First of all, before I discuss the pending closure of ideas tap and what it means for its members, let me introduce the you to the concept of Ideas Tap for those of you who aren’t familiar with the site. Ideas Tap is a website and organisation devoted to helping promote and encourage the arts in the UK. They are set up to help people in, or just entering, the creative industries get on in their chosen careers. Although mainly aimed at young people who are just starting out, (at 31 I’m a positive dinosaur ;)), many of their opportunities are actually open to a much broader age range. Here are some of the services they currently provide:
- A jobs board – how many jobs sites have you visited where every single job out of the thousands on there are ALL in the arts or arts related industries?
- A crowd funding platform as well as their own fund that creatives can apply to, and a list they have put together of external prizes and funds.
- Creative competitions including free to enter editor’s briefs and competitions to win cash prizes or fully funded places on specialist workshops and courses
- The Ideas Tap Spa offers access to training and events
- A Community where members can find, interact and collaborate with each other
- IdeasMag, the online magazine, contains articles from industry professional offering insights and advice on issues and opportunities in your chosen field
- Every member has their own portfolio where they can upload sample of work for potential collaborators to see. The portfolio also gives people the chance to see all the briefs you’ve been shortlisted for or have won. This is my portfolio.
As you can see Ideas Tap has been providing much needed support for the arts. So you can imagine what a blow it was to its members to log on yesterday to the news that this wonderful resource is closing down as of June 2015. As you might have guessed, it all comes down to money. Ideas Tap is funded mostly by a charitable trust which is quite simply running on empty. The full explanation for the closure given by Peter De Haan the principle founder of Ideas Tap can be found here.
But Ideas Tap has some determined followers. Within hours of the announcement Save Idea Tap had launched on Facebook and has already gathered 2264 signatures on it’s petition to save the charity since yesterday! It seems that those in the arts aren’t prepared to let the closure of this beloved go through without a fight. There is now an effort to get #loveideastap trending on social networking to raise awareness of the campaign.
As a student of performing arts at college , a self published writer, and a student of the humanities with the Open University the arts have played an important role in my life; they have shaped my experiences my life choices, the person I am and the person I hope to be. Anyone who has ever written a blog post, guess what? You are an artist too. The expression of human emotion through the written word no matter how simply done is art. We are each of us artists in our own way. The arts are fundamental to what it is to be human.
That said, money is, for many people and organisations in our society today, in short supply. Inevitably something has to give. It does lead to the question of where our limited resources should be going. Is it inevitable that in times of austerity artistic industries will be seen as less of an immediate or necessary concern. Is this right? or do we have a responsibility to look beyond art and look at how it effects the lives of those involved in its production as well as those who see the end results? I suspect there are no easy answers to these questions. I know that I have my own conflicted feelings on this, but then conflict is what drives as story forward.
What is your take on arts funding? How essential are the arts in times of austerity? Feel free to share your thought in the comments section below.