Bolster

A new creative development opportunity from
Birds of Paradise and Bijli Productions

Page Navigation

Click on the below section headers to jump to that section.

What is Bolster?

Bolster is a new creative development opportunity from Birds of Paradise (BOP) and Bijli Productions that offers artists who identify as disabled and as a person of colour or from a mixed heritage (more information here), the chance to develop a new creative idea or continue working on an existing creative idea that has not been fully realised yet.

BOP and Bijli are excited to collaborate on Bolster. The aim of this collaboration is to provide an opportunity that is designed for the specific communities that each of our organisations specialise in working with, and to create a supportive environment for artists who may have experienced barriers in previous development opportunities.

BOP knows that for disabled artists, development opportunities that do not successfully support access requirements can stifle creativity before it has begun, let alone let you find the creative conditions to push in a new direction. 

Bijli focuses on developing artistic practice and self-expression in underrepresented communities, by providing opportunities to support the creative agency of artists from ethnically diverse backgrounds. Bolster will provide the space for you to do that.

Making work involves a lot of hard work and finding the time, space and resources to do this can be a challenge. BOP and Bijli are creating this opportunity so that artists who experience barriers or exclusion can have time to think, research, experiment and develop their ideas, with the knowledge they are being paid for their time and are in a supportive environment with access to the knowledge of both companies.

ABOVE: BSL TRAILER FOR BOLSTER

What does Bolster involve?

Bolster consists of two strands:

A) Early Stage Development

The Early Stage Development strand is intended for artists/ collectives who have the seed of a creative idea in their mind, and need some dedicated time to explore that idea and work out how best to make it grow.

B) Continuing Development

The Continuing Development strand is intended for artists/ collectives who have already done the early stage thinking around an idea. They have a specific direction they want to take the idea in and need some dedicated time to achieve that.

Meet the artists

Hannah Yayha Hassan

Myla Corvidae

Sukhdev Parhar

Yoonett

Hannah: Bio

Hannah Yahya Hassan is a Glasgow based Scottish/Bahraini actress and writer. She has worked with multiple theatre companies including: Ramps on The Moon,  Graeae, National Theatre of Scotland and Scottish Youth Theatre. Her recent touring credits include Fault Lines (2020) and Act of Repair (2019). She has toured in both Scotland and England and is particularly drawn to any work that explores the intersections of minority identities.

WEBSITE: https://hannahyhassan.com/

Myla: Bio

Myla is an up-and-coming multi-disciplinary artist, writer and performer working and living in Scotland. They have worked extensively with Queer Heritage Forum, The Pandora Men Youtube series and Scottish BIPOC Network. Myla is currently working in story illustration with Gwyllion Magazine and creating games with Corvidae Games.

Sukhdev: Bio

Sukhy Parhar (she/her or they/them) is a queer, mixed-race, neurodivergent multidisciplinary artist and producer. She is typically found smashing capitalists, the patriarchy, and white heteronormativity one verse at a time in her poetry – the principal area of her creative practice.

They came to art late, having previously trained in surgery, but found their creative spark awakened whilst on a retreat. This transformative experience launched her headfirst into art, and now she couldn’t see herself doing anything else.

Their previous corpus of work has incorporated themes exploring sexuality, sensuality, spirituality, identity, and ecofeminism. This is always framed through their own intersection of identities, and experiences navigating the world as a QTIPOC.

She is currently navigating her way through sobriety and recovery from substance misuse, giving her the opportunity to explore a whole new lens of discourse, and giving rise to the Towards Sobriety project.

WEBSITE: https://www.sukhdevparhar.com
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/sukhdevparhar

Yoonett: Bio

Yoonett is the artist’s persona of Christina Soo Ja Massey a Korean born international adoptee of German Nationality and upbringing. Yoonett is a versatile artist, who derives inspiration from the interplay of personal trauma, cultural turmoil and identity search. Never quite fitting in and feeling incomplete. But believes that the beauty in life can bring out the beauty in people.

The previous career includes a BA Hon and Diploma in Social Work, a certificate in Social Project Management, social care work, workshops and project work and other volunteer work in a variety of work settings.

Since 2016 producing Yoonett Arts has become a focus and vocation. Contributing to exhibitions and organising own exhibitions of Yoonett Artwork. Taking part in Artist collaboration, networks and workshops, as well as organising own workshops and events. Also working as an Artist at Project Ability in Reconnect a group of artists with mental health disabilities.

