Making the Most of the Arts: A Guide to Managing Participatory Projects

Gerri Moriarty
Merseyside Acme

It’s inevitable that at some point funding will play a role in any arts project. Recent years have seen a shift away from continuous revenue funding to more one off, project-based funds. Making the Most of the Arts continues Merseyside Acme’s aim, under its Creative Futures programme, to pass on the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the arts in as simple and accessible a way as possible.

At only 41 pages excluding appendices Making the Most of the Arts is barely more than a pamphlet, but all the information is here to guide a beginner to putting together a successful arts project, and provide a handy reminder for the more experienced.

In ten short chapters, some only a single page long, Moriarty takes us through the entire project cycle from writing the initial brief to final evaluation. She talks about the use of donations in kind and mentions the pitfalls of sponsorship, a vital consideration and one that other guides have failed to mention. Moriarty’s writing style is fluid and easy and the book is an enjoyable read. She clearly speaks from experience and has gone to considerable efforts to make her book accessible to those with better things to do with their time than read books.

Those who have already sought funding will know that it’s too easy to become so engrossed in the fundraising process that you lose sight of just what your project is trying to achieve. Those just starting out may be daunted by funders’ demands. Moriarty helps to simplify the design and implementation without losing sight of the project benefits that made you start this long and difficult process in the first place. Her attitude is inspiring, positive and focussed on the benefits of the project, not the money.

The only thing I find myself wishing it had was a more developed evaluation section. Evaluation has become a major concern of funders in recent years and that section could have done with being more than one page.

The book costs a fiver, less than two pints of beer. Given the support it can offer, both to the beginner and the more experienced, it’d be foolish not to get a copy.

Making the Most of the Arts is only available from Merseyside Acme.

Email [email protected] for details.

Reviewer: Ged Quayle

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