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Creative NZ Announce New Funding Model

15 Nov 2023

EXPLAINED: "Accessible, focussed, fairer" - CNZ speaks to The Big Idea about the new system to replace the outdated Arts Grants model - and how it has been broken into eight different funding programmes.

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Image: Shutterstock.

Eight new funds - with a clear split between individual arts practitioners and arts organisations - have been announced in a majorly overhauled funding structure for Creative New Zealand (CNZ) from 2024.

For The Arts, as CNZ has titled the funding programme, is a new system that also offers a form of what many have been calling out for since the PACE (Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment) scheme was cut off over a decade ago - funding based around creation, not final production.

After conceding the heavily criticised Arts Grants and Annual Arts Grants models (as well as the universally unpopular application cap structure) were no longer fit for purpose late last year, CNZ has spent the early part of 2023 taking on feedback from the creative community on what it needed. A series of in-person and online workshops provided some home truths for the leading arts funding body, with the pain of the process for many laid bare.

The outcome is finally being revealed - with the announcement of the:

  • Creative Fellowship Fund - Funding to support artists, practitioners and collaboratives to develop, innovate and create

 

  • Development Fund for Artists and Practitioners - Funding to support artists and practitioners to expand skills and careers through specific professional and creative development initiatives

 

  • Creative Impact Fund - Funding to support artists, practitioners, and collaboratives to make, share and present work that enriches audiences and communities encouraging understanding and participation

 

  • Early Career Fund - Funding to support artists, practitioners, and collaboratives at the early stage of their career who wish to learn, create, and share their mahi with their communities and have the support of a mentor

 

  • Development Fund for Arts Organisations and Groups - Funding for organisations and groups to build their capability in key areas to create long-term success

 

  • Arts Organisations and Groups Fund (up to $50,000) - Funding for organisations and groups to deliver a programme of work for up to two years

 

  • Arts Organisations and Groups Fund ($50,000 – $125,000) - Funding for organisations and groups to deliver a programme of work for up to two years

 

  • Residencies, Internships and Fellowships Fund - Funding to support providers to offer a residency, fellowship, or internship for New Zealand artists and practitioners for up to three years

There is also a New Leaders programme which supports new and emerging leaders to grow their skills and build peer support networks - but no grants are offered as part of it.

(All funds are explained in detail at the bottom of this article)

While most of the funds will be put forward annually, the Creative Fellowship Fund and the Creative Impact Fund will open twice a year. The Early Career Fund is open all year round - with four notification periods.

None of the newly announced funds impact CNZ's major Investment programmes - Toi Tōtara Haemata and Toi Uru Kahikatea - or the Creative Communities Scheme.

All eight programmes will be offered for the first time in 2024, with the first opening in March, and the eighth in August. CNZ is holding online information sessions about the programmes for the sector, with follow-up Q+A sessions. 

In a statement, CNZ remarks the For The Arts funding programmes have "an emphasis on vision and purpose, valuing artists’ time, supporting longer-term development and building relationships with artists and organisations outside of funding."

In a wide-ranging interview on the new funding model, CNZ's Senior Manager, Arts Development Services Gretchen La Roche told The Big Idea "I'm really hoping that (the new funding models) are received positively and that people do see that we've listened, that we've respected everything that people have had to say to us. 

"I do believe that people will see their voices and their fingerprints in this. My gut feeling is that artists, being the really deep thinkers that they are, will also see that we're after long-term and ongoing change that comes through great clarity in what we're doing and the form of support as well. 

"We really want to make that commitment, as much as we can, to move from that process of people having to jump from project-to-project to give people a bit more hope, that they can think and plan a little bit more long-term and with greater flexibility for what we offering."

Separating individuals from organisations

Among the many frustrations of the now former arts grants model was the lack of equality - with solo practitioners often needing to scrap for funds with well-established and larger arts organisations. The splitting of the funding programmes was specifically designed to eliminate that disparity.

La Roche notes "We wanted to be deliberate and intentional. The very clear message that we heard on the road repeatedly - unanimously - from all of the workshops was that their experiences as individual artists differ vastly from those of an organisation or a group.

"Individual practitioners or a small number collaborating together versus an established ongoing organisation have very different needs, with a very different purpose often. So with the Arts Grants - now of old - throwing them all in together made the task very difficult for peer assessors."

Funding creative intent, not just results

One of the most significant changes is there is now an avenue for artists to apply for funding to experiment, rather than deliver regimented results.

The dream of an Artists' Wage or a return to the PACE scheme where artists had time to test themselves - and be allowed to fail and go again - has been one of the most vocal aspirations of the creative community.

The Creative Fellowship Fund is described as funding to support artists, practitioners and collaboratives to develop, innovate and create - with options for up to 6 months ($25,000) or up to 18 months ($50,000) as a contribution towards living costs, materials and resources needed to produce work. 

