We're delighted to be part of the network of Plymouth NPOs supporting this year's Cultural Investment Fund alongside Plymouth Culture, RIO, The Box, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Barbican Theatre, KARST, Take A Part and Plymouth Music Zone.

The Cultural Investment Fund is designed to seed fund cultural initiatives through an open call, grant making process.

Now in its second year, the fund is not simply about commissioning artwork, but instead looks to fund time and opportunity for testing new ideas and developing concepts that will help improve and advance the creative and cultural sector.

We value the process as much as the output and so this funding gives time to think, test, research and pilot. The fund is built on the principle that if we want a different future we need to invest and work differently.

The fund is not a project grant or an art commission, but rather a research and development fund designed to support the testing and development phase of initiatives, that will lead to recommendations and shared learning.

You can now apply for support from the Cultural Investment Fund

We are inviting proposals from individuals, collectives and organisations within the creative and cultural sector that respond to the theme of Togetherness. The theme encompasses priorities identified in the Culture Plan related to inclusivity, diversity and community.

This initial investment fund can support the research and development phase, and is designed to give space and opportunity for testing and experimentation. We are keen to receive proposals for initiatives that are at concept stage and require the funding to test, prototype and research ideas.

This phase is not about specific outcomes or artworks but rather the testing of ideas that might support the sector and city to respond to the theme of togetherness. What we will ask is how you are going to capture the learning so that we understand how the principles of the initiative can be adopted to help shape a shared Plymouth approach. We will want to understand how the methodologies from your initiative can be developed from a concept stage to full production/delivery and scaled up or/and embedded across the sector in the city.

Each selected initiative will be assigned an NPO – National Portifolio Organisation – lead. This lead will be your main point of contact and will provide a mentoring function throughout the life of the project. They will act as a critical friend, help to monitor progress and broker connections with other people and organisations across the city. We will also facilitate regular action learning sets with the funded initiatives to create a peer support network that can help you and your project evolve and problem solve.

-Must be a cultural or creative individual or organisation based in the South West
-If based outside of Plymouth you must demonstrate that you will partner with at least one individual or organisation based within Plymouth (this must be a live, real partnership that you have already secured and not speculative)
-Must not be an NPO
-Must have a bank account in the name of yourself or your organisation
-May be from any art form
-Must be over 18
-If the investment fund accounts for only a proportion of your total project costs please indicate how other phases will be funded and the status of this funding

19th July Call opens

11th August Webinar with Q&A

6th September Call closes, submission deadline

1stOctober Final Shortlisting and panel discussions

4th October Decisions communicated

October 21 – March/22 Projects development/delivery

A total of £42,500 is available through the Cultural Investment Fund. You may request a maximum of £10,000.

If selected you will be required to:

-Attend a contracting meeting with Plymouth Culture to agree the outputs and payment schedule
-Attend an induction meeting with other funded initiatives and NPOs
-Participate in up to four facilitated action learning sets
-Arrange regular NPO meetings as agreed with your lead NPO
-Contribute to the fund evaluation by completing a survey, an interview on camera and impact discussions.

If you need to budget a fee to attend these sessions please incorporate this within your budget as additional funds are not available to support these commitments.

Togetherness is a broad theme that links inclusivity with diversity and in turn to a sense of belonging thus bringing people, organisations and communities together. Now more than ever, we need to come together in communities and in partnerships to help address the inequalities we see in the sector and society. A sense of togetherness is about building genuinely inclusive and diverse sector.

The idea of starting with a theory, question, line of enquiry of concept that you investigate and interrogate through research and phased development. This is normally the first phase of building an idea into a reality and may involve desk research, interviews, workshops, prototypes, feedback and other ways of testing and idea.

Findings and recommendations that come out of the funded proposal which can be applied to other organisations and initiatives. These may be thematically based and can be disseminated in different ways.

This is initial funding that enables the first phase of a proposal to take place. It does not necessarily fund the full project but is a key component in catalysing work on the initiative.

For the purposes of this fund we will apply the definition set out in the Culture Plan which takes the DCMS definition of the creative industries to include publishing, computer games, software publishing, computer programming, computer consultancy activities, Film, TV, music, radio, Heritage, retail of music and video recordings, manufacture of musical instruments, reproduction of recorded media, Heritage, Arts, museum activities. It excludes sport, gambling and telecoms.

The reason we are calling it an investment is because we are prepared to take some risks, in that we will be buying into a cultural initiative rather than a guaranteed artistic output. It is an investment because we are also looking for long term, scalable impact.

Find out more about the Cultural Investment Fund and submit an application via the Plymouth Culture website. Deadline for applications 6th September.