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Aidan Moesby reflects on the 'Dear John' letter. It doesn't get any easier to hear! / 17 January 2011

I don’t know about you but I quite like having a bit of autonomy when it comes to my own life. Not that I’m a control freak or anything – far from it. I like the fact that the world just happens and presents a variety of experiences for me to respond to at times. I see my new psychiatrist tomorrow. Now this is a case in point – my previous psych. was nu-skool "I am the expert in my own condition" – we make decisions together, I have a degree of autonomy in the things that affect my life. Great!

Where am I going with all this. Well tomorrow I will say to my new psych. that I take rejections personally. That they have a profound affect upon my mental health. The method of rejection also has an effect. The rub is this. As an artist you are constantly putting yourself on the line, constantly putting yourself in the ‘Palinesque’ sights of rejection. Constantly applying and proposing.

In fact at times, applying and proposing – be it for commissions, workshops, funding or even benefits – can be a full time job. Unless you are very fortunate, rejection is all part and parcel of being an artist. He may suggest medication, he may tell me to \'Deal with it\' or \'do something different\'. I’m still trying to deal with it – maybe some CBT will help.

I remember back in the good old days when people used to write proper letters to each other. In the case of applications you got a letter back. You could pretty much tell if it was an offer or interview or rejection. (I remember returning to love letters, I remember too the Dear John – at least they thought enough to write. The modern world is so throw away and often devoid of true meaning – dumped by text – callous!) You had some time to compose yourself before opening. These days it’s a line in the from-subject box and a two or three line standard reply of rejection. This is invariably followed by something about there being too many applicants to provide any feedback.

Like many of you out there, I proposed an idea to the Unlimited strand of the Cultural Olympiad. Like many I was disappointed. They suggested we apply for a GFA from the Arts Council. I like to think, and rather naively I am learning the hard way, that the disability and the disability arts world is somehow softer and more considerate to those within it because it sure is a brutal world out there in the wider diaspora. So other than the fact that I don’t even know who sits on the Unlimited panel, I am finding it near impossible to discover this. And I like to think I have good research and internet skills. That hardly constitutes feedback, nor is it particularly helpful.

So as I compose another GFA, I am left wondering who got the money, was it new work or reworked, was it money for old rope, jobs for the boys and girls, a larger Tsunami of cash heading South? I hold onto my idealism of inclusion not cliques, meritocracy not favours, transparency not dodgy deals in the smoky back rooms. Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

You can see more of my work at


Keywords: visual arts,



26 January 2011

Would you believe I've just found details of a funding application workshop in South Australia -

Colin Hambrook

25 January 2011

Damn! I was in the middle of posting a reply when I lost connection. How many times does that happen? You're idea of 'Waiting' as a residency reminded me of Bobby Baker's diary drawings of her time in hospital after being sectionned. She thought she would be in hospital for a week or so and set herself the task of making a drawing a day. Several months down the line she had an impressive record of the journey she had taken. Pauline Alexander did something similar with the series of faces she drew during a legal battle she undertook to fight the discriminatory practice of a job agency she had applied to.

Re the struggle to fill in applications, I remember Full Circle Arts rolling out a programme giving help in filling in funding applications. Is it is support that arcadea might be able to provide?


20 January 2011

Feedback is incredibly important. Constructive criticism is essential I feel - it enable informed reflection and can help with where to go next, how to tweek applications. The difficulty is - is that evry proposal is different and bespoke - you can't just roll out the same old stuff each time. On a different note the Psych was mostly nu skool - CBT is the new mantra - maybe i can get a proposal accepted within the 9 month waiting list for psych services. Maybe i could get funding for that as a 9 month residency - 'Waiting'


19 January 2011

I tend to assume the worst always - so when the Dear John letter comes through the door it's not such a disappointment. But taking that approach means that I often don't apply for things that I have the experience and should apply for! So as a strategy it's not one I would necessarily recommend.

Finding someone to talk applications through with is immensely important. And following that up with getting feedback from the applications panel and talking that through can help the learning process. How did it go with the psych Aidan? Was that help or hindrance?

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