On a talent hunt
The Charles Wallace Foundation helps talented young people pursue their studies in arts and humanities in England. Dr. Frank Taylor, Secretary of the trust for India, was in Bangalore recently.
Dr. Frank Taylor, Secretary of Charles Wallace Foundation. Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash
THERE ARE trusts and foundations galore that give scholarships and grants to Indian students. But the Charles Wallace Foundation stands apart from these for its historical significance. It was set up in 1981 after a British businessman named Charles Wallace, who died in India in 1916. By the terms of Wallace's will, his estate, after making provisions for his children, was to be divided between the British Treasury and the people of (undivided) India.
After his last child's death in 1967, work on the Charles Wallace Foundation began, and in 1981, four trusts were set up for India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Burma. Ever since, the trust has encouraged talented young Indians to study in the UK in their chosen areas of performing, visual, and applied arts.
Dr. Frank Taylor, Secretary of the India Trust, was here last week to explore possibilities of connections between institutions in Bangalore with those in England, and to conduct interviews in Delhi. Dr. Taylor has worked for the trust for the last 10 years, before which he worked for the British Council. He spoke about the trust's work and how young Indian professionals can apply for scholarships and grants. Excerpts from an interview:
Tell us about the foundation and the grants it offers.
The India Trust concentrates on the creative arts and humanities. Our scholarships and grants enable young Indians to train and study in England for brief periods of time. The grants are usually given for programmes in the visual arts, theatre, dance, conservation of art, journalism, and there are various fellowships for writers and translators as well. We also assist students who want to study philosophy, ancient history, theology, and English literature. A lot of this is done in co-ordination with the British Council and the host institutes in England.
In all, we give about a 100 awards in co-ordination with other trusts and councils. We also have a small programme to help young post-graduate students in Britain, who fall ill or have any kind of financial problems.
What are the ideal credentials for a candidate who wishes to apply for these scholarships?
There are a few basic criteria the candidate needs to meet even before applying. He or she should be at least a graduate, should be aged between 25 and 37 years, should have some professional experience, and should have a clear idea about why he/she would like to do the course. Needless to say that the candidate should be well versed in English and have good communication skills.
In addition to this, we do prefer people who have had little or no academic exposure abroad for the awards.
How many Indian scholars so far have been from Bangalore? How much do you think the exposure they got through this scholarship has helped them in their careers?
I should think there have been at least about 100 students and professionals from Bangalore who have received grants and scholarships from our foundation. This is in the postgraduate and undergraduate category combined.
I have definitely noticed that the level of confidence of those who receive the scholarships increases. Their work also seems to change for the better. In fact, some of the actors and directors have done so well that they have been asked to come back, and they have got other scholarships later. We have also managed to establish interesting links through these grants. We have exchange programmes with Britain, wherein students from there come here and learn the local art forms.
How does one apply for the award?
Most of the awards are advertised in the autumn by the British Council. Usually one can just go through the local British Council office and get the applications from there. Once the candidate applies, the forms are sifted and shortlisted. These shortlisted applications are then sent to Delhi. The interviews are normally held in March and candidates join their respective courses by May, or in some cases, in September. For certain awards, interviews are not required. Certain fellowships are not advertised but information about these can be obtained from the British Council website. The website address is britishcouncil.org/india.htm
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