In a recent survey conducted on the impact of Covid-19 on the cultural and creative industries, 94% of respondents reported having lost work that was scheduled for this year (South African Cultural Observatory). Now, poets once again have the opportunity to make up for some lost income by applying to the only relief fund in the country aimed specifically at poets.
While many programmes have been instituted to assist the arts sector, the poetry community is often left underserved. Hear My Voice, a non-profit organisation which focuses on developing and supporting spoken word artists, will re-open applications to their Poetry Relief Fund web-series which started in April with only enough funds to assist just 15 poets. Now two months later, the fund has already provided relief to 45 poets from around the country and is re-opening applications to assist a further 35 artists.
Cultural and Creative industries across the world have been some of the hardest hit as a result of nation-wide lockdowns’ and social distancing measures – prohibiting live performances and events.
“Thousands of creative practitioners are currently sitting without the ability to earn an income and poets are often left out of funding opportunities. We wanted to find a simple, yet effective, way to help the sector. Something that kept both poets and poetry lovers in mind” – says Ishmael Sibiya, Executive Director at Hear My Voice.
The Poetry Relief Fund web-series pays poets a small honorarium of R1500 per online-event, and hosts live-streamed poetry shows with up to five poets per episode. The initial season included poets from eight provinces, with only North West remaining unrepresented. Poets from this region are encouraged to apply, as the next round of open-calls aims to target provinces and languages that were under-represented in previous episodes.
With the help of Poetry Potion, The Market Theatre – The Windybrow Arts Centre, Poetry Africa, the Department of Sports, Arts & Culture, and a host of individual private donors, the relief programme will re-open for applications on Monday, 22 June 2020. Interested persons will be able to submit applications up until 12 July 2020, via the Hear My Voice website. This will be the final season of the Poetry Relief Fund web-series and so poets are encouraged to apply early.
Apply Here: https://forms.gle/TnWDCtEaVzMEgoUXA
Hear My Voice is committed to building this sector and growing the poetry community in South Africa. Should anyone wish to donate to the work of this organisation, they can do so by using PayFast, PayPal or donating directly to the Hear My Voice bank account.
Further details on the Relief fund can be accessed here: http://tiny.cc/poetry-relief-fund.