Applications opened today for participants to join the Network of Independent Critics (NIC) for their second season at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, from 4th – 28th August 2017.
A city centre apartment will become home to up to 24 selected arts commentators over the course of the Edinburgh Fringe 2017, allowing for networking and social opportunities as well as a cost-effective base from which to cover the Festival. Each participant will focus on a specialised selection of the Fringe programme, which could range from puppetry to solo performance, new musicals to street busking.
The NIC scheme was launched in 2016 by Laura Kressly and Katharine Kavanagh to support the work of independent critics and facilitate their continued practise, and to generate visibility for arts that regularly slip below the radar of the mainstream press. The scheme exists to champion quality arts writing outside of the mainstream press. The goal is to widen the coverage of niche interest and emerging work across the amorphous field of performance based arts and entertainment, by offering support to independent writers focused in these areas.
Last year, over 400 reviews were produced by 19 participating critics, as well as additional Social Media content and reportage. These represented interests including LGBTQ work, children’s theatre and female-led performance.
Kavanagh runs the UK’s only publication dedicated to circus critique and also writes for The Stage and Exeunt:
“By ‘independent’, we mean someone who produces arts criticism unsalaried and maintains their own platform for doing so – although they needn’t be producing content for this outlet exclusively. We’re keen to open up the Festival to those working primarily in online media, which means those who produce video and podcast reports, as well as those who run their own blogs and websites for written reviews.”
Whilst the coverage is an increasingly valuable resource for the arts industry, the work remains largely unpaid and the cost of visiting Edinburgh during Fringe season can be prohibitive. By joining forces to rent an apartment as a group, the costs are considerably lowered, and participants can seek their own funding to cover the remainder if they wish. Following feedback from last year’s scheme, a choice of shared or private rooms is being offered, catering for different budgets and preferences.
Application forms are available from NICritics@mail.com until the deadline of 9th April, and successful applicants will be notified by 17th April after an anonymised selection process. The NIC will also be running free, open networking events as part of the Fringe Central programme, continuing their mission to seek out, disseminate and create opportunities for independent critics.