Arts Council England (ACE) has unveiled a £14.4m fund to “cultivate individual talent”.
The Developing your Creative Practice fund is specifically designed to support independent creative practitioners. A pot of £3.6m will be available annually for four years and applicants can apply for grants ranging between £2,000 and £10, 000 from 12th April.
The programme is unlike any other current ACE fund, because it will give practitioners time to work on ambitious and innovative projects, without the immediate pressure of showing their work publicly, a spokesperson for ACE said.
Recipients will be able to use the funding to support periods of research, to develop new work and ideas, work internationally and for training, networking or mentoring.
Nicholas Serota, chair of ACE, said: “Every creative person needs time to breathe, to broaden their experience and to develop their ideas. We want all our arts organisations to continue to commission and present new work from a diverse range of artists but we also need to invest in the future.
“This fund will give creative talent of different ages from different backgrounds the time and the backing that they need to hone their work and explore new paths. Nurturing talent and supporting careers at a critical moment is a small investment that will help sustain our world-class cultural sector for years to come.”
In January Serota insisted that the arts should be "an inclusive world ... not an exclusive club" in his keynote speech marking the publication of ACE's 2016-17 diversity report, 'Equality, Diversity and the Creative Case'. He admitted the arts "have a problem" and said it is now "doubly vital" that it delivers on diversity.
Application guidance will be published on 13th March with more information available on the ACE website.