Craft Fellows: Fundraising and application writing

Fundraising & application writing, facilitated by Matt Roberts, Director Matt Roberts Arts

A partnership between MAC Birmingham and Craftspace

craft fellows sitting around a circle table

Craft Fellows

Session notes

Top Tips from Matt Roberts, Director of Matt Roberts Arts

This guest post was written by Matt Roberts, Director of Matt Roberts Arts, a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2006 to create opportunities for artists in new locations and contexts. Matt Roberts Arts offers support to creative practitioners by providing a range of professional development programmes and national and international touring exhibitions, further information can be found at

Apply well in advance. If there is no deadline then apply up to six months in advance and if there is a deadline register and apply weeks in advance. Give assessors as long with your application as possible.

Don’t take no for an answer. Unless explicitly stated you can re-apply at least once. Funders often appreciate commitment / persistence especially if you can respond to any feedback they’ve given.

Funders often require match funding, money contributed from an other source. It’s good to familiarise yourself with Town, borough, or county council activity where you are – and where the project takes place. Also consider other sources of fundraising eg. sales of unwanted work, auction, crowdfunding, ticketed event etc.

Funders often expect professional development as well as development of work. Budget for more established experts to feed into your project such as artists, curators, specialist technicians and consider if a photographer, web developer, writer could help you improve your presentation.

Funding awards can change at short notice. This can delay or derail a planned project however it can have positive ramifications too. Even if a funding body has moved away from supporting your practice or your council has stopped funding creative activity if you keep them on your radar and they return to grant making then you can be one of the first in line.

Matt Roberts is the director of Matt Roberts Arts and he came in to talk to us about art funding and how we can develop our creative practice. He gave us a lot of information on how to write an application form when applying for funds. We had advice on how to start the email, how to price our time and work and also informed us on the different funds that are available.

Matt was a great talker as he went in depth about the application process and broke it down into manageable steps and explained them with great detail. We discussed what funders are looking for and spoke about our experiences with funding and how we can improve. For someone like me who hasn’t applied for an art fund before it was really insightful information. I now know how to apply, what to say and what not to say and also the type of funds that are available.

I think it is important to know this information as sometimes it is a struggle to afford making art without having a part time job. There are so many funds out there willing to help and give people the opportunity to make art without worrying about money. It would be a shame to not know about the funds available or not know how to apply for them properly. It was an insightful session with very useful information that I will carry forward.

Amarah Simms

Where Next

group of craft fellows standing together at their exhibition launch

Craft Fellows: How do I finance my creative business?

This session focused on business planning and finances

Craft Fellows: Textiles Masterclass

Textiles masterclass with Richard McVetis and Vanessa Rolf

group of craft fellows standing together at their exhibition launch

Craft Fellows: Presenting with Confidence

Steph Vidal-Hall facilitated a session on being more confident presenting ideas

A group portrait of the 5 Craft Fellows.

Craft Fellowships at MAC Birmingham

Lots of advice for new designer-makers.


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