Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development

Simplifying our Open Fund for Individuals

In response to feedback from applicants, Creative Scotland’s Open Fund for Individuals will move to a simplified online application process from Tuesday 10 August 2021.

Please note, this means that the Open Fund will be closing to applications from Individuals for one week, from Tuesday 3 August 2021.

To learn more about how the fund application process is changing, read the news story.


  • Funding available for between £1k and £100k
  • The fund aims to enable individuals and organisations to explore ways of working that will help them to adapt and respond to the current changing circumstances
  • The overall budget for the Open Fund for Individuals and the Open Fund for Organisations totals £7.5m of National Lottery money
  • There are separate funding strands for Individuals and Organisations, to ensure that individuals will not be in direct competition with organisations for funding.
  • The fund is open all year round, with no deadlines and can support activity for up to 12 months.

Sustaining creative practice in a changing world

Creative Scotland is committed to ensuring that people are supported to develop excellence and experimentation in a wide range of arts and creative activity, reflecting Scotland’s diverse and dynamic cultures. We want to ensure that the experience of the arts and creative activity benefits as many people as possible across Scotland’s communities and places. We have a key role in ensuring that Scotland’s creative workforce and businesses have opportunities to develop, evolve and flourish.

We have launched our Open Fund in a difficult context. The disruption of COVID-19 is a situation without precedent. The creative sector is facing significant challenge. We understand that you will be considering the impact of this emergency and its after-effects on what you do. You may be thinking about new ways of working. If you aim to reach people with your work in performance spaces, for example, you may be looking at new ways to achieve this. You may be looking at ways to stabilise your existing activity. You may be reimagining what you do, and as part of this process, you may wish to take creative risks.

This fund is designed to support you to sustain your practice in a changing world. We are asking you to tell us what you want to do, and how it will help you and/or others in the months and years to come.

Please read the guidance documents below for full information about this fund including eligibility.


Open Fund for Individuals Guidance

View and download the guide in pdf format.

Open Fund for Organisations Guidance

View and download the guide in pdf format.

Risk Assessment Guidance and Form - Over 15k

Download the Risk Assessment Guidance and Form in .docx format.

Risk Assessment Guidance and Form - Under 15k

Download the Risk Assessment Guidance and Form in .docx format.

Open Fund for Individuals Application Form

Download the Application Form in .docx format.

Open Fund for Organisations Application Form

Download the Application Form in .docx format.

Open Fund FAQs

Download the Open Fund FAQs in PDF format

Decision-making in the context of Covid-19

Updated: January 2021

The Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development guidelines outline risk as a key factor in our decision making. One of the key risks to creative activity is currently COVID-19 and our approach is informed by the Scottish Government guidance on this issue, which is regularly evolving.

Whilst Scottish Government guidance and/or legislation around public safety takes precedence and will, at all times, inform all of our funding decisions for the foreseeable future, we have put in place a particular approach to risk for Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development decision making.

We will maintain and evolve this approach which, by necessity, will need to align with information on COVID-19 measures and plans from the Scottish Government.

Our priority must be the safety of creative people and audiences

Whilst Creative Scotland wishes to continue to support creative and experimental practice in the arts, for legal and moral reasons, Creative Scotland cannot accept avoidable or unmanaged risk to health and safety and our funding approach will be cautious in this regard.

We perceive particular risk relating to the following areas and as a result funding applications are unlikely to succeed for:

  • presentation of work for mass physical audiences (indoor or outdoor) at any point before June 2021. This decision is based on Scottish Government guidance. Work for smaller audiences, delivered in line with Scottish Government guidance may, however, be possible before then.
  • international travel (both into and out of Scotland) at any point before June 2021. This decision is based on current Scottish Government guidance.
  • work inside care homes and hospitals in 2021. This decision is based on current Scottish Government guidance.


This guidance was last reviewed w/c 25 January 2021.

The guidance will continue to be reviewed at eight-weekly intervals or more quickly if the Scottish Government substantially changes. Reviews will be carried out in consultation with sector bodies, government and other partners.

For the avoidance of doubt, government guidance takes precedence over any statement by Creative Scotland.


Decisions on applications made to Creative Scotland are communicated within eight to twelve weeks. Decisions will be based on the most current information available, including the most recent version of this guidance. This may vary from the version available at the time of application.

Applicants are responsible for the safe delivery of their own projects and Creative Scotland’s guidance does not represent an endorsement of approaches.


The Open Fund FAQs are available as a PDF download or can be accessed through the FAQs section of the website.

How do I find out more information?

If you need more information please contact our Enquiries Service using one of the methods outlined on our Contact Us page.