Baring Foundation Creatively Minded and Ethnically Diverse

20/04/2021 | Author: Gail Howard

WAHWN member artist Gail Howard wrote a blog following the Baring Foundation report launch and funding Q & A

The Baring Foundation

Creatively Minded and Ethnically Diverse

Increasing opportunities for people with mental health problems from ethnically diverse backgrounds


Report Launch and Funding Q&A

March 23 2021 14.30 - 15.30


Brief presentation from Daniel Regan : artist and arts in health advisor to the Baring Foundation, Director of Arts and Health Hub, and Free Space Project


An outline of the things you need to consider in your application.


‘We - people of all backgrounds - need to enter into conversations and spaces with a willingness to be taught by those with lived experience from the communities that we aim to support. When all of us (whether we are from a minority or the majority) put our privilege to the side and acknowledge our capacity to learn, great insight and change can begin to happen. The most powerful thing that we can do for others is to be a true ally, by actively listening, supporting and understanding and supporting structural change and the real life impacts on participants’


The language that we use :

•   Recognise the limits of language

•   In some cultures, the language of mental health doesn’t exist

•   Language can alienate, but also provide comfort

•   How do we support people to identify on their own terms?

•   Consider the impact of medicalised language


Co production and participant led :

•   If a project is for a community, who is producing it?

•   Consultation over assumption. How do we know that it is what people want?

•   Working in partnership with organisations already working with these communities

David Cutler, director of Baring Foundation introduce new funding round


Employing artists with lived experience :

•   Who better to work in a specific community than an artist from that community?

•   Our lack of workforce diversity is systemic and far reaching

•   How do we support artists with lived experience to be the best they can be? 


Cultural Sensitivities


•   Looking beyond our own dominant lens on the world

•   Are the days, times and places that we run projects appropriate for it’s target group?


Safe Spaces


•   Not all spaces are safe for everyone

•   Not all cultural spaces are inviting for everyone

•   Safe spaces look different to different people

•   What are you suggesting in your grant in terms of how you ensure that space is safe?



Working with Refugees


•   Consider sensitivities around cultural difference

•   Supporting those with lived experience to become leaders

•   Considerations around language and non verbal communication


Challenges to Hierarchies


•   Who gets to be in a leadership role and why?

•   Leaders should be advocates and allies, supporting others to lead too

•   Taking an action driven approach to ensuring that artists from a broad range of backgrounds access opportunities

•   Challenging our own biases

•   Creating a safe environment where it’s ok to call out bad behaviour

•   Be open to learning



•   We are none of us just one thing

•   We’re rich, poor, comfortable, LGBTQIA+, disabled and so much more

•   How do we account for and include these multiple identities people hold?


Link to the report : 

Link to the Application Guidelines: 

David Cutler, Director of Baring Foundation

Introduction and Q&A


One of the really pressing issues we face is workforce diversity.

Especially when thinking about arts in health,  which feels like a particularly ‘un diverse’ workforce

This round of funding will address this directly. Baring will fund for up to 10 years and prioritise racial justice in our programme, this will not be the only consideration,  but the emphasis will be on racial justice and mental health

Key things to also be considered in your application :

Positive action - (see report, careful description of what constitutes positive action, including paid positions for artists)

Direct access to BAME people with mental ill health/mental health problems


In order for Baring to fund you you must be an arts organisation, as defined in the criteria, this includes museums, but principle concern is any form of creativity, and is a broad interpretation of the word.

Lead organisation needs to be a regulated social enterprise or charity, but can include another org which isn’t these things. But the lead organisation  must be a charity or social enterprise only, and you must have 2 years experience  of working in mental health, and be incorporated by the time the grant comes through. These rules are non negotiable.

Doesn’t need to be solely mental health focused, could be part of a broader strand, but there must be experience in this area.

Also must show commitment to racial justice, through your track record, or as something that you feel strongly that you can improve on.

The project needs to be UK based.

This stream is not aimed at a specific age group

Projects which work with people experiencing dementia cannot be included, there has to also be a mental health problem on top of this - dementia is not defined as mental health, it’s a neurological problem

This also applies to projects which address isolation, loneliness and neuro-diverse artists/people/participants

The art should have a participatory element rather than solely being concerned with the artists own development

Artists involved needn’t have lived experience of mental ill health

You can replicate an existing project or apply to continue a new thread of an existing project. Or it can be entirely new (more info in the guidelines)


For the two approaches you identify, do you have “value for money” criteria in terms of number artists, number of people taking part.

NO, we’re not looking for quantity over quality.

We are incorporated not-for-profit with an asset lock... are we eligble to apply? YES

We work with people in the criminal justice system and a significant proportion of our beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries have diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health problems. Would the work we conduct with a grant need to be exclusively for the benefit of people with diagnosed mental health problems, or would the recognised prevalence of mental health problems in criminal justice allow us to qualify. You need to be saying that you have a very strong focus on mental health problems, and argue that as strongly as you can, emphasis is on mental health as laid out in the guidelines


Is it the organisation that needs 2 years experience in mental health, or can it be the project manager and other staff that have 2 years experience if our organisation has been incorporated less than 2 years?

