Fund-Raiser for MA Tuition Fee Shortfall, UAL Chelsea
The thing is:
I’m doing an MA FA at Chelsea and I’m just coming up to the end of my first year.
I’ve got a tuition fee shortfall for next year’s fees, and have hit a brick wall in my search for scholarships, grants and affordable loans that I’m eligible to apply for.
So this is a fundraiser to help me raise the bare minimum cost of completing the next and final year of my part-time MA FA degree course at the University of the Arts, London, Chelsea College of Art.
Who am i?
A single mother who also happens to be an artist and an MA student?
An artist and an MA student who also happens to be a single mother?
An MA student who also happens to be a single mother and an artist?
The three don’t sit together so easily in a sentence, no matter which order they’re written in, but I am doing my utmost to resolve the challenges of living out these conflicting roles simultaneously and having them make sense in combination!
You can glean some of this in my profile, but long story short: I ran a partly successful and partially unsuccessful fundraising campaign last year on hubbub to help with funds for the first year. (If interested, view it here.)
When I say ‘partly successful‘ it’s because some lovely people showed their support: made pledges, shared it on social media – someone even referenced it in an online article about the rising trend of post-grad students feeling the need to crowdfund tuition fees due to the dearth of funding options at this academic level in the UK, but it didn’t acheive its minimum target, not there, that is.
I say ‘partly unsuccessful‘ only because, well, that’s how it looked online – I didn’t manage to meet the ‘all or nothing’ target via hubbub at the time, BUT a very generous pal, who I haven’t seen for nearly 15 years, offered me a zero-interest loan covering the costs of the first year’s fees! He wouldn’t have known I was looking for funding had it not been for this platform or the social media shares.
So, no, it didn’t register on hubbub as a ‘success’ because those funds were loaned to me directly (that sponsor chose a direct bank transfer, as did another who was wary of Paypal, but she wanted to make a modest contribution nonetheless). It registered as ‘unsuccessful’, because even though the campaign attracted £425 in official pledges through this site, it fell 86% short of the ‘all or nothing’ minimum goal when the campaign closed.
I’d still call the campaign a success! Though I’ll admit, when the crowdfunder closed so short of its target, I felt like a ‘failure’ (not to mention ‘nervous wreck’ in the days leading up to its deadline), but I bounced back when I put things into proper perspective, and got on with feeling lucky again: for someone in my circumstances, a zero-percent no-strings loan is certainly safer and more affordable than a 9.9% APR ‘PCDL’ from one of the two UK banks that provide them! It was pretty wonderful!
I learned a few things from last year’s campaign experience:
- what NOT to write (far too much information, sheer volume of text, anecdotes and jokes that fell flat, slightly maudlin tone?)
- what NOT to offer as rewards for sponsorship (a little too edgy, not commercially friendly enough, maybe just plain crap?)
- NOT to leave it until a week or two into the start of the course, in a desperate attempt to save my ‘already-deferred-once/can’t-defer-again’ place on the course, and joining my fellow students within moments of the ‘late enrolment’ expiration date!
And, you know, I might very well be about to make many of those faux pas and blunders again.
But before I do, a few words from Samual Beckett:
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
Where will the money go?
I’m looking to raise the absolute minimum required for me to keep going with the course.
If I reach my Target: £3500 – finish MA Degree
Tuition fees from October 2015 through to September 2016, when I hope to earn that piece of paper and throw my mortar board up in the air with the rest of my cohort.
If I reach the Minimum: £1820 – early exit from course with ‘PG Dip’
It would buy me enough time to attend from October 2015 and be able to walk away at the end of May/beginning of June 2016, with a Postgraduate Diploma.
(This is obviously preferable to dropping out this summer, but not as desireable as getting the chance to finish the whole course of study)
Juggling the coursework and childcare is a challenge for a single parent on a low/patchy income, but, though it’s been a struggle, the finish line’s in sight and I don’t want to give up yet. I could drop out now and be awarded the PG Cert (Postgraduate Certificate), but I’ve already got one of those from UEL (University of East London) – same subject, too. There’s not much point to that struggling if I’m not going to do my damnedest to perservere towards the MA.
I’m seeking straightforward sponsorship (in exchange for goods ‘n’ gratitude) or a series of ‘peer to peer’ low-to-no interest lending arrangements (that’s privately, as this site doesn’t cater for loans) where the rewards for peer-lenders range from: a philanthropically warm fuzzy feeling knowing you helped someone inch towards achieving a dream, to a 0.5%-3% financial return over the course of 24 months (starting one month after graduation, as per the PCDL) + the warm fuzzy feeling as above, because, with a low-to-no interest loan, you may still be committing usury, but you’re not exactly a loan shark, or a banker, are you? You’re an anarcho-capitalist! Hip Hip Hoorah!
The boring facts are:
- the scholarships I applied to when I was first offered a place on the course don’t apply to part-time students anymore.
- The new scholarships and grants for next academic year are also for full time study only,
- or apply only to new students,
- or students progressing directly from a BA,
- or for students under 25…etc.
- Then there’s the PCDL (Professional and Career Development Loan) – I don’t qualify according to small print,
- and this in turn potentially disqualifies me from the ‘Access to Learning Fund’ (replaces the old fashioned ‘Hardship Funds’).
