Q. Why is it called the King’s Hall Trust for the Arts?
A. The name represents the Trust’s origins in Brasenose College at the University of Oxford whose full name is ‘The King’s Hall and College of Brasenose’.
Q. Does that mean that it’s part of Brasenose?
A. No. The Trust is an entirely independent organization, set up and managed separately from the College. The Trust was formed by members of the College and we continue to take a close interest in the artistic activities of Brasenose students.
Q. So does that mean that the Trust only supports the activities of Brasenose students?
A. No. The Trust aims to support all artistic activities in Oxford, whether by or for the benefit of the inhabitants of Oxford. We have supported a number of productions which have no direct connection with Brasenose and indeed have supported groups which have nothing to do with the University.
Q. What in a nutshell then does the Trust aim to do?
A. The Trust was set up to support the arts in Oxford both financially and through advice and practical support. It is committed to education, especially in drama and music, and to attendance at artistic events as well as involvement in them.
More formally, the Trust’s aims are laid out in it’s deed as ‘to promote and advance education in the arts in particular amongst the societies and members of Brasenose College for the benefit of the public and the above persons’. The key words here are promote, education, arts and public. Promote, because we want to foster a greater interest and understanding of the arts; arts because we want to support the whole range of performance and visual arts; education, because we believe in learning and finally public because we believe in sharing and opening up access to as broad a public as possible.
Q. What do you mean by arts, all I can see is the Trust supporting drama?
A. The Trust has found that a large proportion of applications which seek funding are drama productions. This is probably for at least a couple of reasons: firstly drama productions tend to have much larger budgets than most other artistic activities, secondly drama has a well established routine for budgeting and seeking backing which is often not seen to the same extent in other arts. Drama is also fundamentally about bringing in the public which can be less of a focus in other arts projects.
The Trust has also supported projects involving film, story-telling and a major visual arts display by Oxfordshire schoolchildren. We continue to seek opportunities to support activities which are less well covered by other funding bodies in Oxford. We would also like to be involved in projects where the level of public participation might be increased.
Q. You keep saying ‘Trust’, what does this mean?
A. The ‘King’s Hall Trust for the Arts’ is legally constituted as a Trust and is a charity registered with the Charity Commission.
Q. So how does being a charity help?
A. A great deal as it allows us to recover the tax paid by donors. This can amount to a huge amount. For every £1 we receive from a normal tax payer we can recover another 28p and if we receive a donation from a higher rate tax payer, then he or she can also recover 18p for each £1 donated.
As a charity we are also regulated by the Charity Commission which we believe gives our donors peace of mind that the funds of the charity are used for the declared purposes.
Q. Who makes the decisions?
A. Decisions are taken by the Trustees. We meet once a term to discuss the activities of the Trust and the major aims in the forthcoming months or year. At each meeting the Trustees set the level of backing and grants which are available during the next period and confirm the decisions made on which activities have been supported in the previous period. The actual decision on which activities to support is delegated to a sub-group of Trustees to facilitate speed and simplicity. However, it is the Trustees as a group who set the criteria by which activities should be assessed.
Q. How often do you make your funding decisions?
A. The Trust generally considers applications on a termly basis. We will normally look at applications towards the end of the university term or early in the holidays. We are also trialling a stricter termly structure for grant applications (see the applications page for more information). If your application is urgent due to exceptional circumstances, please let us know via the contact form. You can also use that email address for any questions or to send application material that can’t be submitted using the online form.
Q. At what stage should I look for Trust support?
A. We would prefer to become involved as early as possible in a project. We are not a backer of last resort but hope to add value to a project through early involvement in the planning and execution of a project. You do not need to have a complete proposal in order to open communications with the Trust. Get in touch via the contact form and we would gladly give advice in how to construct a proposal and who can give you the support you need. We have gathered a great deal of experience in this simple but often harrowing process.
