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Funding flagged to help artists build resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic; Fèisean nan Gàidheal set to administer Tasgadh and Maoin nan Ealan Gàidhlig on behalf of Creative Scotland

By Hector MacKenzie

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ARTISTS across the Highlands have benefited from arts funding to support them to deliver projects and work in new ways throughout the pandemic.

And more funds are available to facilitate ways for artists to generate income and continue their creative work during the restrictions, with two deadlines for applications at the end of this month.

Two arts funds, delivered by Gaelic arts organisation, Fèisean nan Gàidheal, on behalf of Creative Scotland, launched in September and have so far supported projects with £36,925.50 in funding, with a notable increase in applications for online projects.

With a straightforward application process and quick decision turnaround, artists across Scotland are being encouraged to apply this month.

The funds, Tasgadh and Maoin nan Ealan Gàidhlig, which aim to provide support for individuals and organisations to continue delivering projects in their communities and sustain creativity for musicians and artists at this time, have supported a varied selection of projects during lockdown from online cèilidhs and recordings to new drama pieces.

Funded projects include a series of a socially distanced small group outdoor performances from Borders based Riddell Fiddles, online cèilidhs, the creation of a book of Skye tunes, supporting a musician to learn new digital skills, an exhibition of music, storytelling, puppetry and film and website redesigns and updates.

Maoin nan Ealan Gàidhlig has been designed to assist the delivery of Gaelic arts projects, with priority being given to applications for projects which are delivered through the medium of Gaelic; sustain artistic practice throughout the Covid-19 pandemic; from individual artists to create work or address personal development needs; with international partnerships; that will develop business skills for individual artists or arts organisations as a means to creating a market, increasing audience numbers or strengthening stability; or which propose online delivery of arts activities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The deadline for applications for Maoin nan Ealan Gàidhlig is Friday, January 22.

Mairi Kidd, head of literature, languages and publishing, Creative Scotland said: "The arts have done so much to support us all through the challenging year we had in 2020. It's a great pleasure to have been able to support the successful projects in this round of Maoin nan Ealan Gàidhlig/The Gaelic Arts Fund, which are set to bring more valuable experiences to Gaelic audiences and communities throughout Scotland and further afield in future. We very much hope that similarly strong applications will come into the next round of the fund."

Tasgadh (meaning investment in Gaelic), is designed to provide support for individual artists and organisations to create, perform, tour and showcase work and is open to those with a proven track record in Scottish traditional dance, Scottish storytelling or Scottish traditional music. Awards of between £250 and £1,000 are available and the deadline for Tasgadh is 29th January.

Arthur Cormack, chief executive, Fèisean nan Gàidheal, which administers the funds on behalf of Creative Scotland, commented: “With these funds we have been able to support a range of projects by groups and individual artists, many of whom have had to change their practice due to the Covid pandemic.There are further deadline dates, at the end of this month, to apply for grants from both Tasgadh and Maoin nan Ealan Gàidhlig.

"We acknowledge there is a fair amount of form-filling fatigue among artists, but we would encourage applications from anyone who has a project in mind, or who would like to undertake some professional development in order to make themselves more resilient. The application process for both funds is fairly straightforward and applicants will receive a decision within a month of the application deadline.”

For more information about Tasgadh and details of how to apply, please visit https://www.feisean.org/en/tasgadh/. To find out more about Maoin nan Ealan Gàidhlig, please visit https://www.feisean.org/en/meg-en/

Fèisean nan Gàidheal (FnG) was established in 1991 as the independent umbrella association of the Fèis movement. It is a membership organisation that offers a range of services to its members including grant-aid, training, insurance, and instrument loans.

FnG is funded by Creative Scotland, Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Highlands & Islands Enterprise and delivers contracts for several local authorities. It supports 47 tuition-based Fèisean that offer tuition in traditional Gaelic arts to around 13,000 young people across Scotland every year.

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