I attended the Arts Council England (ACE) Grants for the Arts Funding Seminar at Salisbury on 13th November. Led by Paul Goddard of the South West Region it gave a fascinating insight into the way applications are processed and assessed.
One of his main points was that there is no hidden agenda, all of the criteria that they work by are available either in the application pack or as information sheets downloadable from the website, these information sheets are well worth looking at if you are considering applying for funding.
It is also worth reading carefully who is not eligible, for instance as a textile student I am not eligible for funding for anything to do with my textiles course including an exhibition of my work. Touring overseas is also a problem as their main priority is to benefit people living in England.
Getting in touch with your local officers was advised as they like to have an idea of who you are and what you do before you apply, this is seen as part of your planning process. Not applying for funding too close to the deadlines or asking for a sum too close to the £5,000 cut off point are also seen as good planning.