Voices from the Field: Performing Arts

Re-imagining the Role of the Funder in a Time of Austerity in India

Report on IFA’s New Performance Programme 
Performing Arts - Dance, Music, Theatre, Performance Art 
August 2013

by Ramon Moraes Sales Moura

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This report has been produced at the request of the leadership of India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) in Bangalore, India, to coincide with the review of its New Performance (NP) programme which is nearly eight years old. The goal of this project is to assess some of the challenges, needs, perceptions and expectations of performing artists in relation to funders (financial sponsors) and the funding process, and to assess their perceptions of IFA in particular. The methodology used was of primary research, allowing the researcher to source direct input, feedback and insights from the artists themselves, based on a common set of open-ended questions, distributed to a number of performing artists from different regions and backgrounds across the country. In Bangalore (IFA headquarters), qualitative, face-to-face interviews were conducted that captured the context of participant responses. These provided an opportunity for follow-up questions based on responses received from artists, which helped in clarification, further exploration, etc. For those outside Bangalore who could be contacted and were willing to participate, a ten-item questionnaire was distributed and responses synthesised. Ultimately, only a subset of the artists targeted for the survey was reached, and yet some clear and common themes emerged across respondents. The initial findings of the study are reported here, along with some direct quotations from the survey-and-interview process. (Note: To respect the confidentiality of interviewees we have not mentioned their names.) The analysis provided here includes a list of new ways in which IFA could add significant value to its existing financial support of performing artists. Early findings indicate that further research and direct, open engagement with performing artists could be a valuable exercise, both to better understand the momentum and direction of the performing arts field as also to advance IFA‘s relationship with this unique community of artists, as it seeks to become a more impactful and innovative organisation than its counterparts in the field of funding.

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