Thursday, April 21, 2016

Time lords

The amount of cash Creative NZ has to fund artists may decline, but the number of artists applying for it is headed in the opposite direction. In the last five years, for instance, the number of applications for the round of Quick Response grants held each March has increased from 52 applications to 86. That’s around a forty percent increase. This is not a big surprise given the number of artists being churned out by the 18+ art schools operating in NZ currently and it isn’t going to do anything but increase year by year.

So here's an idea. Creative NZ might like to investigate an application process that is working for the National Science Foundation (for Earth Processes to be precise) in the United States. It found that by getting rid of deadlines for submitting grant proposals the number of submissions dropped of its own accord by 59 percent. A pilot of the process that resulted in a 50 percent drop has remained at that level for the last five years. What seems to happen is that people put more time and effort into their proposals and the ones that are hasty or ill-considered simply never get submitted. The hope is ‘that the change will filter for the most highly motivated people and the ideas for which you feel the most passion.’ Research has also shown that the reduction in numbers in an ‘anytime submission’ process had no effect on the demographic mix of people submitting. So there you go.