Print this Page
Print this Page

United Kingdom/ 8.1 Support to artists and other creative workers  

8.1.3 Grants, awards, scholarships

The Arts Councils of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland administer a range of grants, bursaries, commissions and further training for artists and arts practitioners in the fields of dance, drama, literature, translation, music, opera, visual arts, photography, video, etc. Schemes range widely and include fellowships, artist's residencies, and travel assistance to facilitate networking or participation in overseas events, support for artists working with education or the community. Arts Council England provides much of this funding through a national funding scheme called "Grants for the arts", which replaced a myriad of different funding schemes ( The Crafts Council provides support for crafts people and the UK Film Council has supported filmmakers since 2000 (but once the Film Council has been abolished it is expected these will be administered by the British Film Institute).

Arts Council England designated 2000/2001 "Year of the Artist", with a focus on individual creators and makers. It was the culmination of a ten-year programme designated to promote individual artforms such as dance and literature. 1 000 artists benefited from a range of commissions and residencies. The total budget for the Year of the Artist was about GBP 3.5 million.

In Northern Ireland, the Arts Council in its five-year arts plan has given priority to extend opportunities for artists to develop their work and practice. Opportunities are available for commissioning new work across all artforms. In addition, a dedicated special funding programme has introduced new opportunities for artists to work on specific projects, for example, in the community, to pursue international opportunities or personal artistic development. One of these initiatives is the Support for the Individual Artist Programme for community artists seeking to develop their individual practice. From 2008 until 2011, this programme is prioritising emerging artists by ring-fencing 20% of awards for applicants that have not previously received these awards.

Two key initiatives have sought to help to train and develop a new generation of leaders for the cultural sector in the UK: the Cultural Leadership Programme ( and the Clore Leadership Programme ( The former was a two-year Treasury funded investment in excellence in leadership across the creative and cultural industries, and the latter, a Clore Duffield Foundation initiative with a fellowship programme and short courses.. In addition, ACNI in partnership with Creative and Cultural Skills (NI), has developed a Cultural Leadership Programme (2009-10) aimed at emerging and current leaders in the arts sector.

NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, is working to transform the UK's capacity for innovation. It invests in early-stage companies, informs and shapes policy, and delivers practical programmes that inspire others to solve the big challenges of the future. This has included support for individual creators and projects.

A number of foundations support arts projects and some of those support individual artists, e.g. the PRS Foundation for New Music assists a wide range of music activity including residencies and commissions for music creators. A number of smaller trusts, especially in the music field, provide financial assistance, primarily to young people under 25, e.g. to purchase, music instruments or to support further training.

Currently, there is no single comprehensive source of information on the range of scholarships, awards and prizes in the cultural field. The DCMS produced a Guide to arts Funding in England 2007, but this has not appeared since then. Useful sources of information in music and the performing arts are the annual directories, the British & International Music Yearbook and the British Performing Arts Yearbook respectively (both available from Rhinegold Publishing. AN (the Artists Information Company) provides information on opportunities and prizes in the visual arts both online and through a-n Magazine. Other online sources include:,

Chapter published: 15-04-2011

Your Comments on this Chapter?