CNZ states "This fund supports artists, practitioners and collaboratives for a period of time in which to think, explore, create, and develop fresh ideas and approaches in their work."

La Roche sees this one as a long time coming.

"People need to have space and time to do the thinking, to do the creating, to do the experimentation - for artists to continue to develop their practice. That often doesn't come through doing the predictable and so that means some artistic risk-taking. That means exploring into the unknown. 

"So it was really important that we could come up with a way of supporting people to do that - where we weren't asking you to define the artistic outcome before you embarked upon that research, that exploration, that testing, that trying. 

"In a way, it's sort of the equivalent of an artist residency at home that you control - we realised that through the process of Arts Grants, we (CNZ) increasingly got into a space where we're asking people to define an artistic outcome before perhaps they could really do that. So we're interested in the thinking behind it but we're not pushing you to be absolutely specific about your expectation of what's coming at the other end of the process." 

No more pitting emerging artists vs Laureates

The specific ring-fencing of an Early Career Fund will be welcomed in some quarters - as getting your first foothold in the funding tree can regularly be the hardest.

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Gretchen La Roche. Photo: Supplied.

The fund will see successful applicants supported up to $10,000 towards creating, presenting, or distributing their work, sharing knowledge and skills with others and mentor fees. It will be open all year round, with four notification periods annually.

It's a response to one of the many examples of long-standing inequity in the funding systems, and while La Roche says how much this fund will receive will be initially flexible until they can gauge the interest in it, it's one she feels passionate about.

"This is certainly not just some sort of token gesture. There's a very serious intent behind the early career stage - noting we're calling it early career stage, which comes with the recognition that we believe that it should be self-defining and can encompass people who perhaps want to change practice, as well. 

"It's really about getting people going, the kickstart of it, not having to deal with that sticky bit - those words that we've often talked about in this space - like 'track record', whatever that means. That's a tough thing when you're starting out, having to stand up against an artist that's had many years of practice behind them. 

"There will be greater emphasis on the work you've done recently, as opposed to the length of your track record, because that's not really a level playing field otherwise."

New road map proposes flexibility for arts organisations

By their nature, arts organisations have traditionally been more mobilised when it comes to advocacy and relationship building. They have also made it clear that the hoops required to jump through to get much-needed funding have often felt unachievable.

La Roche is optimistic the new offerings will help ease that pressure.

"It's been interesting, the response from organisations and groups in the testing we've been doing has been really positive - primarily because there's a couple of quite significant changes proposed. 

"We're moving away from that notion of the short-term, project funding - where they were funded to do a very specific thing. It's recognising that organisations often have multiple stakeholders and multiple sources of revenue - and not all that can be confirmed at the time of an application. We are very interested in moving from supporting a very specific thing into looking at the wider purpose and impact that that group is having within its community. 

"We're giving it greater flexibility in terms of how they apply the funding. So it's more of a core funding approach and also a greater certainty through either up to a 12-month or - in some cases - up to 24 months of commitment from CNZ. Those are quite big changes."

Changes to assessment system

While the capped limit to the previous Arts Grants caused widespread consternation, perhaps equally the most debated element has been the model off assessment in the first place.

Criticism has been harsh and unwavering over the past few years, with the language and use of anonymous external assessors leading to some of the headline controversies CNZ has faced.

La Roche responds "We certainly heard a very consistent message was the importance, wherever possible, for an art form or practice panel to look at all of the applications together. So rather than just a small sampling of those to make an informed decision, actually looking in the context of all the applications received to their programme. 

"We have definitely taken that on board. That's our intention on this. We heard repeatedly that people really wanted CNZ to actually have a voice in the decision-making as well -both some accountability but also to be taking the lead in the strategic impact assessment side, so they align with CNZ's priorities. They wanted the external peer assessors to focus on the art, on the critical thinking.

"It's what we're describing as a mixed model approach - where there'll be an art form or practice panel of a good number of assessors and they will be looking at, wherever practical, all of the applications coming into that artform within that round. And CNZ will be looking at the strategic alignment, the priority side. Then we come together in a room once we've done our respective parts and have a joint conversation and make those recommendations together."

The road forward

CNZ reiterate this has been a collaborative process - and point to the many conversations they've had with diverse groups within the creative sector.

The Ngā Toi Māori and Pacific Arts funds will continue to be offered by CNZ, and La Roche reveals they have been working with Manga Tipua, an advisory group of artists living with disabilities from the deaf and disabled arts community, to ensure their needs have been included in the new funding concepts.

"For deaf or disabled artists, there's an over and above component to these funds. There will be a set of costs that we would meet over and above the funding levels that you would see specified. At this current time, those costs must be met within the existing funding levels, but we're really saying it's not fair for artists to absorb all these additional costs. It goes hand in hand with the increased accessibility around both the website and the application process."