Yoonett Arts has a social media presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, DeviantArt and YouTube.

WEBSITE: http://yoonett.bio.link/

Check back in September 2022 when each of the artsist will report on how their projects have gone.

Application Process: Archive

Application Process: Archive

IMPORTANT DATES

Thursday 17 FebruaryApplication Support Meetings Available
Midnight, Monday 28 FebruaryApplications Close
w/c Monday 14 MarchApplicants told if their application has been successful or unsuccessful
w/c Monday 28 MarchLead artists sign contracts, budgets paid out
Thursday 1st SeptemberAll work on the project must be finished and final blog and BOP evaluation must be completed

Deadline to apply: Midnight, Monday 28 February

What does Bolster involve?

There are two strands of funding available to apply for:

A) Early Stage Development

The Early Stage Development strand is intended for artists/ collectives who have the seed of a creative idea in their mind, and need some dedicated time to explore that idea and work out how best to make it grow.

You can apply for up to £2000 for the Early Stage Development strand

(four awards available)

B) Continuing Development

The Continuing Development strand is intended for artists/ collectives who have already done the early stage thinking around an idea. They have a specific direction they want to take the idea in and need some dedicated time to achieve that.

You can apply for £4000 for the Continuing Development strand

(one award available)

ACCESS BUDGET

For both the Early Stage Development and Continuing Development strands, we have an access budget available to cover any costs concerning the access requirements of artists. These costs should be calculated in addition to your budgeted project costs. For more information, please click here.

How should I plan the working schedule for my Bolster project?

However you want to structure the working schedule of your project is up to you, as long as it fits within the allocated budget.

We understand that many people have other commitments, such as part time jobs or caring responcibilites, so we want you to devise a working schedule that is the best fit for you and your team.

Some examples of how a project could be structured are:

Example 1A painter works alone, two days per week, for five weeks
Example 2A writer and theatre maker, work together, five days per week, for two weeks
Example 3A composer works alone, five days per week, for one week
The composer brings in two musicians, the trio work together, five days per week, for one week

The only rule, is that work must be completed by September 1st 2022

What will my outcomes be?

Section Summary

This section has information about what the creative result of your time working on Bolster should be. Different projects will end with different kinds of results, and we are happy to work with you for an outcome that is right for you.

The lead artist will also be required to write a blog about their experience and complete an evaluation process with us.

Creative development opportunities sometimes require a specific end goal to be reached or shared – such as a scratch performance or work-in-progress exhibition. While we understand that working towards a public sharing can encourage ambition and stimulate creative flow for some people, for others this target can be off putting and counter-productive.

For Bolster we have no specific target we expect you to reach by the end of the time, other than the goal or target you outline for yourself within your application. As you set this goal for yourself, it should be achievable within the time frame of Bolster. Bolster is more concerned with your creative process having space to develop, rather than the end creative product.

  • For some projects, a sharing (such as a scratch performance or work-in-progress exhibition) may be a useful end point for your time on Bolster. In these cases, we would be very happy to attend and could assist you in establishing and inviting a guest list of people you think it would be useful to show your work to.
  • For other projects, you may not want a public sharing of your work, but would find it useful for it to be documented by a photographer. In these cases we will be happy to organise and pay for a photographer to come and visit you and your work.
  • And for other projects, if you do not want to share the work you have been developing yet, we support you in that choice. 

However, for all selected projects, whatever your working process, we would like each lead artist to join us on a Zoom call once their working time has finished to discuss the progress they have made, and to write a short blog post (500 words) outlining details like:

  • what you have done whilst working as part of Bolster, 
  • if the work you have developed has gone in the direction you expected it to, and if not, why not, and, 
  • how the development time of Bolster has benefitted you.

The lead artist will also be required to take part in our evaluation process.

How will BOP and Bijli support me?

BOP and Bijli will work as executive producers across each creative development opportunity, helping each project with logistical tasks and helping you achieve the goal you set for yourself. We will ensure that you have the correct access and creative support around you to undertake your project. 

We will monitor each project, by checking in to see that everything is going in the right direction and if relevant, we will use our contacts to encourage the right kind of exposure to your work.

