We want to bring your attention to four changes we made to the MAP Fund selection process this year in an effort to more fairly and thoroughly assess the high volume of applications we received (a summary of information about the 911 applications is available here).
- The first change was to more actively promote MAP’s longstanding practice of inviting artists and arts leaders to nominate reviewers (individuals working in a range of roles and geographies in the national live performance sector). This resulted in 80 nominations, which introduced MAP staff to a wider pool from which to recruit, and a clearer sense of who artists consider qualified to assess their work. We value an artist’s right to self-determine such qualifications to the greatest extent possible within a highly competitive grant program.
- The second change was to increase the overall number of reviewers scoring each application (up from 3 to 5), so as to ensure a meaningful variety of perspectives on any given project. To this same end, we increased the number of applications each reviewer scored (up from 50 to 100 each) so that reviewers had a better sense of the overall pool, rather than only a small slice.
- The third change was to require reviewers to participate in an online, facilitated Slack channel to dialogue with each other throughout their five weeks of work, so that no one was scoring projects in complete isolation. The dialogue brought about a rich, nuanced conversation as to the meaning and value of MAP’s goals, and the challenge of applying those goals to such a wide variety of work. Reviewers also joined a formal feedback session to provide MAP staff with actionable improvements for the 2018 grant cycle. We believe that the more voices and perspectives we gather in the selection process, the more equitable our distribution of grant dollars will be.
- The fourth change, which was accommodated by the increased thoroughness of reviews in Round One as described above, was moving fewer applicants on to Round Two for panel assessment. (In prior years approximately 50% of the pool would move onto panel, whereas this year it was 18%.) This means that the work involved for applicants in submitting the full proposal is balanced by an increased likelihood of receiving the grant. And that our panelists will be able to more deeply engage with each proposal, resulting in the most equitable possible outcome.
MAP’s process aims to be as responsive to the shifting needs of the live performance field as possible. To that end, we welcome ongoing feedback and dialogue. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with comments and suggestions.