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New support for artists from Wales embarking on international careers

This week, Wales Arts International, the international arm of Arts Council of Wales, in partnership with British Council is launching a new funding initiative. 14 Nov 2013

New support for artists from Wales embarking on international careers

Igniting Potential is a programme to encourage Wales’ professional individual artists to take up the first significant international opportunity to develop their practice.

This strand supports primarily overseas visits aimed at connecting with artists, organisations and/or creative producers outside of the UK. A return visit to Wales by the partner artist or organisation as part of the project can be supported through this strand, but at least one overseas visit must be a central part of the proposal.

Eluned Hâf, Head of Wales Arts International said:

"Igniting Potential will offer targeted support for individuals with a proven track record in Wales who are at the early stages of working internationally. It’s near impossible for artists in this day and age to sustain their work professionally within the confines of national borders, but it can also be very difficult to get the first meaningful international opportunity that can transform and individual’s career in the long term. This scheme is for projects that offer a step change for artists such as Sam Perry who is preparing for his first significant exhibition of Welsh and American artists in New York."

The fund has been made possible thanks to a contribution by British Council who are supporting similar schemes in England and Northern Ireland. Graham Sheffield CBE, Director Arts, British Council said:

"We are delighted to be able to work together with Wales Arts International to highlight the strength of Welsh artists and help introduce their work to an international audience. We believe strongly in the benefit of overseas experience in developing and inspiring artists, as well as furthering their careers. Equally important is the value that will be brought back into Wales and its arts sector through the development of new international audiences."

The scheme is competitive, and the maximum level of support is £5,000 and the deadline is the 31st of January 2014. Wales Arts International will consider the level of financial support requested and will make a decision based on published criteria, together with the level of funding available. The scheme will open on Monday 2 December. Artists interested in applying to this new scheme are encouraged to email Wales Arts International:

Artist with existing international experience or represent an arts organisation in Wales, are not eligible under this strand as they are supported the general International Opportunities Fund

Notes to editors:

what are we looking for?

Igniting Potential will focus on supporting professional individual artists in all art forms who have a proven track record within Wales but are at the early stages of working internationally as an individual artist. Applications from small groups of artists who normally collaborate in their work will be considered.

The following factors are taken into consideration when assessing applications:

The Applicant:

  • The professional experience and proven track record of the applicant to present work in Wales.
  • Enthusiasm to develop their practice internationally and to actively engage with international networks.
  • An interest in their work from international partner(s) or host.

The Proposal/project:

  • Evidence that this proposal is the first significant opportunity to engage internationally. It may not be the first experience of working internationally, but the proposal needs to explain why they regard this as the first important international opportunity. This may be due to the profile of the international partner organisation or to the likely impact on the development of their practice in Wales or internationally.
  • How they anticipate the project will benefit their practice in Wales.
  • The profile and commitment of the international partner
  • Demonstration of both artistic collaboration and partnership
  • The financial viability of the proposal.

Case study: Curator Sam Perry’s first significant international work

Last year Welsh curator Sam Perry undertook a three month residency at Flux Factory, Queens New York which culminated in his first show of film, photography and performance from Wales and the United States in New York. His show The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner was based on a single found photograph and the stories behind it: the image of gold winning British athlete Wyndham Halswelle at the 1908 London Olympics. When London hosted the Games the first time Wyndham was part of an international incident between Great Britain and the US.

Sam was delighted with the outcomes of the residency which lead to an invitation to curate a show of Welsh and American Art at the highly respected Brooklyn Gallery NURTUREart from the 14-16 February 2014. Sam said:

"My invitation to work with NURTUREart marks a significant development in my career as a Curator. My proposal application was selected by a jury of highly regarded arts professionals from New York City on an unbiased and objective basis among extremely tough competition. The project also marks my first commission to work curatorially in New York."

For more information please contact Sian James on 029 20 441344 or email

Wales Arts International is the international arm of the Arts Council of Wales and works in partnership with British Council.

Registered Charity Number 1034245