Wishing for more wishes

The week in Creative Money – 26 May, 2021

Creative Money aims to have an open conversation about finances in the creative industries. 

It was founded in July, 2020 in an attempt to address a frustrating lack of relatable financial guidance for creative workers and is written by me, Matt Parker, a music journalist and lecturer.

Hello! This week I’ve taken the plunge and started writing about investing – unpacking a few fairytales, allegories and hackneyed old sayings in the process.

Investing is one of those things that people consider to be a unpleasant combination of complicated, scary and boring – and therefore best left on the ‘someday maybe’ list.

It needn’t be any of those things, though, and the main challenge is overcoming the wall of jargon that is financial terminology. Once you can translate the gobbledygook, you can research and pick an approach that makes sense to you.

That’s where this week’s piece comes in – it’s a friendly starting point for creatives and freelancers trying to get their head around investing.

Read the new post: Investing for freelancers and creative workers - first steps

Necessary disclaimer: I’m not a financial advisor which means this is for financial information and education purposes only. Investing carries risks, always do your own research and seek independent financial advice where required.

In creative roles, our situations are more complex than those with nice regular salaries and auto-enrolled benefits - and that’s before we get into all the negative imagery around making/managing money (back to the starving artist vs the sell-out).

However, the right approach to saving and investing can help in many ways: from smoothing out wobbly cashflows to providing for retirement (a crisis in-waiting for many freelancers). So if anything, we need to be more engaged with this stuff than regular employees – and resist the urge to put it off.

Perhaps I’m the weird exception, but I’ve found it can be fun, too. Despite this last year of nightmares, there have been months where my investments have out-earned my work income – and that is pretty exciting to witness.

I hope this first investing piece is helpful. Next time, I’ll dig into a bit more of the ‘how’ and ‘where’. Until then, there’s some great resources and a heap of new funding opportunities to check out below.

Until next time,



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What do you need to know this week?

  1. ScreenSkills is offering this free Controlling Freelance Finances workshop - register by 31 May, 2021 (ScreenSkills)

  2. Free financial and mental health tools and info for creatives (The Hub)

  3. AIM is hosting a Music Funding workshop with Remi Harris MBE, Ben Wynter and Adem Holness (also free) - 3 June, 2021 (AIM)

  4. Artist Leaks is compiling and (anonymously) sharing artist fees from UK and Ireland public art institutions (Google Form)

  5. A good thread on staying the course in creative work (Twitter)

And finally…

Grants and funding opportunities for UK creative workers

CLOSING: Arts Council Developing Your Creative Practice (Round 10)

The fund supports creative practitioners thinking of taking their practice to the next stage to research, have time to create new work, travel, training, develop ideas, network or find mentoring. Grants of £2,000 to £10,000. Deadline: 27 May, 2021

CLOSING: Four new theatre commissions from Exeter Phoenix

Aimed at Devonshire-based theatre-makers. Applications are invited for:
Devon Ignite Commission for Ethnically Diverse Artists (£1,000); the Devon Ignite Commission for d/Deaf, Neurodivergent and disabled artists (£1,000) and
Devon Seed Commissions (2 awards of £500). Deadline: 31 May, 2021

CLOSING: Musical Director mentorship scheme

Open to anyone in the UK with an interest in learning more about making music for theatre. Mentees who are selected for the scheme will meet with their mentor once a month for one hour starting in August/September. Deadline: 31 May, 2021

CLOSING: PageMasters Publication Fund

£500 in-house production budget for a new or existing publication or zine focusing on themes of gender, race, disability, care, class, politics and/or art. Deadline: 1 June, 2021

OPENING: Unscripted TV Skills fund

A new fund going live on 1 June 2021 which will address skills gaps and shortages in unscripted television across the UK and build a bigger pool of off-screen crew and talent in the nations and regions. Deadline: TBC, opening 1 June, 2021

PRS Foundation Hitmaker Fund

Offers an opportunity for songwriters and producers working in popular music genres to further develop their careers and writing/production with grants of between £5,000 – £10,000. Applicants must have at least 5 credited works registered with PRS for Music. Deadline: 2 June, 2021

