It is a major factor in the creative industry that we spend hours upon hours developing ideas, calculating budgets and practical necessities and then writing up proposals, only to discover 'there was such a high quality of applicants'.
Not this time, but 'we encourage you to re-apply next year'.
This was one such occurrence that happened to the BardsBarter team recently. We had worked very hard on a proposal for an international residency and even though we were shortlisted and were very close to being selected, something that would have been an incredible opportunity to explore themes very close to our hearts, we weren't selected.
What has disappointed us most is not the loss of time and energy spent developing the ideas, as we understand we are in an overcrowded field where cuts to arts and culture means that the competition for every opportunity is extremely high, but that the project we proposed may never happen. You can spend hours working on an artistic idea, that fits perfectly with the brief, and over time become very attached to the concept, only to have to let it go and move on. The way modern organisations and funding bodies work, means that they each have a very specific brief, meaning crossover of ideas from project to project becomes difficult without wholesale changes to your original idea. When you have become so passionate about an idea, it can be very difficult to take a scalpel to it and chop and change it for the sake of ticking boxes, and in some cases, impossible.
How many amazing ideas are left on the floor of the producers and decision makers offices purely because there isn't enough time, space and money to go around?
It is because of this battle for arts opportunities and funding that makes the Moneyless Movements so important to us. The Moneyless Movements are where BardsBarter live for a weekend, without using any money, in a location chosen at random by a longitude and latitude generator. By removing money, it truly allows us to connect with the location we have chosen, the people who inhabit it and the work we want to create. It forces communication and connection with people we otherwise would not have come into contact with and takes us out of our comfort zone in an unfamiliar landscape. We are then able to respond in any artistic way we wish from music and spoken word to installation and live art. It is truly freeing.
There is a childlike quality to letting your creativity run wild in response to the landscape, history and communities we come across. By removing issues of money and funding, it free's up the process of creating from having to tick boxes, write evaluations and dilute our art.
We realise many people create art for free, out of necessity or purely for the love of it. We applaud you. As professional artists it can be very difficult to let go and create art that has nothing relying on it and without the worry of how to pay for rent, the new tire for the car or the bread for your ham sandwiches. Through our Moneyless Movements we have found our way of letting go and reconnecting with our creativity, and we encourage you to find yours, whatever that may be.
This coming weekend BardsBarter will be setting off on their second Moneyless Movement of the year. We are extremely excited and can't wait to get going. So keep an eye out, we may be coming to a town, field or layby near you...
BardsBarter create work around alternative economics, social change, and community. If you would like to know more about BardsBarter please visit the BardsBarter website