Abi McQuater
Creative Programme Officer, Help Musicians
27th August 2020

Applying for creative funding during a pandemic requires adaptability, creativity and contingency planning, Creative Programme Officer, Abi McQuater explains.


Risk assessment and mitigation planning are vital at the best of times when planning to deliver a project - let alone, in the current climate. Whilst we adjust to the ‘new normal’ and keep tabs on government restrictions, the very nature of what it means to create and the means through which we can do this, requires adapting. But how do you assess this?


Help Musicians want to support you in your project planning to conduct safe and informed decision-making around the restrictions of lockdown and the conditions of industry.

The basics when filling out your risk assessment as part of Help Musicians funding applications….

DID risk assessment

1.The Risks:

Firstly, consider the types of risk. Please consider any events or external factors that may impact the delivery of your project. Attention to wider questions of fulfilment, as well as detail, is vital. For guidance on the sorts of problems that can arise, take a look around the internet for free online interaction risk assessment tools.


Questions to consider:

· Is this feasible within the 12-month timeline?

· How could health and safety measurements due to COVID-19 cause risk to my project?

· Does my budget appropriately reflect the costs? If not, what risks could this pose to my project?


Remember to be realistic but not overly cautious. When filling out this form, there’s no need to list of every single potential risk (for example, writer's block), rather it is a chance for you to assess your project and determine the controls you need to put in place to ensure your success.


2. Impact level:

To what degree do the risks impact your ability to fulfil this project within the 12-month funding period? How detrimental would this risk be to your project? Use the scale of 3 (high impact), 2 (medium impact) and, 1 (low impact) to assess.


3: A detrimental risk that needs addressing in the short term and closely managed

2: A medium risk that may need addressing in the mid term and managed appropriately

1: The impact of this risk is low and easily mitigated


3. Likelihood level:

How likely are these risks? In 2019, we may have calculated the risk of a global pandemic as relatively low. This illustrates the difficulty many musicians find when asked to calculate the probability of the risk itself. When calculating this, we recommend talking to your network, the chances are that other people have been considering similar risks and you might be able to help each other by sharing your experiences. Use the scale 3 (high likelihood), 2 (medium likelihood) and 1 (low likelihood) to assess:


3: High

2: Medium

1: Low


4. Mitigation:

What plans will you put in place to either avoid these risks or ensure they don’t stop your project going ahead? In this section, describe in detail, the mitigating actions you would put in place to avoid these risks impacting your project.


Examples include:

· COVID-19 – Have mainly worked remotely and have followed social distancing measures when in person, limiting risk

· The project timeline has taken longer than I imagined and studio costs have increased – Built 10% contingency plan in the budget to cover this


This is your golden ticket to a successfully completed project; mitigation measures must be in place and reviewed throughout the project timeline.


General Hints & Tips…


Adaptability: With touring unlikely for 2020, consider other means of connecting with your fanbase and new audiences, for example, via a monetised live streaming concert series.


Plan: Designing a bullet proof mitigation strategy prepares you for the inevitable obstacles of someone getting sick or the Wi-Fi dropping during a livestream.


Evaluate are you go: The risks will evolve as your project does, remind yourself to keep evaluating and assessing throughout your project timeline.

For further advice from the Musician’s Union click here.


For advice directly related to musicians during Covid-19 please visit the website set-up by Help Musicians and our industry partners, Corona Musicians