Before you invest precious time, money and effort into putting together an application, it may be best to consider why are you making the application in the first place?
Three good reasons to make an application:
- It is a good fit with your work and your plan for your future
- It will reward the things you see as being important to your career development
- It is the next logical step in increasing the credibility of your work
What you should aim to achieve in your application:
- A clear, precise, well-written typed application, that is neat, orderly and well structured
- To show that you have engaged closely and systematically with your application
- A high degree of idea-development and outcomes
- Content showing a wide-knowledge and understanding of your practice using language that successfully describes complex things in a simple way
- Exceptional professionalism and self-management - meeting all deadlines and timetabling
Before we talk about application processes, forms, or any of the techniques you should ask yourself three basic questions:
- Who am I?
- What do I do?
- Why does it matter?
If you cannot answer these questions, you need to review your business vision, strategy and objectives before submitting your application.
Establishing your vision, strategy and objectives means talking about yourself. This means having a plan and setting some goals. You have to be able to clearly describe what you do and establish why it is unique. You then need to position yourself accordingly.
- Using appropriate language in a statement can help you accurately describe your unique selling point
- Writing notes throughout the research process helps keep your thought process active and records your responses to new ideas as you are having them
- As you continue your thinking, writing and reading, you will begin to see the connections between ideas
- Note these connections as you go along and attempt an outline as soon as you begin to recognise the shape of your application
- Creating an outline will be helpful in keeping track of the evolution of your ideas
For more information on writing statements, see Tips and Advice: Writing Statements & Biographies.
- Establish why you are applying
- What is your aim?
- How will it help your career?
- Is this the right award or opportunity to invest time/energy into?
- Who is your competition?
What to include in your application:
- Put together a list of positives: exhibitions, collectors, publications, and commissions etc. that add to your profile. Rate these in order of importance - most important first
- From the application form, highlight what the organisers are looking for. See how you can match this. Does it fit?
What NOT to include:
- False information
- Poor-quality photographs or images. For more information on photography, see Tips & Advice: Photographing Your Work
- Irrelevant information: Applicants usually include irrelevant information because they are unsure of ‘who they are’ or they have nothing else to say
- Poor quality information: Information that is vague, non specific and non-committal
- Information overload: If asked for a one-page summary, just give a one-page summary
- Your lifetime resume: The last few years are fine. This should all fit on one page, broken down into exhibitions, awards, education, professional experience, collections, gallery exhibitions. Rate in order of importance
Remember to check:
- Does your purpose remain clear throughout the application?
- Is your tone appropriate?
- Are you considerate to your reader/assessor?
- Does the body of your application cover your major points in a logical order?
- Is each of your major points supported by the appropriate amount of evidence?
- Do you make clear transitions between points
Reflect on the following:
- Have you given your reader/assessor a sense of your strengths and purpose so that she/he has a definitive reason to consider your application?
- Does your introduction clearly introduce you as a person and explain your ideas?
- Does it attract the interest of your audience?
- Does your application provide a clear plan?
- Does it present your ideas and purpose clearly?
ALWAYS put together a draft application – give yourself the time to prepare a number of drafts.
Be a tough editor: Imagine the selectors reading your application. The selectors will not know you previous to your application. Give them a good first impression.