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2019 Award presentation to In Our Tongues. Photo courtesy of Bourses Tontine Awards.

Call for submissions: Bourses Tontine Awards—deadline May 24

By Apartment613 on May 3, 2021

A micro-grant initiative funding women’s creativity in Ottawa-Gatineau is inviting submissions for May 24, 2021.

The Bourses Tontine Awards collective is composed of five trustees who donate their time and money to fund creativity in Ottawa-Gatineau. Twice a year, the collective invites women and gender-diverse folks in creative fields to apply for a $1,000 project grant.

“We pool our money and efforts to provide no-strings-attached grants to local creative women who are doing art that enhances our community,” said the trustees in an interview with Apt613 last fall. “The projects we fund require a strong community component—it’s not about receiving money to create art just for you, it’s about involving and giving back to our communities.”

“Tontine was inspired by community micro-financing initiatives known as tontines in Africa. Soon after visiting Cameroon in 2012, one of the co-founders reached out to folks she thought would be interested in the idea of creating a new way to fund women’s creativity.” Out of this idea, the collective was born.

In seven years, 26 grants and over $16,000 have been given out to support music, painting, dance, theatre, spoken word, and more. Tontine is currently accepting submissions until May 24, 2021, after which the collective will select the next recipient. Trans women, queer women, women of colour, women with disabilities, HIV+ women, young women, immigrant women, single mothers and people of marginalized genders are strongly encouraged to apply.

2019 Award presentation to In Our Tongues. Photo courtesy of Bourses Tontine Awards.

Past recipients include spoken word artist Jenna Tenn-Yuk, storyteller Kim Kilpatrick, Les Poids Plumes francophone writers’ collective, Tara Luz Danse, Debaser, playwright Jessica Ruano, artist and writer Ojo Agi, Semira Selman, and the organizers of Trophy, a storytelling installation project which started in Ottawa and went on to tour in Canada and Europe. In 2019, Tontine recognized the group In Our Tongues by supporting a reading and art series to showcase Indigenous and racialized poets, writers, and musicians across the gender spectrum. “In Our Tongues later had enough funds to run their own micro-grant initiative for BIPOC artists!”

As the Bourses Tontine Awards is a bilingual initiative, applications can be submitted in either French or English. If your proposal is not selected, and your project is not time-bound, it can be resubmitted in a future application round.

The Bourses Tontine Awards is a micro-grant initiative to support womxn and gender diverse people in the creative arts in Ottawa-Gatineau. Run by five women who contribute their time, energy, and funds because they believe in the power of womxn’s creativity and community art, the $1000 no-strings-attached Tontine grant is awarded twice a year. Visit for more info or to submit an application.