Tips of the Trade: demystifying Australia Council grants

Wednesday, 04 Apr 2018

(Ruby Boots, a recipient of the Australia Council's Nashville Residency, photo by Stefanie Vinsel)

Securing a grant at a pivotal point in your music career can make the difference between it being a hobby or an occupation. That funding support might let you focus wholly on songwriting or composing for a dedicated period, help you get to that overseas showcase, or make it possible to record a new album.

But where to begin on your granting journey? For this edition of Tips of the Trade, we’ll focus on the Australia Council for the Arts and the grants they offer.

Don’t be intimidated, they are here to help—with cash!—and to impact and assist artists and artistic endeavours. Read the tips below but also, call them, and have a chat.

“A grant from Australia Council for the Arts can support a number of things – national and international touring; showcasing; writing and recording of new work; or some professional development. I am seeing now more than ever how a grant can help create international opportunities for songwriters and composers. Sometimes, a little boost at a pivotal moment can make a huge difference to an artist’s career,” says Paul Mason, Director Music.

1) I am but a humble solo singer-songwriter, not an orchestra. Can I qualify for an Australia Council grant?

You sure can, there are different funding tiers depending on scope.

If you operate as an individual or a small group, focus on:

If you’re an organisation, look at:

2) Did I miss the deadline for the individual grants?

There are three funding rounds annually, make note of the dates:

Career Development - In 2018, the grant rounds will close on:

  • Tuesday 5 June for projects starting after 1 September 2018
  • Tuesday 2 October for projects starting 1 January 2019

Projects - In 2018, the grant rounds will close on:

  • Tuesday 6 February for projects starting after 1 May 2018. This grant round has now closed.
  • Tuesday 5 June for projects starting after 1 September 2018
  • Tuesday 2 October for projects starting 1 January 2019

3) Should I apply for a Project or a Career Development Grant?

Does developing your career feel like a project? Is your current project trying to develop an actual career? As with any grant application, at the heart of it needs to be a clear, purposeful focus.

4) Is this a Sydney or Melbourne thing only?

No, it is an Australia-wide funding opportunity with an aim to support artists and organisation from all geographic areas and backgrounds. Australia Council encourages applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists, Artists with Disability, and accepts applications in Languages Other Than English.

5) I have been offered a showcase spot that someone else pulled out of. Can Australia Council help? By next week?

While Australia Council does not offer ‘quick response’ grants, they offer a number of other targeted grants, e.g.:

 Check in with your state music body for those last minute funding needs.

6) How do I really know if I am ready to apply for an Australia Council grant?

You can ask them for some insight! They have a support team ready to take your call, email, or to have a Skype chat during business hours. They can’t review draft applications, but as with any grant, you should ask a trusted editor, writer, colleague/mentor to proofread and evaluate your application before you submit it. It can make all the difference.

Call them Toll-free: 1800 226 912
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