Press Releases

Genesis Foundation launches new £1 million kickstart fund for UK freelancers

14 October 2020

Fund will be steered by a panel of distinguished cultural leaders. It will create future-facing projects for outstanding freelance talent in the creative sector around the UK 

The Genesis Foundation, chaired by John Studzinski, announces a new £1mn Kickstart Fund to support freelancers in the creative sector.

The fund will be rolled out in 2021, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Foundation. It is designed to enable outstanding freelance artists to stay on their career paths and explore new possibilities in a world radically altered by Covid-19. The Genesis Kickstart Fund follows the Genesis Covid-19 Artists Fund, launched in July, to provide £100,000 of emergency funding to freelance artists associated with its programmes with the Almeida Theatre, National Theatre, Young Vic, LAMDA and The Sixteen.

The Genesis Kickstart Fund will generate structured, project-based work opportunities for a diversity of freelance creative professionals. They will earn an income as they participate in future-facing projects while continuing to build their careers and professional networks. The first projects are expected to go live in mid-2021.

A group of eminent cultural leaders will sit on a panel to commission the projects. This includes Rupert Goold (Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre), Kwame Kwei-Armah, (Artistic Director of the Young Vic) and Marie-Sophie Willis (Chief Executive of The Sixteen). Other panellists will be confirmed in due course.

John Studzinski CBE, Founder and Chairman of the Genesis Foundation, said: COVID-19 has changed the world for all of us. At this crucial juncture we cannot afford to risk losing a whole generation of outstanding creative talent through lack of opportunity. The pandemic has been especially challenging for freelancers in the arts and creative sector. The Genesis Foundation’s Kickstart Fund will bring vital new opportunities for creative professionals through exciting projects run in collaboration with respected arts organisations. As we approach our 20th anniversary, we continue our long-term strategy of affirming human dignity through the arts, one person at a time.”

Rupert Goold, Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre, said:
The new Kickstart Fund typifies a spirit of solidarity and community across the cultural sector, and offers another example of where the Genesis Foundation is leading the waySo many artists, at all levels, are experiencing a real crisis right now and are even giving genuine consideration to leaving the industry. This new fund will get financial support to those artists in need and I am honoured to be joining the commissioning panel.” ​

Marie-Sophie Willis, CEO of The Sixteen, said:

“This new fund will allow organisations to take that leap of faith and undertake new projects that may help set them on a path to financial security. It will also provide invaluable creative work opportunities for the freelance artists they work with, in what has become a barren and desolate landscape. We wholeheartedly applaud John Studzinski and the Genesis Foundation for this exceptional endeavour which will prove to be a lifeline for so many in the arts community. Once again John’s vision sets yet another gold standard.”