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WeTransfer’s Supporting Act Foundation promises strings-free funding to emerging artists and community-driven initiatives


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Creative Bursaries are granted to undergraduate students (18+), offering 10  bursaries of €10,000, paid as monthly instalments of €1,000 (December 2023– September 2024).

Impact Grants are awarded to non-profit artist-led initiatives, offering 6 grants of  €25,000 per year, paid over a two-year period (commencing December 2023),  adding up to a total of €50,000 per organisation.

Following on from its first funding round, which gave €600,000 to artists and  initiatives, WeTransfer’s The Supporting Act Foundation is about to announce its  second open call – once again aimed at emerging artists from marginalised  backgrounds and arts organisations with a strong community-driven approach.

Impact Grants help artist-led grassroots organisations with community-driven  approaches towards using arts for social change, particularly those offering support  to emerging artists from underrecognised groups. This programme will offer 6  unrestricted two-year grants of €25,000 per year, totalling €50,000 per  organisation.

Creative Bursaries support students from marginalised groups who are experiencing  financial hardship, and are looking to develop practices focusing on arts for social  change. This programme will offer 10 unrestricted bursaries of €10,000 per grantee.

New juries have been announced, with full biographical information on the  Foundation’s website, and include former foundation grantees alongside impressive  industry figures. For Impact Grants, the panel includes: Richard Akingbehin; Daniele  Carlini; Hannah Robathan; Amahra Spence; Abi Tariq; and Nandita Vasanta. The  Creative Bursary panel includes: Malab Alneel; Seonah Chae; Lara Costafreda; Elijah;  Meryem Meghraoua; and Marco Palmieri.

Trust-based philanthropy

Back in 2021, WeTransfer established The Supporting Act Foundation with a pledge  of 1% of its gross annual income to support emerging artists and artist-led  grassroots organisations with a strong community-driven approach. Today, the  Foundation is continuing its commitment to the arts and doubling down on their bold  ‘trust-based philanthropy’ approach – providing unrestricted funding, all through a  lightweight and accessible application process.

Jenne Meerman, Director, The Supporting Act Foundation says, “Sometimes the most impactful way is to find out who’s already making a  difference, and just help them do it. It can be as simple as that.”

In comparison to other funding bodies, the foundation’s application process is  notably easier and stress-free, and is part of its wider agenda to make the art world  more inclusive to everyone. Payments to successful grantees are prompt and there  is no requirement to complete time-consuming reports.

Damian Bradfield, co-founder of WeTransfer and chair of The Supporting  Act Foundation board, “We believe philanthropy should work differently. The Supporting Act  Foundation is a manifestation for a different kind of future for funding the arts  – one that puts artists and non-profits first. Our blueprint begins with trusting  the creatives we support. As a team, we love nothing more than watching  others grow.”

Here are some incredible grantees that the foundation is currently supporting: 

● Italian visual artist Dione Roach, the founder and director of Jail Time Records,  gained funding for her prison arts programme, notable for creating the first recording studio inside an African jail. Dione says: “If their voice gets heard, the  lives of these people can change and how society sees them.” 

● Artist and bioethicist Alcide Breaux works with disability-rights educational  platform Crip the Curriculum. For Breaux, their ambition is to be the first  wheelchair user at the prestigious art residency in Amsterdam, Rijksakademie. 

● Through the Beirut Summer School, practitioners in Lebanon share their  experiences via workshops, seminars and mentorship programmes – all without  paying fees. Now with support, founder Alaa Minawi wants to create further  structure in the organisation and formalise as a non-profit. 

● Magical Women is a non-profit founded by UK-based visual artist Elinor Rowlands  in 2020 to provide a safe space for neurodivergent women and non-binary artists  to gather and make art.  

● The Berlin-based community radio station Refuge Worldwide provides  mentorship in radio and broadcasting to underrepresented groups, such as those  experiencing homelessness and young people fleeing domestic violence.

The Impact Grant and Creative Bursary programmes are open to organisations and  students registered in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Please check the website for full eligibility criteria.

Key Dates

● 22 August: Programme info and guides available on website

● 29 August: Open call is launched

● 18 September: Deadline for submissions (11.59AM CET)

● Mid-November: Announcement of 2023 grantees

The Supporting Act

Through a series of grants and bursaries, WeTransfer’s Supporting Act Foundation  aims to provide a helping hand to artists at the beginning of their careers, with a  particular focus on underrecognized groups and community-centred initiatives.  Prioritising diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Supporting Act strives for social,  intersectional, and environmental justice, using the power and reach of the arts to  make a difference for everyone.

thesupportingact.org

About WeTransfer

WeTransfer streamlines the workflow process for millions of creative professionals. Its ecosystem of creative productivity tools makes it easy to collaborate, share and deliver work. WeTransfer has more than 80 million monthly active users in 190 countries. As a certified B Corporation™, WeTransfer has long been a champion of using business as a force for good. Since its founding in 2009, WeTransfer has donated up to 30% of its advertising space to support artists and social causes. Last year, WeTransfer also launched its Supporting Act Foundation to support emerging creative talent through arts education, grants, and an annual prize.


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