On 8 March 2021, Minister Edwin Tong announced a new $20m enhancement to the Arts and Culture Resilience Package (ACRP) to enable continued support for arts groups and artists, as live performances and other cultural activities gradually resume, bringing the total Covid-19 support for arts and culture sector to $75m. Two new grants were introduced as part of the enhanced ACRP: Self-Employed Person Grant (SEPG) for arts and culture freelancers and the Organisation Transformation Grant (OTG).
In 2021, relevant arts and culture stakeholders were engaged for their views to scope both the SEPG and the OTG to ensure that the grants meet the needs of the sector.
Two engagement sessions were conducted for the SEPG and a summary of the key topics can be found here.
On the other hand, six engagement sessions involving more than 100 stakeholders in the arts sector including arts companies and cultural institutions were held for the OTG. The discussions covered the following key areas:
Evolving COVID-19 Situation and Digitalisation – Challenges and Opportunities
Participants shared that there were both challenges and opportunities amidst the COVID-19 situation. Aside from the costs incurred to digitalise programmes and the need to adapt to evolving situations, arts organisations highlighted challenges such as
competition with other online content, as well as the need for better protection of intellectual property rights and their digital works. On the other hand, participants also pointed out opportunities that arose from the pandemic – arts organisations
were able to tap on the previous Digital Presentation Grant (DPG) to quickly digitalise, and others were able to extend collaborations and their programmes to a regional and international audience. Furthermore, participants reflected that the past
year has highlighted the importance of re-thinking their modes of work, and some shared on how they have begun their own organisation’s transformation in different ways.
Participants’ Feedback on Grant Design
Given that the OTG is a time-limited scheme with projects ending in March 2022, participants highlighted the need for flexibility to determine outcomes at the end of the funding period. It was also suggested that projects supported by the OTG could be an opportunity for companies to experiment and pilot ideas to jumpstart transformation efforts. Participants also shared feedback that manpower needs should be supported under the OTG, particularly for manpower costs contributing to the transformation efforts undertaken as part of their OTG projects. Other areas of grant design, such as co-funding requirements and grant caps, were also discussed during the sessions.
Resources Required to Support Transformation
Arts organisations shared on the need for existing staff and arts workers across the industry to be upskilled in the different aspects of transformation, and appreciated having better support (e.g., through consultants/ technical experts/ partners) come
in to work with the arts industry. In discussing the different types of transformation projects that were possible for OTG, participants shared a common desire to collaborate with partners from both within and beyond the arts sector. Participants
also hoped for more opportunities to network with each other, and with companies from other sectors to leverage expertise and knowledge to take their own transformation efforts forward. There were several suggestions on how arts organisations could
work together to develop solutions that would benefit the wider arts sector.