CLOSING: Creative Freelancers: Shaping London’s Recovery

This new programme from the Mayor of London will enable a diverse group of freelancers in the culture sector to come together to explore and make recommendations on the future of freelancing. Offers fee of £4,000. Deadline: 4 June, 2021

StageHand Covid-19 Crew Relief Fund

Round 6 is now open. For individuals who have worked in non-theatre live events and are the worst affected by the Covid 19 pandemic, those for whom support has not been available. Deadline: 11 June, 2021

PRS Foundation Women Make Music fund

Supports the development of outstanding women, trans and non binary songwriters and composers of all genres and backgrounds at different stages of their career. Deadline: 14 June, 2021

PRS Foundation Open Fund for Music Creators

The Open Fund for Music Creators supports the development of outstanding songwriters and composers of all genres and backgrounds at different stages of their career. Grants of up to £5,000. Deadline: 14 June, 2021

Society of Authors Sunday Times Young Writer Of The Year Award

Prize of £5,000 is awarded for a full-length published or self-published (in book or ebook formats) work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, by a British or Irish author aged 18-35 years. There are three awards of £500 each for runners-up. Deadline: 22 June, 2021

Sound and Music New Voices

New Voices is an artist development programme that supports composers at pivotal stages of their careers to explore new ideas, new sounds and new music. Participants will receive a £1,500 bursary and up to a £6,000 production budget to create a new work and share this with an audience. Deadline: 25 June, 2021

Elan Valley Creative Wales Fellowship Award 2021-22

Offers established creative practitioners, based in Wales, a chance to experiment and develop their practice, while giving them time away from usual commitments in a beautiful, inspiring setting. The Fellowship includes six months’ accommodation within a one-year period, and a £9,000 bursary. Deadline: 25 June, 2021

PRS Foundation Composers’ Fund

An opportunity for composers with a strong track record, giving direct access to funding at pivotal stages in their career. Grants of up to £10,000. Deadline: 28 June, 2020

DRF Writers Award

An award of £10,000 will be presented to a first-time prose writer whose submission demonstrates literary talent and who would benefit from financial support to complete their work. Deadline: 1 July, 2021

W&A Working-Class Writers' Prize

Offers a cash prize of £200, plus mentorship from author Paul Mendez, Society Of Authors membership and numerous other perks including free books and guides. Deadline: 16 July, 2021

Netflix Screenwriter’s Fellowship

Looking for applications from writers of Black, Asian and other racial and ethnic backgrounds. Fellowship includes a bursary of £22,568 to write a spec script for an original idea over the course of a year, monthly development workshops, and a paid placement in a writers room of a Netflix or Sky series. Deadline: unconfirmed but you need to be available from September

Royal Television Society Bursaries

Awarded to students from less-affluent backgrounds who demonstrate potential and determination. They must be studying TV Production and Journalism or related subjects, or degrees such as Physics, Maths and Computer Science. Offers mentoring and £1,000 per academic year of study. Deadline: 1 September, 2021

Society of Authors Contingency Fund
Helps writers, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets, journalists and others, whose author-related activities make up a substantial amount of their annual income. Grants range in value from £500 to £2,000. Deadline: ongoing

ArtCry grants
ArtCry is setup to provide a rapid turnaround of funding for art works responding to current events. Grants of up to £2,500 with a panel of artists, activists, creators and producers making decisions on applications within a week. Deadline: ongoing

Help Musicians Hardship Fund
The third phase of one of the major support funds for musicians is now open and will support successful applicants with a monthly top-up until March 2021. Deadline: ongoing

Royal Variety Charity Financial Assistance grants
The Royal Variety Charity is uniquely positioned to provide financial assistance to anyone who serves any facet of the Entertainment Industry. Deadline: ongoing

The White Pube Writers Grant funded by Creative Debuts
£500 given out monthly to a working class writer based in the UK. This grant has been set up to support writers of all ages who are early in their careers and would benefit from this no-strings attached financial support to help them in whatever they like. Deadline: ongoing

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