I’m continually looking into alternative funding options:
- there may still be a Uni fund set aside to help students struggling financially in their final year,
- there may be charities out there with small pots of money and I might happen to meet their application criteria,
thus potentially building up a portfolio of support from many disparate sources –
- haven’t found anything yet, still looking… If you hear of anything, do please let me know!
Rest assured: should any scholarships/grants/sponsorships/commissions/loans of any significance magically materialise outside the parameters of this campaign, I will share that information to the updates section.
In my previous campaign I listed art-related stuff I was doing or was about to do.
Here is the list for “wot I did in my first year at Chelsea, innit” and what I’m committed to doing in the summer leading up to my second part-time year:
- MERZ BARN, with AltMFA & MilesKM, at Kurt Schwitters’ site in the Lake District, Cumbria
- OFFICE SESSIONS IV curated by Caitlin Mavroleon, 40 Beak Street, Soho, London
Advisory Board Member/Panel Judge:
- GUEST PROJECTS, Shonibare Studios, London: as part of a small team (including some AltMFA members and other past participants of Guest Projects), reading 50+ proposals, and honing them down to 4 solid contributions to the 2016 programme of 12 x 1 month-long artist-group residencies to take place in the studio of YBA-generation artist Yinka Shonibare, MBE, RA and, as it happens, a fellow UAL Byam Shaw alumnus.
Group Shows (cont’d)
- CHELSEA SALON Penarth Studios London – video and sculpture installation
- P is for PROCESS (MA FA PT1 Interim Show) Chelsea College of Art London
- 10×10 DRAWING LONDON Article 25 at The Shard London – art auction in aid of Article 25’s vital & inspired worldwide humanitarian architectural charity projects
Performance-based group Project:
- ALTMFA FEED Art Licks Weekend – an Arts Council England and Ideas Tap funded peripatetic performance art tour, curated remotely from Hong Kong via Skype, by George Major, meandering from Bermondsey Tube to the Angel Pub via back streets leading to Bermondsey Beach – performed a new piece ‘Beach Blanket Barbie Bullsh*t’ in the pouring rain
- DEPTFORD X Contemporary Visual Arts Festival Creekside Discovery Centre Deptford – showing concrete tower repurposed as bug hotel
- DEPTFORD X Deptford Market – singing in artist/lecturer Janette Parris and the Fallen Arches ‘Market Musical’
- PLAYFUL MENACE dance and sculpture r&d for AltMFA Jamboree at Guest Projects, Shonibare Studios, London Fields
- ALTMFA & FRIENDS INTERNATIONAL JAMBORREE Guest Projects, Shonibare Studios, London Fields – a month of peer- and guest led collaborative alternative art education, workshops, conferences, symposia, conversations, projects, exhibitions, crits, happenings, events, and more, all free and open to the public.
Group Shows (cont’d)
- BP CENTENNIAL COLLECTION Exhibition of Commissioned Works-In-Progress, BP International HQ, Surrey
- OFFICE PARTY curated by Caitlin Mavroleon and Adam Zoltowski for the Office Sessions III, Anchorage House, East India Dock, London
- LOVE KILLS written & directed by Cradeaux Alexander (RCA PhD candidate), based on Fassbinder’s ‘The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant’, at The Rag Factory, off Brick Lane, East London – title role
Group Shows (cont’d)
- TANGENT Triangle and Cookhouse, Chelsea College of Art, London
I would like to point out that I have not been paid for taking part in any of these (bar the ArtLicks tour, thanks to Arts Council England funding to AltMFA for that event), but the experience of taking part in each of these has been enriching and very rewarding in other ways, even if a ‘loss’ in pure financial terms.
I’d rather be paid of course as we all need to sustain a living, pay our way and give back to the society we’re a part of, so at some point, when my studies are through, I hope to work in the Arts Sector (with my University, a gallery, museum, assisting another artist, teaching in a school, as a private tutor, or a mixture of all of the above) if the art-making doesn’t pay enough in and of itself. Supplementing income doing other things is how artists have always got by. I have accrued a plentitude of transferrable skills and experience over the course of my life, and the degree will (one hopes) help with the aim of moving into that more specialised sector.
In the here and now, there’s a commission I’m working on – I’ve yet to get paid for it, but I trust the client is ‘good for the money’, just as they’ve trusted I’m ‘good for the art’ (a pair of bronze figurines on ornate bases for permanent display in a ship’s Officers’ Bar) – the one-off bit of income will be most helpful.
(I would also like to point out, facetiously, if I may, that a recent online algorithimic valuation of my full CV predicts an annual earning potential of over £80K. The actual Market may have something else to say about that, and to be honest, I’d be pretty content with half, or a third, of that for the moment!)
My artist website: eldidundee.co.uk
Have a look at my cv there, some of my art work, and news of projects I’m involved with.
Tweet me and Follow me @CaptainViolet
Poke me and Like me on facebook
Watch some videos I’ve made. (in the process of making more)
Help ME succeed!
You don’t need to give money to help me succeed in reaching the goal! Please feel free to share this with anyone you think would support it – via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email, phone, Skype, a good old-fashioned chat over tea/coffee/beer/wine/smoothie/wheatgrass/whatever…
With big thanks (and lots of respect for reading this all the way to the end!)