Arts Council funding secured

The big news of today is we’ve been successful in applying for some Arts Council funding. A few months ago we announced an Open Call for artists to create new work with the Kickstarter funded camera obscura. The successful applicants were added to a Grant for the Arts submission for £10,800 over six months. We now have that money.

This means a number of things can happen, some of which might not be obvious.

The main one is five artworks / performances will emerge in the Spring of next year using our camera obscura. You can read the submitted ideas but be aware they will undergo substantial development over the winter!

The other main thing is Jenny and Pete are now employed by Birmingham Camera Obscura for six months earning £500 a month each. While on paper this is to manage the funded R&D activity, in reality it means we’ll be able to dedicate significant time to the project as a whole and do the things we’ve had to put off in order to pay the rent. No more squeezing camera obscura work into our spare time. (The first priority will be sorting out the remaining Kickstarter rewards because that’s just getting embarrassing!)

Other things that will happen:

  • More updates on the website. We need to document our activities and write more blog posts.
  • Creation of an educational workshop package for schools. We had a good visit this week to Lyndon School whose teachers are keen to help us develop it into something
    we can take to schools across Birmingham.
  • Consolidation and development of our resources. We’ve collected a lot of knowledge about camera obscuras over the last couple of years and need to sort it out, alongside the research our five artists will be undertaking.
  • Development of a touring program for 2016. We’ve set aside some funds for consultation on how best to tour the camera, and the works developed for it, locally, nationally and internationally. We need to get it out there more frequently and more sustainably than we managed this year.
  • Finishing bits of the camera. We always intended to give it some wheels and it needs to be more weather proof. We can get on with that now.
  • Being more available at BOM and elsewhere. Alongside some formal workshops and open days for this specific project we’re going to be available for people to come visit to discuss camera obscuras or just catch up with what we’re doing.
  • And plenty more which hasn’t come to mind just now!

If the Kickstarter was Stage Two of this project, then this feels like Stage Three, a major change in how we do things and laying some solid foundations for the future. Thanks as ever to everyone who’s supported us to date, from giving a bit of cash to offering advice and wisdom. May there be many more stages!