Only apply for funds, exhibitions, residencies or opportunities that suit your practice, your stage in your career, and your aspirations for the future of your career. Just as you wouldn't apply for a high managerial position in a company if you only had experience working in a bar, so some funds or residencies only expect a certain level of experience from their applicants. Simple research into the opportunity will show its suitability for you. Many funders, residencies, galleries or commissioners have websites or leaflets that you can check or ask to be sent to you.
You should find out and ask yourself basic things like:
- Who has won the award in the past?
- What did those artists/craftspeople do before they won the award/opportunity?
- How will my winning this opportunity result in long-term benefits to my career? Some opportunities may lead into commercial areas and some into public galleries or commissions.
- If my friend told me they had won this opportunity, would I be impressed?
- What is the application procedure, and do I have time to make a good application before the deadline?
- Is the work that I make suitable for this opportunity?
Once you have completed your research, be honest with yourself as to your chances of success. Filling in applications that you have no chance of getting will waste your time, and where a submission fee is involved, your money. Be selective and only take on as many submissions as you have time for - and make sure that none of the projects have timetables that clash.
Think about the suitability of what you are applying for. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does my application fulfil the criteria?
- Is this the right opportunity to be applying for?
- Do I stand a fair chance of getting the opportunity I am applying for?
By ensuring you apply for awards, commissions or other opportunities that are suited to your practice and career stage, you will greatly increase your chances of success and save time. Remember that filling in application, even if you do not get the opportunity, is only worthwhile if you stand a reasonable chance of getting it in the first place.