1. Read the application form and guidelines carefully. The most recent version available on the Arts Nova Scotia website.
2. When in doubt, ask. The program officer is available to answer any questions you may have about the application process – make sure to get in touch well in advance of the deadline. It is helpful to write down your questions in advance.
3. Clarify your idea. Behind every strong application is a clear idea. It is helpful to write in simple, short, concise sentences. Avoid general and vague statements. Read through your application while asking the following:
a. What is your project? Start with your specific idea and description of project. Remember the why will come later.
b. When will your project take place? Every project should have a detailed timeline outlining from start to finish.
c. Where will your project take place?
d. How will you realize your project? It is important to provide a detailed budget.
e. Why is your project important? Clearly articulate your motivations, influences, and inspirations. How would this work fit in, or add to, the overall body of work being created now within the discipline and subject matter? What new ideas or perspectives does it provide? Financial need and personal misfortunes are not reasons for grant support.
4. Understand that you are preparing your application for other artists, who will be serving as the Peer Assessment Committee (PAC). The PAC changes with each deadline.
5. Pay careful attention to the selection of support material. It is encouraged to annotate your support material to provide context for the PAC. Pay close attention to the guidelines for support material.
6. Assume nothing. The PAC assesses applications on merit of the project, artistic merit of the support material, and ability of the applicant to carry out the project. Their assessment is based only on the information provided, not what they know about an applicant through prior knowledge or experience.
7. Use provided application forms. Members of the PAC have many applications to read and assess so it is helpful that each application is consistent.
8. Read, re-read and revise. Grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and inconsistent formatting can detract from an otherwise strong application. Ask a peer to review your application before submitting.
9. Reflect. An unsuccessful application is an opportunity for learning. Make sure you ask the program officer for feedback from the PAC.