Each successful applicant will be able to:

  • Meet with one of the BOP or Bijli producers to discuss project planning, goals and agree contractual details
  • Meet with BOP to create an access statement and identify access requirements if this is useful for you and of benefit in project planning – see FAQs for examples of access needs
  • Have a reflective session with a member of the BOP or Bijli team, before, during or after the development
  • Seek support in identifying their access requirements and finding ways to best meet these within the scope of the project – see FAQs for examples of access needs
  • Seek support in identifying their access requirements and finding ways to best meet these within the scope of the project – see FAQs for examples of access needs
  • Access assistance with budget management
  • Receive recommendations of people to work with
  • APPLICATION SUPPORT MEETINGS

    We understand that some artists may have questions about the application process, or about the opportunity itself that they would like answered before submitting. Other artists might like some guidance on some of the information we have outlined, such as help with creating a budget. Whatever your questions might be,
    we have set aside THURSDAY 17TH FEBRUARY as a day where you can book in a 30 minute online meeting with us, to discuss whatever your queries or concerns might be.

    To book in a slot, please
    complete the form linked below, by 8am on Monday 14th February. The form has a selection of 25 minute time slots available. Please select all of the time slots you are available. We will then get back in touch with you by the evening of Monday 14th February, to confirm your time slot.

    If you require access support to attend a Zoom meeting, this will be provided, just tell us what access support you require on the booking form. If the booking form is not accessible to you please email callum@boptheatre.co.uk

    CLICK HERE TO SELECT MEETING TIMES

    Budget and financial information

    Artists will be responsible for the management of their own budget and the organisation of their project, with BOP and Bijli serving as an overarching executive producer, mentor and support mechanism.

    Early Stage Development applicants do not have to apply for the full £2000, and applicants to both awards will decide how the funding is distributed.

    • Early Stage Development applications can apply for up to £2,000
    • Continuing Development applications can apply for £4,000

    Any costs relating to an individual’s access requirements, should be budgeted in addition to the project budget.

    We encourage people to pay themselves properly and according to industry rates. Overspend will not be reimbursed, contracting partners will be up to you, and a bank account will be required for us to transfer funds into.

    If you feel like you are inexperienced in making budgets, don’t worry, you can can book a slot to speak to us at an Application Support Meeting, in the section above.

    We have also provided a template budget that you are welcome to use (this is not compulsory though). We understand that making a budget in advance of beginning some work can include a little guess work. Please include as much detail as you can, but do not feel too worried if it arises that you have to make some small changes, as long as these can be reasonably justified. 

    Please see the FAQs below for advice on proper rates of pay. 

    BOP are signed up to PIPA’s Best Practice Charter and we encourage applicants with caring responsibilities to include the cost of this within the access budget – not the main project budget.

    Budget Example and Template

    If you are not confident in making a project budget, you are welcome to download and use our template budget, blank budget, however this is not compulsory. You can download the template budget via the button below.

    The below example budget, uses the example of a Deaf playwright being awarded the Early Stage Development award. They start their work with two weeks of solo writing time (including a research trip), and end the work with a one day workshop with two actors.
    For the workshop day with the actors, the writer requires a sign language interpreter to be in the space with them. As this is an access cost, it is budgeted seperately to the main project budget.

    Who is eligible to apply?

    This opportunity is open to individual artists, companies or collectives, who identify as disabled and as a person of colour or as a person of mixed heritage – see below for how we define those terms. If applying as part of a company or collective, the lead artist must identify as disabled and as a person of colour or as a person of mixed heritage. 

    Other eligibility criteria include:

    • The lead artist must have a home base in Scotland
    • The lead artist must be 18 or older at the point of applying
    • People in full time education are eligible to apply

    Definitions:

    How do BOP define disabled people?

    BOP uses the term ‘disabled people’ or ‘disabled artists’ to refer to anyone who self-identifies as disabled. This can include d/Deaf people if they identify as disabled, as well as others living with impairments (physical, sensory, learning, cognitive, etc) that identify as disabled, or people with mental health conditions or long-term health conditions, such as diabetes. 

    BOP recognises that some people (such as Deaf people, or neurodivergent people) may not identify as disabled – BOP uses the Social Model of Disability and recognises that some people experience disabling barriers, and welcomes applications from anyone who experiences disabling barriers in their creative practice. 

    How do Bijli define people of colour or people from a mixed heritage?

    In using the terms “people of colour” or “a person of mixed heritage” Bijli means that you should identify as a person from the: Africa diaspora, Asian diaspora (South, East, and South East Asian), Middle East or North African, American continents (Native Americans, First Nations or Latinx), Polynesian region or ethnically diverse which includes mixed race.