It needs to be the organisation with the experience, and as long as the org is incorporated it’s eligible, it needn’t be incorporated for 2 years, but it must have the experience.

Are you hoping to distribute funds relatively evenly across the UK? Is there any emphasis on reaching areas of high deprivation? Overall we try and distribute funds evenly, we aren’t big enough to perfectly distribute evenly though. No distinction is made re  areas of high deprivation


Can we pay for ethnically diverse people in arts and health to train as mentors to MENTOR people coming into the field please? E.g. artists with experience in health to share / train up newcomers to the field. Would we be able to pay some sort of bursary to the mentees as well? YES

Do people need a formal diagnosis? NO People can self identify without going through a clinical pathway

The theatre production and workshops will be using various languages for example: Punjabi, Hindi and English to communicate with our audience. It is aimed towards the South Asian community - YES

Could you talk more about funding for training and mentoring? We have a training package we would like to launch. There’s a link in the guidelines to a publication by Batewells re what’s defined as positive action, which includes a paid job. We are not funding arts therapies, but training and mentoring is fine


Does the more than two years experience have to include activity that is solely focused on supporting people who experience Mental Health problems? - YES, we need to know at some level that you are not new to this knd of work and that you have experience, does not need to be exclusively

can we fund bursary for people with lived experiences to produce work ? YES

For projects creating activity for communities, would you expect reporting measures to include assessments of participants' mental health following participation compared to baseline? If so, would you expect these to be clinical measures, or can these be more anecdotal/qualitative measures? NO we wouldn’t require you to do that

We work with an ethnic minority community group with the aim of reducing social isolation and loneliness. Would work like this be eligible? Not necessarily. You would need to show that the loneliness is contributing to a mental health problem - isolation in itself does not meet the criteria

We have many years of delivering activities which have very positive benefits for people experiencing mental health problems, but are not solely focused on this aspect. Would we be eligible? YES

Q&A from previous session :


1. Do you fund in every country of the UK?

Yes, we do: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

2. Will you fund a non-arts organisation in partnership with an arts organisation?

Yes, but you as an arts organisation should lead the bid.

3. Can an arts organisation lead one bid and partner on another?


4. Are community-led libraries eligible? Would you include heritage in your definition of arts organisations?

The primary purpose of your organisation should be creativity. If you apply, your application should make a strong case to us that it is.

5. Is there a specific timeline for delivering the work?

No. Longer is preferable than shorter as the aim of the fund is about embedding longer term change; however, we realise the grants are not huge.

6. Is there a desired timescale for funded projects?

No, we expect there may be some set-up time needed before projects start.

7. Would we fund a project that works with an ethnically mixed group or should the group be entirely comprised of people from ethnic minorities?


Yes, it could work with an ethnically mixed group, though projects should obviously reflect the spirit of the funding programme which is to offer opportunities to communities which do not get fair representation.

8. Is there a preference for supporting smaller organisations? I.e. would national orgs be less of a priority for the fund?

No, there is no preference for smaller or larger organisations.

9. If we are unsuccessful in our application, how long do we have to wait to apply for a future grant?

As a small funder, we tend not to have rules around this. It does change from fund to fund, but our normal approach is that you are able to apply straight away for whatever comes up.

10. Are the numbers of participants relevant? We enjoy working in depth with small groups and have found this sometimes doesn’t offer the reach some funders are looking for.

No, we know that most of the organisations that we fund in the arts and mental health field work with quite small groups of people.

11. Do you prefer to be the primary funder or are you happy to contribute to an overall project budget?

We are happy to be a contributing funder. Please explain to us how the funding fits together in your application.

12. When do you expect to let organisation know if an application is successful?

We will let everyone know one way or the other in early July.

13. Is the aim to engage with those that are not already engaging in arts for their mental health and wellbeing?

This is not the exclusive aim, but it is an important one.

14. Would you fund a constituted community group if they are not registered?

The lead organisation submitting the bid – which should be an arts organisation – must be registered. It is possible that an arts organisation might partner with a constituted community group to deliver the project and that would be fine.

15. Must organisations work ONLY on arts and mental health projects?


16. Would you prefer the work to be in person/local rather than digital/international?

The primary benefit of the work should be in the UK. It could be digital.


17. Will you fund ongoing/established activity or only new activity?

We would not fund work that is already funded of course; however, we would fund e.g. the extension of an existing project that you are looking for funding to continue or develop.

18. If new artists are recruited as a result of the funding, do they have to specifically work on projects that are working with people with mental health difficulties? Or are other strands ok?

Your application should demonstrate to us that OUR funding will benefit people with mental health problem as that is the core purpose our programme.

The Baring Foundation, March 2021




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