IdeasTap closing: when, why and what it did for the arts

IdeasTap closing: when, why and what it did for the arts

We take a look at some of the best projects the organisation helped over the last six years

Since being established in 2008 in the middle of a global financial crisis, IdeasTap set about creating briefs, listing arts jobs and publishing articles of interest for those trying to break into or keep afloat in the arts industry, covering everything from dance and theatre to film and journalism.

In the six years that is has been operational, IdeasTap has welcomed just under 200,000 members across the UK, given away more than £2.3m in funding to creative projects, and provided approximately 62,000 people with opportunities in the arts sector. These figures are impressive, but sadly, the funding figures were not, and after a failed bid to secure government and corporate support, it was announced in March that the organisation will close.

Here, we take a look at some of the best arts projects that IdeasTap helped to make happen in the last six years. Gone but not forgotten, as they say.

IdeasTap Underbelly Award
In 2014, this was described as ‘the mack daddy of performing arts opportunities’, and it’s easy to see why. Having teamed up with the Underbelly (also known as the company with the enormous purple cow), IdeasTap offered £25,000 to support its members’ work at the Edinburgh Fringe, while the Underbelly offered prime venue slots, priority marketing and mentoring support. There was no limit to the amount of shows that were awarded funding; instead, it depended on the quality and range of applications entered for consideration.

The IdeasTap £10k Film Fund
£10k! Need we say any more? OK, we will. This brief invited filmmakers to apply for £10,000 funding to make a film under 25 minutes in length. Which, if you do the maths, is £400 per minute. The brief was judged by Iain Canning, an Oscar-winning producer, who has worked on such films as The King’s Speech, Shame and Tracks.

IdeasTap Inspires: BBC Writersroom
One of the things that IdeasTap did best was connect real talent with real opportunities. This brief gave 40 members the chance to attend a day-long masterclass delivered by Henry R Swindell, development executive for BBC Writersroom. All participants then received a professional script report on the work completed during the workshop, offering them invaluable professional advice and feedback.

National Theatre Creative Development Weekend
For prospective stage actors, it doesn’t come much bigger than the National Theatre. It’s the National Theatre, for goodness sake. This brief gave 60 IdeasTap members the chance to work alongside a variety of theatre practitioners and other young artists in a creative development weekend.

Many IdeasTap members were writers or performers with something to say about the arts, and IdeasMag provided a platform for this. As well as a series of articles on getting work (such as cover letter tips and advice on auditions), the magazine also published interviews, features and columns on day-to-day life.

IdeasTap Photographic Award (international)
This brief for the snap-happy was a collaboration with legendary photography agency Magnum Photos, and offered £5,000 prize money, £1,500 in project funding and mentoring from a Magnum photographer. It was available to those aged 16+, living outside of the UK.

As you might have guessed given the popularity of their briefs, people aren’t too happy about IdeasTap closing down. You can find more details about the campaign to save it here, but for now, let us appreciate what IdeasTap did, what it managed, and why it will be missed.

Update: The closure of IdeasTap has been pushed back to 8 July. The national arts charity has pledged £100,000 to continue supporting creative people after it closes its doors (or rather, windows) in July, with the aim of launching a series of funds, competitions and mentoring opportunities through a new networking platform, Hiive. For more info, see the IdeasTap website.

IdeasTap closes on Wed 8 Jul.

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