

CNZ replied that they have not changed funding amounts for the Creative Fellowship Fund, with the sums awarded fitting in the listed window of $25,000-$50,000.

The organisation notes that it's common across all their contestable funds that funding is sometimes offered at a reduced level. CNZ states it has not reduced amounts across the board for the Creative Impact Fund to stretch the resources further – however, some applicants have been awarded a lower sum on a case-by-case basis.  

Where reductions in the amounts offered have been made, CNZ says the panel has determined that funded activities could still succeed; for example, by funding the first phase of a project, funding one activity rather than multiple activities, or by focusing funding on personnel costs.

Wilson picks up "In making decisions about how to best allocate the available funding, panellists considered the timeliness of applications, asking ‘why this, why now?’, and looked for applications that presented a compelling and clear case for how the funds would be used. 

"These two funds have a particular focus on encouraging applicants to think deeply about the impact their work will likely have on their communities, with the panel making decisions to support applications with the greatest community impact so that the benefits of the funding will reach as many people as possible.”

CNZ will publish the people and projects that have been supported by these two funds on Friday (21 June), with the next round of Creative Fellowship and Creative Impact open on 5 August.