How to write a good application – Berit Anne Larsen gives her top five tips

10.12.2018

Hand som skissar på en ansökan

In her roles as Director of Learning and Interpretation at the National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen and expert adviser to Nordic Culture Point’s art and culture programme and the Volt language and culture programme for children and young people, Berit Anne Larsen has extensive experience in reading various types of grant applications. Ahead of the several rounds of applications due to take place in Nordic cultural funding programmes next year, Berit is offering her top tips and advice for how to hone your application and make it as relevant as possible.

1. Be proud of the Nordic perspective

We’re always pleased to see applicants’ texts mentioning Nordic potential in the form of co-operation. We enjoy reading about people’s curiosity about and searches for something “Nordic”. The pan-Nordic perspective shouldn’t merely safeguard co-operation; it should also be central to the concept, content, and process of the project.

2. Give a clear description of the project

It’s essential that the text give a clear overview of the project. The text should be clear, concise, and well-formulated.

3. Ensure the application has roots in all parties to the project

Set aside enough time to discuss the project with your partners before writing the application. This ensures ownership of and sustainability in the project, and these discussions will be reflected in the final application. As readers, we can tell from the text when the application has its basis in collective discussion. Furthermore, this reassures the readers assessing the applications that all partners feel involved in the project and that everyone knows what they’ll be expected to do should the funding be approved. In other words, the application can be seen as a kind of psychological contract of co-operation.

4. Remember to ensure consistency between the project description and the budget

Make sure there is a connection between what you say, what you intend to do, and the activities you’ve budgeted for. A lot of otherwise good applications fall down because of an imbalance between what’s written down and the figures. It may be a good idea to start with the budget when working on your application. What activities would you like to get funding for, and what needs to be done for you to pull them off?

5. Treat the funding with respect

The programmes exist to support the applicants and to provide a foundation from which positive cultural contributions can grow and come to fruition. In other words, there is an ethical aspect to both the granting of and the application for project funding. This requires that both the experts making the decisions and the applicants themselves act responsibly. By way of example, the budget should not have huge administration expenses and just tiny amounts for the artist or cultural practitioner.

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