Funding Artists’ Mobility

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Andy Riess, Ph.D., Assistant Director of Outreach at the Fulbright Scholar Program Council for International Exchange of Scholars, Institute of International Education •  www.cies.org

What follows is Andy Riess’ written summary of his presentation at TransCultural Exchange’s 2016 International Conference on Opportunities in the Arts:

My contribution to the four-person ‘Funding Artists’ Mobility’ panel was to discuss the Fulbright Scholar Program (for which I work directly) and other Fulbright options, as well as options within the Institute of International Education (of which my organization is a part). At each level, there are possible grants to people in the arts.

Slide listing the stakeholders in the Fulbright Scholar Program

The Fulbright Program is a publicly-funded program that draws most of its support from the United States Congress and, in many countries, from local contributions from the national government and/or educational institutions. First, I noted who makes the rules and who creates the opportunities for all four of the Fulbright programs. (See www.cies.org/programs for a full list of Fulbright programs) It is important that the commitment of the United States to the program be clear, and that anyone planning to work within the Fulbright sphere recognizes the stakeholders and the process by which funding is acquired and also helps assure the serious position of Fulbright as part of America’s efforts to build a better world through excellence.

Slide of the Fulbright Programs  Arts

Next, I described how the Fulbright programs work in the area of the arts. Both the Scholar and the Student Programs are excellent venues for artists. I pointed out that even the Arctic Initiative is currently funding an artist who works on the visualization of the full structure of icebergs. I noted that most Fulbright programs are country-specific and that many are as open to applications from people in the arts as to those from physicists, anthropologists or applicants from any other academic discipline. I also emphasized that academic employment is not a requirement. The most important factors for Fulbright are the appropriate credentials ⎼ including those of practicing artists ⎼ and the nature and purpose of the project being proposed.

Slide of the Fulbright Institutions in the Art

It was also pointed out that Fulbright works with a number of art institutes around the country. Using the Carnegie classifications, the presentation moved on to a list of institutions and institutes of the arts that were home to Fulbright grantees during 2015-2016 (see image above). Note was taken of the fact that although independent artists would not show up in such a list, they, too, are regularly grantees.

Slide of additional options through IIE

The final slide was about other opportunities offered through the Institute of International Education that are not Fulbright grants but can be useful to artists of all kinds. Ultimately, this presentation served to underscore the fact that there are a number of funding sources for the arts, and that as long as one is looking for an international opportunity, Fulbright and the IIE should be venues to be consulted regularly.

The rest of the presentation was set aside for questions. There were a great many, mostly concerning specific ideas or countries of interest to the asker. It was an excellent, interested group.