    Bijli’s use of this definition is led by the #BAMEOver Statement; a guide to terminology, for use by everyone who wants to be an effective ally and wants to avoid causing further harm through the use of casual and inaccurate language. For more information please click here.

    How do I apply?

    If you want to apply, please make sure you complete the following four steps:

    1) Fill out the application form (linked below)

    • Please ensure you read each question carefully. 
    • If the Google form version is not accessible to you, the form is available as a large print Word document, which can be downloaded and emailed to us. 
    • If you would find it more accessible to answer the application questions via a video – for example, in BSL – we are happy to accept this too. Just make sure you answer all the questions.
    • Send your alternative application into callum@boptheatre.co.uk
    • If you have any further questions about alternative application form formats please email Callum Madge at callum@boptheatre.co.uk

    2) Provide the supporting materials

    • We encourage you to send in materials that will support your application. These could include (but are not limited to): links to videos of you performing; audio files of your music; photos of your paintings; excerpts of your written work. 
    • Please send a maximum of 5 pieces of supporting material, either as attachments or links. Send your supporting material into callum@boptheatre.co.uk
    • Please be considerate about the length of your supporting material. For example, if you share a link to a whole film or a whole book – we will not have time to go through it all. If you want to share longer pieces of work, please identify a specific section or excerpt for us to go to.

    3) Submit a budget

    • Please include as much detail as you can at this stage.
    • You can use our template, or your own budget document.
    • Ensure that any access costs are identified as separate to the project costs. 
    • Where possible we will support the sourcing of materials/space for you, but please ensure you cover all eventualities in the first instance. 
    • Send your budget into callum@boptheatre.co.uk

    4) Complete our Equalities Monitoring Form

    • Please complete our Equalities Monitoring Form by clicking here
    • Please note, this form is anonymous and it is a requirement of our funding agreement with Creative Scotland for us to collect this data – it will not be used in assessing your application. 

    SELECTION PROCESS

    The selection panel will meet during the week beginning March 7th to discuss the applications. Applicants will be told if they have been successful or not in the week beginning March 14th. Everyone who applies will get a response from us.

    The selection panel will consist of: Robert Gale (BOP); Callum Madge (BOP); Mariem Omari (Bijli); Sonny Nwachukwu (Freelance Artist)

    Deadline to apply: Midnight, Monday 28 February

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Will the budget cover artist’s fees?

    The budget should cover all of the project’s costs, including fees. So, whether you would like to have a couple of days of solid writing on your own, or if you’d like to invite a couple of creatives to work on an idea in a room, please ensure that everyone is paid a fair rate.

    There are some useful links below to help you identify what those rates are. Expenditure for fees should be in addition to any other costs you might incur, such as: travel; venue hire; materials.

    Will the budget cover access costs?

    We encourage you to identify any cost associated with your access needs and list these within your budget – but these costs will be met in addition to your main budget.

    Access needs might include but are not limited to; BSL interpreters, PA support in rehearsals, conversion of text into braille and support to manage communication. We will do what we can to meet all access costs and will discuss these with you before your project starts.

    Will the budget cover equipment cost or hire?

    The fund exists to develop your creative idea and where particular equipment is necessary to the exploration of that idea – then yes. However, do contact us about equipment you might need in case we already have it. 

    Can I include in-kind costs?

    In-kind costs are items that would normally cost money but that someone gifts to you for free. For example, if a theatre venue normally hires out their workshop space for £50 per day, but they give it to you to use for free – this would be a £50 in-kind cost.

    In-kind costs are absolutely allowed but please do not include what should be artist’s fees as in-kind. 

    I’ve never written or managed a budget before, what do I do?

    We can help you with that! Please see the template budget above and also ask us at one of our application support sessions (see above). 

    Will this be an opportunity to secure a commission or future programming with BOP or Bijli?

    No, this opportunity is self-contained and onward commissions are very unlikely. However, we will support and work with you to ensure you connect with contacts who may be able to provide an onward life for your project where appropriate. 

    What if I have a questions that isn’t answered here?

    We will be holding application support sessions on 17th February. This is an opportunity to have a phone call or Zoom call with one of our team. We are here to support you. If you would like to book in for a time slot please email: callum@boptheatre.co.uk

    https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=G-BFM9RLQXYS