Where can artists find funding to travel?

So you’ve found the perfect artist residency or opportunity, but how can you get there? Making ends meet as an artist can be difficult enough without the added challenge of trying to travel half way across the world. However, travelling as part of a creative practice can provide amazing opportunities and inspiration, even if it takes years to come into fruition in your work. Here we outline a few places to look if you’re seeking funding to travel to an artist residency. This is not an exhaustive list, but rather a place to get a few ideas of where to start.

Look out for useful resources

Every country has a distinct context and capacity to support artists who travel for their creative practice, however there are a few organisations that focus specifically on the importance of artist mobility.

One such European-based organisation is On the Move, a cultural mobility information network that provides extensive resources about the available funding for artists to travel. They have many publicly accessible guides for artists looking for support, including guides for Europe, Asia, Arab countries, USA, Africa and the Latin American and Caribbean region. ASEF culture360.org, a platform that stimulates cultural engagement between Asia and Europe, is also a good resource for opportunities for artists and cultural workers in the two regions.

In Africa there are a few organisations that support regional mobility, such as Art Moves Africa, that aims to facilitate cultural and artistic exchanges within the African continent, and Africa Art Lines, that funds artists and cultural workers for projects between Morocco and other African countries. In Asia, initiatives such as the Asian Cultural Council (ACC) encourage exchange between Asia (and in the case of ACC, also with the USA). The Fonds Roberto Cimetta has a similar mission within the Mediterranean region and the Allianz Foundation provides grants to Europe and the Mediterranean region.

Investigate country-specific initiatives

On a county-level, a good place to start is the arts councils or local government. This could be at a national, regional or city level. The city level could have smaller grants for local artists, which are often less competitive with shorter processing times. Ask around at your local council to see what opportunities are available. For bigger projects, some national and regional bodies offer grants for larger artistic projects, which might include travel or professional development opportunities.

Another approach could be to research what national initiatives there are for the promotion of culture overseas. For example, the Catalonian Ramon Llull Institute promotes Catalan culture abroad and includes funding for touring and promotion activities. A similar organisation is the British Council, with offices all over the world, promoting cultural relations as well as education. Other such organisations include the Confucius Institute, Alliance Française, Goethe Institute and the SI Creative Partnerships Programme the Swedish Institute. You can check the country pages for each of these institutes (for example, the Goethe Institute in India).

In some countries there are also initiatives organised by departments of foreign affairs. These include once-off funding rounds that celebrate connections between countries (such as Japonismes 2018, that celebrated 160 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and France through a cultural programme in more than 100 venues across an 8-month period). You can look at the foreign affairs department of your country to see if there is a specific country focus (and grants) for any given year. For example, in the past the Wales Arts International has had a geographical focus of Europe, China, Canada and India.

Consider opportunities related to professional development and education

Others areas to look could be peak bodies for a particular art form, for example author, visual arts or performing arts associations. These peak bodies often collate opportunities for artists or they might even provide funding opportunities of their own.

Alternatively, art schools and art departments at universities might offer travel scholarships, either as part of a degree or as an award to their alumni at the end of the degree. There might also be institutes within a university that focus on a particular geographic area. For example the University of Sydney’s Southeast Asia Centre has a grant scheme that supports research, mobility and language study while the Asia New Zealand Foundation offers grants for New Zealanders to develop projects in the region.

Think outside the box

There are also private organisations and foundations that fund cultural activities as part of their philanthropic programme. For example, the Toyota Foundation supports artistic projects, mainly in Japan, South and Southeast Asia.

Is there an organisation that you can approach about your creative idea? Do they have business with the country where you’re doing your residency? It could be worth approaching them with a pitch for your next creative project.

Some grants to keep an eye on

Here are a few interesting funding opportunities that support the cross-cultural exchange of artists:

  • Prince Claus Fund Funds, open throughout the year and targeted at cultural practitioners living in, and travelling from, countries on the DAC list
  • Nordic Culture Point, for travel of professional artists or cultural workers within Nordic and/or Baltic countries
  • Artists’ Contact programme of the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa) that support projects in the fields of contemporary art, architecture, design, photography and media art, focusing on the exchange between Germany and developing countries
  • Fonds Roberto Cimetta provides travel bursaries to artists and cultural managers living in countries of the Mediterranean in order to encourage the development of networks, the exchange of experiences and information to diverse projects

If you are accepted to Studio 88 Artist Residency we are more than happy to provide a letter of support for your funding application. But in the meanwhile, happy grant hunting!

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