Saturday, 6 June 2009

The Rain it Raineth Every Day...

Heard this week that Arts Council funding will not be renewed for Spoken/Written. Something of a blow, as I'd taken care to go through all the points system with a fine toothcomb, making sure that the application met every need. Sure enough when the letter came, it said that Spoken/Written's application had indeed fulfilled all the criteria and was eligible...but that they had had to turn down even perfectly good applications this time round. And of course, having been funded before put Spoken/Written and I in a weaker position, as the Bulletin is not like say a theatre, i.e. a regularly funded organization, but a series of grants for different aspects of the project. Last time I had to fill in an application for funding, there was a 50% success rate. For this year the figures have dropped to 38%. Spoken/Written just happened to be in the unfortunate 12% - a consequence of the Arts Council's own funding cuts. It feels like two months of sheer stress and going through the endless form and information notes at every spare moment was like a waste of time. However, after having worked to build up Spoken/Written into the valued resource it has become, I'm not going to let it go to the wall without a fight. After 38 Editions, and being its founder, it feels like too much energy has already gone into it to just grind to a halt. And the Quotes page on the website is a testament to how much subscribers and readers value and like it.  The proposed back issues/opportunities for writers website will still go ahead. It is just shaping up to be a Google free site, rather than one with a lot of fancy features to it. It will host advertising to help keep the Bulletin going. The Bulletin itself will have to charge for some entries, and voluntary subscription fees will be solicited. 
   As said in a previous post, six pounds for readers, eight pounds for artists/professionals, ten pounds for small organizations and so on does not seem unreasonable when looking at 10 editions a year, always over 10 pages, more often 12 (the last was 14) and often with a supplement of three pages plus. Cheques are best as PayPal take a portion - for example 30p from a three pound donation/contribution and 40p from a six pound one. 
   Whether through a mixture of donations, advertising, GoogleAdSense, voluntary subs or other sources, Spoken/Written must earn its keep, as it takes a third of a working year to put together. Huge thanks to those who have sent in amounts so far, especially the twenty pound cheques! it's all vital to keeping Spoken/Written going. 
   Big thanks also must go to Rachel McCarthy of ExCite Poetry, the Poetry Society Stanza for E.Devon for hosting Spoken/Written at the launch party of the Poetry Stanza at the lovely Devon and Exeter Institution last Wednesday, and Mel Scaffold of Apples and Snakes S.W. for having a Spoken/Written stall at the Gallery Session's Brian Patten event at the Queen's Theatre in Barnstaple this Wednesday. It will help raise Spoken/Written's profile further, and that can only help in securing a future for it.  
   After all the sunshine, the pouring sometime torrential rain and thunder seem to match a mood I hope won't last any longer than the storm... 

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