Proposal Writing:
Carving Out Space and Making Projects Happen

    Total Duration: 120 Minutes
   Administrator: Kathryn Shriver

Technical and Material Requirements: Projector and screen for slide presentation (no audio), tables and seating for participants, printed worksheets and surveys.

This workshop is designed with the purpose of giving students comprehensive guidance and tips for how to write a project proposal, funding applications, and respond to calls for submissions. Though the workshop presentation will cover information about writing grant applications and general project proposals, the workshop activity will be geared towards writing an exhibition or short-term project proposal for artists and creatives. Unfortunately, business proposals will not be covered. Platforms and organizations that host open calls for proposals and funding opportunities will be shared, as well as strategies for approaching potential hosts, collaborators, participants, or sponsors with a project. The benefits of being an active proposal writer for the success and growth of a career or practice will be highlighted.

Descriptive Overview:
The workshop will open with an informational presentation that will outline the different components that typically make up a proposal or application, and a breakdown of what information should be included in each. This will include how to understand and respond to specific terms and vocabulary commonly found in applications and calls for proposals. Tips on writing tone, documentation, finding and evaluating appropriate applications and calls, and dealing with rejections will be covered. The second half of the workshop will focus on the activity, during which the participants will be asked to (in groups or individually) to formulate ideas for a proposed exhibition or project guided by a worksheet. A list of hypothetical project ideas will be provided for those who do not already have a project in mind. The workshop administer will visit each group in the course of working and provide working feedback and guidance, and answer any questions. In the closing discussion, each group will be asked to share an overview of their project, how they addressed some of the required information, and any struggles they encountered. Each participant will be invited to submit a completed project proposal to de-contemporary at a specified date for thorough, project-specific feedback, (Please see *OPTIONAL PRACTICUM  addendum below). To close, each participant will be asked to fill out a short feedback survey.

*Optional Practicum
As an optional addition to this workshop, a follow-up Practicum to take place following the de-contemporary programming. The goal of this practicum is to select one successful proposal from those submit by the workshop participants to be realized with the help and guidance of the Workshop Administrator. The successful proposal will be selected by a small panel assembled by de-contemporary in consultation with the appropriate members, faculty, or staff of the host group or institution to ensure that the chosen project is compatible with the capacities, interests, and expectations of the hosts.

Outline of Activities:

1. Overview of activities (5 minutes)
2. Presentation and follow-up questions (45 minutes)
3. Activity (45 Minutes)
4. Set up and Questions (5 minutes)
5. Work time and feedback (40 minutes)
6. Sharing and closing conversation (15 minutes)
7. Feedback survey (10 minutes)

Presentation Outline:
1. Overview of information and workshop objectives
2. What are project proposals?
3. Common components of applications 
4. Important vocabulary, terms explained
5. Evaluating which opportunities and organizations are right for your project
6. Fighting discouragement: The one in ten rule, and dealing with rejection
7. Resources for finding opportunities (ex:,, regional and discipline-specific resources)Questions

Kathryn Shriver
Kathryn Shriver is a painter and fiber artist from Alden, NY currently living and working in Montreal, QC. She has an MFA in Painting and Drawing from Concordia University (Montreal) and a BA in Studio Arts from Wells College (Aurora, NY). Shriver’s work focuses on examining the ways in which Craft and Art are separated as well as intertwined theoretically, materially, and historically.