I often witness art organizations willing to create a formal network to join forces, resources, strategies and become a stronger voice and a key player both locally and internationally.
The main reason for the failure is the lack of funding and human resources to manage the network. Ideas and enthusiasm vanish as soon as people go back home and dive into their daily routine to sustain their own organization.
All the representatives of organizations present in Barbados in March 2015 expressed their will to be part of a regional network, but how many of them can really devote time to create and manage the network? How many can make an individual commitment that will benefit the entire arts and culture field in the Caribbean?
Tilting Axis will have to think of strategic solutions to become a real regional network.
In the mind of many European institutions, the Caribbean region is under the umbrella of the USA. It means that Caribbean art organizations are almost never on the priority list of European funding bodies.
I have no idea why your region is so much “off radar”, why you are more “silent and invisible” than other developing regions (Africa, South East Asia, Latin America) but it is time to come out of the woods and put your region on the international map.
From my experience working with European institutions, the few options of Tilting Axis are:
i. Join the Prince Claus Fund Network Partners Program (The Netherlands).
ii. Join the Arts Collaboratory Program for artists run spaces (The Netherlands).
iii. Apply as a regional network to the next ACP Cultures+ call for proposals.
Option 1 and option 2 are more for organizations like Fresh Milk than for regional networks. Did Fresh Milk ever apply to these Dutch institutions? Option 3 is a good format for a group of organizations willing to start a joint program.
A Caribbean consortium could receive up to 500 000 € (five hundred thousand euros) for a 3 years program. The consortium is one lead organization, partners and associates. The main challenge is that the lead organization will have to prove its financial capacity and experience in managing a program of that amount. There are eligibility criteria of course, but British Council (UK) could be the lead. They can easily prove that they have the financial capacity and human resources to do so. You should talk to David about this. The fact that he joined the meeting is a positive indication of his interest in a Caribbean network.
I don’t know if and when will the next call be launched, but you will have only 2 months to submit a proposal. I suggest that you start thinking about it with David (BC) and come with a good idea to develop with other partners in the region. PAMM cannot be a partner as the USA is not on the country list. But PAMM can be an associate (and bring funding to the program). Keep in mind that ACP will only fund activities taking place in ACP countries and benefiting ACP audiences.
What Tilting Axis could and will be depends on you and your partners. PAMM is a serious one and I am sure that you are in permanent contact with Tobias.
So the first set of questions:
i. What do you want to do?
ii. Why are you willing to do it?
iii. What is the goal?
iv. How do you achieve these goals?
Of course, as you can imagine, you have to go beyond “promoting the region”, “being more visible”, “getting rid of the ukulele / rum & coca cola clichés”, etc. The competition is tough internationally as all art organizations from developing countries are knocking at the same doors while funding is shrinking in the West. What I mean is that you should go beyond “exhibition + publication” and keep in mind “relevance”, “impact”, “social change”. That’s the music funders are expecting to hear from developing countries…
I will end by saying that unfortunately everything is on your shoulders and nothing will happen if you don’t give your time. As an “outsider”, I feel like an observer, but I can be a potential Trans Atlantic Partner.