Supreract Future DiverCities

ON THE BLOG: Superact’s Ali Smith on leading a Cooperation Project

Ali Smith is the Chief Executive of Superact, a community arts organisation that is leading Large Cooperation Project Future DiverCities, awarded €2 million by Creative Europe. She provides insights on the project, the importance of the Creative Europe programme and offers some words of advice for future applicants.

Tell us a bit about Future DiverCities 

"Future DiverCities aims to create a new ecosystem for independent and emerging artists working in music, digital art and urban street art. It will develop new business models to help artists form sustainable, holistic careers.

"It will train artists in how to engage audiences that would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience their work – be that migrant communities, older people or those in secure institutions." 

"Future DiverCities will deliver on various levels: 

  • The co-creation of boundary pushing works showcased during major festivals and national events.
  • The launch of a new platform, which will see greater monetisation of the works and performances for artists. This platform will gain its revenue from the sale of licences to publically funded bodies and the private sector, giving the public, students and employees the opportunity to experience the works of emerging and independent artists
  • Through industry conferences, the effect that emerging artists can have in an urban context will be explored. We will look at how these art forms can break down social barriers and build strong, diverse communities.

"Future DiverCities will work to explore ways of widening the artists’ audiences through qualitative research, which will feed into the algorithms behind the platform, enabling the listener to experience new works. It will train artists in how to engage audiences that would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience their work – be that migrant communities, older people or those in secure institutions."

How did you go about getting partners?

"Once the basic project concept was designed we sought partners with like minds: those also wanting to create change for the better." 

What made your application successful?  

"Passion and commitment made our application successful! The partners developed this project over two years. We met four times face to face and had numerous Skype meetings to ensure the best results.

"Contact successful projects and ask them loads of questions!"

"The feedback we got was very positive. The European Commission was extremely excited about the opportunity that this project offers – providing a holistic approach rather than concentrating on just one element. 

"Creative Europe Desk UK was helpful, providing face to face meetings, day workshops and telephone conversations. The desk answered questions as the project development progressed." 

What impact has Creative Europe support made on your project? 

"It is simple: the funding has enabled it to happen. Without Creative Europe, the partnership would not have come together and the project would not exist."

Any surprises?

"The support and commitment from not only Creative Europe Desk UK but the European Commission in Brussels and all the Desks in partner countries came as a pleasant surprise. 

"Without Creative Europe, the partnership would not have come together and the project would not exist."

"As did the crossover between successful projects – and the opportunities that this offers to widen the reach of best practice from all projects. 

"The possibilities that opened up of working with like-minded people to create a whole new and holistic way of working." 

Why do you think Creative Europe is important?

"Creative Europe has the ability to influence many countries and make a difference to society. It also can act on behalf of the whole EU to work with the wider international market."

What advice would you give to potential applicants of Creative Europe? 

1. Don’t rush the application. Meet several times face to face. You’ll have to work together for the next few years, so it’s important you get on.
2. Talk about the budget in detail. Ensure you are all thinking about the same outputs.
3. Contact successful projects and ask them loads of questions!

Image: Future DiverCities project leads (c) Jasper Jones