Creative Grant Assessment


All Creative Grant applications are received by the coordinator of the Art Portfolio, who runs through the submissions to check that all the required information is there.

In 2017, we opened up the assessment process to those applying for grants as well as
previous grant applicants. This was hugely successfully and so, we’re doing it again.
Once all the applications are in and the info has been compiled and distributed, the Creative Grant assessment process proceeds.

Applications are assessed on their individual merit anonymously at first, and then also
assessed against the other submissions with a simple scoring system.

1) Applications are presented anonymously – exactly as the applicants wrote them up so
your project can be assessed purely on the strength of the idea and the thoroughness of the

2) Fellow grant applicants, members of ArtCom (the art committee) allocate points to your
project on their individual assessment sheet. Grant applicants may not evaluate their own
projects. We allow one assessment per project, so if grant applicants have more than one
representative, they do one assessment sheet together.

Assessment criteria may vary from time to time and in different categories, at ArtCom’s
discretion, but there are 4 common criteria that remain consistent. We also make provision for bonus points in case there is an element of your proposal that does not fit any of the assessment criteria but is noteworthy.

There are lots of things to consider for assessing grant projects, clustered around 4 main
themes. Don’t get into analysis paralysis – any or all of these considerations are valid.
Different elements of different artworks might be strong in one area and not so much in
another, some might be off the charts in all of them.

It’s important to remember that art at AfrikaBurn is not art in the classic sense, rather these projects are solidified representations of communal effort, radical expression and all the other good stuff. It’s not just about what they look like, it’s also about what they do.

1st Phase


● Do I/we like it?
● Is it innovative?
● Experimental?
● Does it challenge barriers?
● Does it have a statement?
● Does it feel culturally significant?
● Is it plainly: funny, clever, beautiful, whimsical, interactive, new to Tankwa Town?


● What impact will it have on the AfrikaBurn gathering and the cultural landscape
(beyond AB) in general?
● What level of engagement/ interactivity does it invite?
● Is there a low barrier to participation?…i.e. parades, easy access for interaction and
participation? Does it invite participation?
● How many people will it reach in its making of the project? Ie many people working
on it.


● Will the project create new opportunities in its making or its inventing?
● Does it reach out?
● Is there a broader social contribution?
● Does the project leave anything behind? Infrastructure? Skills development?
● Can it be repurposed?
● Will it have a life after Tankwa Town?
● will it generate new genres, audiences, debate?
● Does the project use waste materials to make the work?
● Is the method of putting it together inclusive and experimental?

2nd​ ​Phase

4. CHANCES​ ​OF​ ​SUCCESS:​ ​(now​ ​is​ ​when​ ​the​ ​identity​ ​ ​and​ ​background​ ​of​ ​the​ ​applicant/s
is​ ​revealed)

● Likelihood of delivery?
● Is the project achievable?
● Are the skills necessary to make the project happen available?
● Timelines to achieve the aims of the project?
● Is there sufficient organizational capacity?
● What is the delivery track record at AfrikaBurn and other events.
● Is it worth the risk to be able to develop new creative crews
● Are there references and do they check out?

Here we look at track records at AfrikaBurn as well as/ or as alternative projects elsewhere in the world: at other events/burn events/ i.e. does the applicant have a track record of
successful projects not necessarily at an event? If none of these exist we also look at the
array of skills that are present in their default world activities (which we can see from the
brief bio supplied in the application form). So for example if you are an architect and an
engineer, set builder in the default world, it is likely that you know how to construct large

3) Scores are tallied and collated. This is the project’s overall score.

4) The high-scoring projects are identified and short-listed. Identifying the cut-off score is fairly intuitive – a natural point tends to emerge.

5) The group discusses all the projects in depth, and certain projects may be moved on to
the short-list from a curatorial perspective, regardless of a lower number score.
This part is time-consuming, but very engaging. Notes are made around each project and
compiled into feedback mails.

6) The cost breakdowns of the short-listed projects are assessed rigorously, and funds are
provisionally allocated.

7) At this point it may become necessary to reduce the number of projects that get an award, or to reduce the amount awarded to each project.

8) Once the awards have been determined, all applicants are contacted with the results of
their application and any feedback there may be from the members of the Art Committee.
We approach applications that have not been successful in receiving a Creative Grant with a how can we still enable this project. Much correspondence is entered into and many projects still happen despite not financial reward from the Creative Grant pot.

9) At this stage any persons (including ArtCom members) that have applied for a creative
grant are excluded from the allocation of funds phase.

The​ ​Creative​ ​Grant​ ​Team​ ​is​ ​made​ ​up​ ​of​ ​members​ ​of​ ​ArtCom:

Bradley Baard (Member and artist)
Chris Denovan (Artist)
Devin Isaacs (Member and F.A.S.T. coordinator)
Isa Marques (Member, Creative coordinator, Arteria Coordinator and Artist)
Lorraine Tanner (Member, Outreach and Creative Development Support)
Monique Schiess (Founder, Member, Creative Director, Liaison, Burning Man regional
Paul Grose (Member, ex DPW Lead and Arts Handyman)
Robert Weinek (Founder Member and Director, DMV and Outreach Lead)
Samantha Bendzulla (Member and Managing Director)

Other​ ​Members​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Art​ ​Committee​ (besides the Creative Grant Team) are:
Jano January (Member and Artist)
Karen Stewart (Artist, Designer, Facilitator)
Nix Davies (Artist)
Roger van Wyk (Member and Curator)
Sandile Radebe (Artist and Curator)
Verity Maud (Member, Burning Man Regional and Artist)
Werner Strauss (Member and Artist)

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