The Dirt: Getting a Grant

The Dirt: Getting a Grant


We talked to Paul Mason, Acting Executive Director of Arts Funding at The Australia Council about how you can apply for a grant to make music or tour your work. 


What's your role at The Australia Council?  

Acting Executive Director, Arts Funding.

What does the Australia Council do?

The Australia Council for the Arts is the federal government’s arts funding and advisory body.

What type of grants are available?

We offer grants across a range of artforms and activities. In music we accept applications for music of any genre, from solo artists, groups/bands and organisations. We fund various activities including writing and recording new material, and national and international touring. We also fund music organisations - record labels, festivals and other presenters of music. There are also some specialist grant categories such as ArtStart, which funds business development for recent creative graduates, and the Contemporary Music Touring Program which funds Australian tours with a strong regional element.

Can you tell us about some artists who have received grants in the past?

So far this year we have funded 226 artists, bands/groups and music organisations. For example, we have supported international touring by Panama, Hiatus Kaiyote, Sampology, Vance Joy and Kirin Callinan. We’ve funded new albums from Courtney Barnett, Lanu, Emma Louise, SPOD and Marcus Whale; a national hip hop tour including Briggs and M.O.C and a regional tour by In Heart’s Wake. In this year’s first round of ArtStart, 34 musicians were funded to setup the business around their music.

How do you know if you're eligible to apply?

Eligibility is explained on our website and in the guidelines, and more detailed questions can be answered by staff.

What's the best way to fill out an application?

All of our categories are available with an online application. The online system allows you to save as you go, so you don’t need to write the application in a single session.

Who judges applications?

Our assessment panels are drawn from industry - your peers. We recruit peers from around the country and all genres of music - they may be artists, producers or managers. The peers read the application and score it against the selection criteria that have been published in the grant guidelines. All the applications are then ranked in order, and we convene an assessment meeting for the peers to determine the final funded list. Staff do not make funding decisions.

What type of language should you use in your application?

There’s no specific language for an application - but remember its being read by other artists and arts workers so it shouldn’t read like a bureaucratic policy document or a press release. Our assessment panels usually appreciate an application that is in the artist’s own voice. Often peer panels have to read a lot of applications so it’s important to keep your application clear and easy to understand. We also strongly recommend that someone else proof reads your application before it’s submitted.

If unsuccessful, can you apply again?