Q. How much will the Trust give or use to back a project?
A. Our backing has ranged from £50 to over £750 for a single project and has depended on our available funds and the sort of project being considered. Grants are normally around £50 – £250. We are looking to increase the amount we support projects in order that our contributions are meaningful to the project but this has depended on the amount of funds we have available. We are also particularly interested in projects where our funding can have most impact.
Q. I would like to support the Trust but I don’t really think I can commit very much, what can I do?
A. You would be surprised how far a little can go. We welcome, and indeed already count among our donors, people who commit small amounts each month on a regular basis. Remember that £5 to someone in full time employment does not mean the same as to a student or a not-for-profit artistic organisation. Also if you are employed then we can recover the tax you paid so your donation is worth more than the amount you originally donated! How’s that for magic?
Q. How can I donate money to the Trust?
A. You can give to us via CAF or do please feel free to contact the Treasurer via the contact form (include FAO the Treasurer in the message) if you would like further information or to discuss your options. We cannot stress too strongly that we are funded primarily through small donations – the average monthly donation is approximately £12 – and anything you would like to give will make a huge difference.
Q. Why should I support the Trust?
A. We see our potential donors primarily as people who have gained from the experience of taking part in the arts while at Oxford University and would like to both keep in touch with the scene and help support what’s going on. The Trustees created the Trust after having gained a huge amount from the arts scene and saw the Trust as a way of contributing by giving something back to the arts community, both in terms of experience and of money. We hoped that we could help artists reduce the amount of time they are looking for funding as well as encourage people to broadcast their arts to a greater audience than they could without funding. We also have a strong interest in the arts in schools and hope that through grants we can broaden the community of arts supporters.
Q. If I become a donor to the Trust can I become involved in choosing what the Trust supports?
A. The Trust welcomes feedback and suggestions from any source. However the Trustees are the final arbiters in what the Trust chooses to support. We have a duty to all our donors to use their monies in furtherance of our stated aims, this is enforced by the Charity Commissioners. That is not to say that, if a donor has a project which they believe the Trust should be aware of, the Trust cannot then support that project.
Q. So how exactly does the Trust support the arts?
A. There are three ways in which the Trust can support people. Firstly the Trustees are able to give advice and help where required or able to use their contacts to point people in the direction of individuals or organisations that can help them. Some of them are also now involved in the arts professionally and may be able to assist with practical, technical or administrative issues. In addition, if we are not able to help, we may know of somebody who can.
Secondly we ‘back’ projects. In many cases projects simply need working capital with which to operate and guarantees in case the projects are not successful. Through backing, the Trust can provide this working capital and share in the losses or gains that the project incurs. This is the most appropriate method of support where a project is expecting income as well as expenses such as a play put on in a conventional theatre. This also allows the Trust to use donations as capital to support a number of individual projects.
The Trust also makes outright grants on which it does not expect any return. This is viewed as most appropriate where the project is not expecting an income or where the Trust wishes to broaden the appeal of a project such as providing targeted assistance to groups who wish to participate.
Q. I would like to support the arts in Oxford but I don’t really wish to become a donor at this time. What can I do?
A. The Trust would really appreciate help in its activities and would welcome anyone who would like to help. The Trust can also use its contacts within the student arts community to help you get in touch with people who would value your assistance. Please contact the secretary if you would like to help in any way.
Q. How I can keep in touch with the Trust?
A. If you would like information on what the Trust is doing then please sign up to our mailing list on our home page. You can also contact us via our contact form.
Q. I would like to become a Trustee. What do I do?
A. We look for new Trustees from time to time: if you would like to know more please get in touch via the contact form. You should have some experience or interest in the arts, and be keen to get involved in supporting the arts in Oxford. Whilst the time-commitment involved is not significant, it is important that you are willing to give up some time each month to assist in the promotion and management of the Trust’s work.
Q. I have a question which you haven’t answered yet. How can I find out more?
A. Please contact us using the form and we will answer you as quickly as possible.