In all cases, refer to the individual application notes for guidance on what to send with your form or application.
A statement of your working practice and the interests you are exploring in your work is often useful in an application, if asked for. Keep this as short as possible (and always within guidelines), referring to a few theoretical issues if necessary, bearing in mind the person reading it may know more about them than you or may know nothing about them at all. Don't patronise - explain where you are coming from in your practice and why this specific opportunity can only be successfully completed by you.
It is always useful to discuss the practical considerations in making your work as well as the theoretical, so the organisation can tell if they can provide the facilities you may require.
Other supporting materials
Application guidelines generally request supporting visual evidence of your practice to assist in choosing successful candidates. Read carefully the types of materials they accept, and never assume they will have a U-matic player, light box, overhead projector or DVD player unless they specifically say they accept those formats.
Choose the most suitable way to show your work - slides, photographs, a CD-ROM or website? Only supply up to the maximum number of works indicated - it is better to submit fewer, stronger works than more, weaker works to 'pad out' your application just to take it to the recommended number of pieces. The best format for visual materials is often a simple printout of your images - it is cheap, they do not have to be returned and require no technology to view them. Send what is most appropriate to the application.
It is generally better to have someone else - a professional photographer, a friend, another artist - take pictures of your work, so they can bring out the areas you may not normally notice, but a new viewer would be interested in.
If making slides, do not use glass mounted slides and always use plastic frames. Provide a list of your work numbered in the same order as the slides/photographs with titles, dimensions, materials and dates. Use proper labels or permanent OHP pens, and use slide wallets.
Digital images can make a computer crash if they are too large (most gallery computers already have huge numbers of high quality press images already on them), and computer screens cannot display at higher resolution than 72 dpi - only provide higher resolution images if they will be printed out and are specifically requested. Where digital images are requested, keep these as small as possible, and ensure the CD or other media can be read across a variety of formats (Mac, PC etc). Use JPEG, PNG or GIF images, as these are universal.
When including sketches, impressions or technical drawings make sure they represent the idea in context, and explain how it will work. Indicate clearly if they are to be returned and provide the means for doing so with a self-addresses, stamped envelope.
When submitting videos, ensure the tape is wound to the right place. Only about 2-5 minutes of it will be viewed, and no time will be available to cue it up during viewing. Remember to break off or slide across the plastic tabs to prevent accidental deletion. State clearly which track(s) of a DVD should be viewed. Film excerpts should indicate the length of the overall piece from which a section comes.
It is very likely that some of your materials will become detached from your application and will be lost if you do not have contact details on each piece. All supporting materials should be clearly labelled with your name, address, telephone number, and name of the piece, dimensions, materials and year created.
Always include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of work or state if nothing needs to be returned. Most organisations have very limited resources, and will not be able to return works unless you enclose a stamped envelope.