September 13, 2011

The Art of Grant Writing and Putting Ideas & Conviction on Paper

Recently I was selected as a Finalist to POYi Emerging Vision Incentive and Reminders Project Asian Photographers Grant on my project Against All Odds documenting HIV/AIDS epidemic in Papua.  I am truly honored to receive this recognition.  However, to be honest this wouldn't have been possible if I didn't force myself to re-learn the process of writing and putting down my thoughts effectively and coherently on paper. 

I admit I've been so focused with improving my photography skills that I've neglected my writing. As a result, this was a challenging task and I struggled from the start until the very end. It took me almost 6 hours to write the first page and countless drafts to complete my proposal. 

The art of writing is truly a craft that a photographer must possess. Some practical reasons are to apply to grants, fellowships, provide background story to projects, etc. But having the ability to put down ideas and reasoning on paper to explain our intentions is an inward process that solidifies our conviction and focus and the end product serves as a measurement of accountability and achievement.

Using the good old internet, I found proposals written by various grant winners.  I dissected their techniques and argument in explaining their project, on how they present their ideas, identify their goals, and illustrate the importance of their aim and their conviction.

I came up with this rough outline that I used as a guide to write my proposal.  I had numerous drafts which I emailed to several people to look over and help edit for spelling and grammar.  And even now I am still not 100 percent happy with the final product and I keep making additional improvements until I know that it's done.

*note I am now using this guide before starting any project

Artist statement/proposal:
-Identify the problem or issue
-What is the purpose of the project? What are you attempting to accomplish?
- Who are involved directly and indirectly? Individuals? Organizations? Government? People in power?
-What are the causes
-What are the consequences
-Why does it matter
-What have been done in the past to remedy the problem and explain its shorcomings.

-What are your intentions?
-What is your approach?
-What are your specific plans to carry out your goals?
-How will you utilize them? Using what tools or resources and who will be involved
-Explain why you chose to take those steps?
-If you’ve already taken previous actions, what else are you planning to do further?
-What will your images convey?

-What are your previous relevant accomplishments?
-How are you qualified to undertake this project? Why you?
-Provide resources, contacts, and access you’ve gained to complete it.
-Provide Logistics, such as where the project will be conducted and approximate timeline. 

-Explain why you need this grant
-Explain why you choose to do this project and its significance

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