La Roche knows that this announcement is just the start of the process for the arts community - that such change will inevitably come with teething problems.

"We won't be able to make every single person happy. There was a range of opinion and thought of course, but all of that was considered thoroughly. We now really hope that we have shown through this action in these changes, and reflected what people have been calling for.

"We know that even with the best will in the world and the strongest comms - change does take a bit of time. It takes time for people to just get used to these big changes. 

"People are going to have heaps of questions. As well as the upcoming online Q&A sessions, we'll be hitting the road next year with a lot of in-person online sessions as well, as well as people getting in touch with us to talk through the individual situation."


The details of the new funding programmes follow:

Development Fund for Arts Organisations and Groups 

Funding for organisations and groups to build their capability in key areas to create long-term success

Who can apply

New Zealand-based arts organisations and groups.

CNZ expect arts organisations and groups are likely to:

  • have a particular purpose or vision       
  • be engaged in ongoing activity
  • continue operating even if people change.

CNZ don’t expect all arts organisations and groups to have a formal strategic plan, professional staff, or to be a legal entity.

Organisations in the Toi Tōtara Haemata or Toi Uru Kahikatea programmes cannot apply.

Purpose

Arts organisations and groups do a lot to support their communities. Sometimes they need help themselves, especially with business expertise and capability. This fund supports organisations and groups to build skills that help with longer-term success.

What can be funded

You can request up to $20,000 towards the cost of capability-building initiatives for your arts organisation or group.

These initiatives need to be completed within 12 months, starting after October 2024.

They can be in one or more of the following priority areas:

  • Cultural competency and responsiveness to Te Tiriti o te Waitangi
  • Accessibility (planning, policy, and training)
  • Research and evaluation
  • Governance
  • Audience engagement
  • Financial resilience (Revenue generation and diversification)
  • Environmental responsiveness

Website development or upgrades can only be funded if it is linked to one of the priority areas.

Costs that are not eligible

  • Capital expenditure, for example, CRM software
  • Costs to modify physical workspaces

New Leaders programme 

This programme supports new and emerging leaders to grow their skills and build peer support networks leading to strong, sustainable arts communities and organisations

Who can apply

This programme is for new and emerging leaders in arts organisations or communities.

New leaders in organisations in Toi Tōtara Haemata or Toi Uru Kahikatea programmes can apply.

What the programme involves

This programme provides a peer support network and capability-building opportunities. It is focused on areas such as the relationship between governance and management, financial literacy, and influencing skills.

This type of support is especially helpful if you are new to an executive role.

No grants are offered as part of this programme.

Training will be offered within a cohort that focuses on capability building in these areas:

  • Health and Safety
  • Human Resources and managing people
  • Working with Boards
  • Strategic planning
  • Compliance and regulatory reporting
  • Financial literacy
  • Public speaking and media engagement 

Arts Organisations and Groups Fund (up to $50,000) 

Funding for organisations and groups to deliver a programme of work for up to two years

Purpose

This fund offers support to arts organisations and groups who have a dynamic vision for the arts in Aotearoa and are making a positive impact within their communities.

Who can apply

New Zealand-based arts organisations and groups.

International arts organisations may apply only if the funding directly benefits New Zealand arts and artists.

CNZ expect arts organisations and groups are likely to:

  • have a particular purpose or vision
  • be engaged in ongoing activity
  • continue operating even if people change

CNZ don’t expect all arts organisations and groups to have a formal strategic plan, to have professional staff, or to be a legal entity.

Organisations in the Tōtara and Kahikatea programmes cannot apply.

What can be funded

You can apply for up to $50,000 per year, for one or two years.

Funding can be used for any operational or artistic costs.

Arts Organisations and Groups Fund ($50,000 – $125,000) 

Funding for organisations and groups to deliver a programme of work for up to two years

Who can apply

New Zealand-based arts organisations or groups.

International arts organisations may apply only if the funding directly benefits New Zealand arts and artists.

CNZ expect arts organisations and groups applying to this fund are likely to:

  • have a particular purpose or vision
  • be engaged in ongoing activity
  • continue operating even if people change
  • have a Board, governing body or committee

Organisations in Toi Tōtara Haemata or Toi Uru Kahikatea investment programmes cannot apply.

Purpose

This fund is designed to support arts organisations and groups who have a dynamic vision for the arts in Aotearoa and make a positive impact in their communities.

What can be funded

You can apply for:

  • between $50,000 and $125,000 for per year, or
  • a maximum of $250,000 for two years

Amounts above $100k will be granted by exception only and will be dependent on the funding CNZ have available.

The grant will generally be no more than 50% of your annual revenue.

Funding can be used for any operational or artistic costs.

