"The dream application form"

A review of the DIS-TANZEN team's session on the same topic at barcamp23 in Essen

This year's barcamp23 entitled "Positionen Tanz #6", which took place on October 13 and 14, 2023 at PACT Zollverein in Essen, focused on the topic of funding. As part of the participatory barcamp, the team of the DIS-TANZEN funding program Nicole Fiedler, Friederike Geisler and Jette Büchsenschütz offered a workshop on the design of application forms.

How can applications be made more accessible and inclusive from the perspective of applicants, funding institutions and jury members? What information does the jury need in order to be able to evaluate applications for artistic projects, research or processes in a differentiated manner? What information do the funding institutions need? What tools and formats should be used for this? These and other questions were discussed from different perspectives and various proposals were formulated:

  • What evidence is useful?
    The "proof of public funding" was viewed critically and as too strong as an exclusion criterion. A presentation of previous artistic work, previous funding and a CV should suffice as proof. In view of the lack of press and reporting, such evidence is unrealistic. Instead, alternative ways and means for more public visibility should be found - and possible funding for dance journalism should be considered.
  • What roles do financial and social aspects of the application play?
    The participants suggested a two-stage procedure that initially only evaluates applications in terms of content and anonymously and only takes into account personal information on place of residence, age, children, disability, etc. in a second step. However, this proposal puts all those who are unable to express themselves convincingly in speech or writing at a disadvantage and may exacerbate existing discrimination and inequalities in the distribution of funding.
  • How can the content of the project be presented? How important are convincingly formulated texts?
    There was disagreement as to whether these should be longer and more detailed or rather shorter and more concise. From the point of view of equal opportunities and accessibility, there should be a choice of several formats to describe the project, such as text, video and/or audio description.
  • How is the jury work organized?
    In order to be able to assess different topics and perspectives, artistic genres of the applicants, etc., it is important that jury members are comprehensively briefed in good time. This also includes raising awareness of issues relating to diversity and accessibility. Opinion was divided as to whether the composition of the jury should be announced before or after the application is submitted.
  • Feedback for rejected applications?
    From the applicant's point of view, it would be helpful to receive feedback on rejected applications, e.g. whether they were rejected for reasons of content or form. However, this raises the question of realistic feasibility due to the high number of applications, etc.