Last night, Room Project hosted a panel discussion for women in media. The topic was money and how to secure funding for journalism projects. The panelists spoke about their work and the ways they’ve made journalism a financially viable career.
During the Q and A, the conversation expanded to include funding creative projects as well. Attendees shared the challenges they’re facing in their work and the panelists were sensitive and skillful in the way they met each question being asked.
One woman talked about not being sure how to define her niche as a photographer. Angela Folasade shared her need for more funding in order to participate in a writing residency overseas. (Her name links to a GoFundMe campaign if you’d like to learn more about what she has planned.)
Attendees and panelists alike offered support and suggestions. Martina Guzmán spoke about the importance of receiving coaching in the project funding process and offered to cut a check to show her support for Angela’s writing residency.
Courtney Hurtt talked about the value in doing as much of a project as possible before outside funding is absolutely necessary. Not only does this show potential funders that you’re committed to the project, it also allows you to get started.
Behind the scenes, I was taking photos and serving drinks. While pouring wine, I started talking to Erin Pineda. Erin and her husband are starting a bookstore in Detroit. I mentioned my podcast project and Erin offered me the use of her husband’s professional quality sound equipment.
Then Angela and I spoke and I offered to sit down with her to discuss how she can meet her funding goal. She has a month to reach it and I have some ideas.
Later, while cleaning up, Christin Lee and I talked about the email I’d sent her pitching my podcast as well as my offer to support someone in creating a Room Project specific podcast. The idea behind the second one is that funding bodies will have direct access to the stories of our community members and the impact the space is having on their creative practices.
Christin’s follow up question to what I proposed perfectly captures the zeitgeist of the evening and Room Project as a community. She asked, “How can I support you?”
We talked some more about what that might look like. Sharing my project ideas with other Room Project mentors; giving me space to speak at our next member’s meeting; keeping the calendar up to date so that I wouldn’t be recording in the space while something else was going on.
All of this micro-support—and macro-support—will make the heavy lifting I’ll be doing to get these projects off the ground much easier. At the absolute smallest level, just having someone listen and care about my idea was enough for me to see it as something possible.
So, what micro-support can you offer or ask for?