Residencies, Internships and Fellowships Fund 

Funding to support providers to offer a residency, fellowship, or internship for New Zealand artists and practitioners for up to three years

Who can apply

New Zealand-based organisations, trusts, groups, or individuals that wish to offer a residency, fellowship or internship opportunity for New Zealand artists and practitioners.

International providers may apply only if the funding directly benefits New Zealand arts and artists.

Organisations in Toi Tōtara Haemata or Toi Uru Kahikatea investment programmes can apply.

What can be funded

You can apply for the cost to deliver a residency, fellowship, or internship for up to three years.

Costs may include:

  • An artist’s stipend or wage
  • Travel and accommodation
  • Materials

The amount of funding available is to be advised.

Creative Fellowship Fund 

Funding to support artists, practitioners and collaboratives to develop, innovate and create

Who can apply

Artists, practitioners, and collaboratives who are New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.

Purpose

This fund supports artists, practitioners and collaboratives for a period of time in which to think, explore, create, and develop fresh ideas and approaches in their work.

This fund is designed to complement the Creative Impact Fund.

What can be funded

The Creative Fellowship Fund is a contribution towards living costs, materials and resources needed to produce work.

The amounts are fixed. You can apply for either:

  • $25,000 for up to 6 months, or
  • $50,000 for up to 18 months

If you receive a $50,000 grant, CNZ may ask you to work with them in future in areas such as assessment, mentoring, or participation in research or case studies.

Applying for additional funding

 Successful applicants to the Creative Fellowships Fund can apply to the Creative Impact Fund before their current grant has been completed but must submit a Proof of ConceptIn a 12-month period, you can:

  • receive the Creative Fellowship Fund twice to a maximum of $50,000 (e.g., two $25,000 grants), but you must finish the first grant before applying again, or
  • receive one $50,000 Creative Fellowship grant
  • receive a maximum of $125,000 across the Creative Fellowship Fund and the Creative Impact Fund

Development Fund for Artists and Practitioners

Funding to support artists and practitioners to expand skills and careers through specific professional and creative development initiatives

Who can apply

Artists and practitioners who are New Zealand citizens or Permanent Residents.

Permanent, full-time staff members of Toi Tōtara Haemata or Toi Uru Kahikatea or investment organisations cannot apply. However, part-time, fixed-term employees or contractors of Toi Uru Kahikatea or Toi Tōtara Haemata investment organisations can apply. 

What can be funded

Fees and costs associated with professional and creative development activities including research, training, coaching, mentoring, and attending workshops, conferences, wānanga and talanoa nationally and internationally.

You can apply for the cost of capital items only if they’re directly related to your development activities and provide long-term benefits to your professional or creative development. 

Creative Impact Fund

Funding to support artists, practitioners, and collaboratives to make, share and present work that enriches audiences and communities encouraging understanding and participation

Who can apply

Artists, practitioners, and collaboratives who are New Zealand citizens or Permanent Residents.

Purpose

The Fund:

  • encourages the sharing of knowledge and skills with others
  • enriches audiences and communities that you identify, through the creation and presentation of impactful work
  • deepens the understanding of, and participation in, the arts

This fund is designed to complement the Creative Fellowship Fund.

What can be funded

Funding is for up to 18 months’ activity.

You can apply for either:

  • up to $50,000, or
  • between $50,000 and $125,000 if you can show revenue from other sources

Amounts above $100,000 will be granted by exception only and will be dependent on the funding CNZ have available.

If you receive a grant between $50,000 and $125,000, CNZ may ask you to work with them in future in areas such as assessment, mentoring or participation in research or case studies.

The grant can support:

  • the creation and presentation of artwork, such as exhibitions or performances
  • distribution of artwork, such as publications, catalogues, resources, recordings, touring
  • audience engagement and raising awareness, including research and advocacy
  • workshops and knowledge and skills sharing, such as wānanga, fono, or talanoa 

Applying for additional funding

Successful applicants to the Creative Fellowships Fund can apply to the Creative Impact Fund before their current grant has been completed but must submit a Proof of Concept.

In a 12-month period, you can:

  • receive the Creative Impact grant twice, to a maximum of $100,000 (e.g., two 50,000 grants), but you must finish the first grant before applying again, or
  • receive one Creative Impact grant over $50,000
  • receive a maximum of $125,000 across the Creative Fellowship Fund and the Creative Impact Fund combined

Early Career Fund

Funding to support artists, practitioners, and collaboratives at the early stage of their career who wish to learn, create, and share their mahi with their communities and have the support of a mentor

Who can apply

Artists, practitioners, and collaboratives who are:

  • New Zealand citizens or permanent residents
  • at the early stage of their career and wish to work with a mentor to support their development

What can be funded

Up to $10,000 towards:

  • Creating, presenting, or distributing your work
  • Sharing knowledge and skills with others
  • Mentor fees