Assessment at the Australia Council

Soft Centre Festival 2018. Credit: Charl Anfield

The Australia Council’s purpose is to champion and invest in arts and creativity to benefit all Australians.

We invest using arm’s-length decision making, industry advice and peer assessment. These have been guiding principles of the Council’s grants programs for the past 40 years.

How we assess applications
Current assessors
Become an assessor
Peer alumni

Peer applications for the current peer pool have now closed.

If you are interested in being placed on an Expression of Interest list for future opportunities, please email your details to assessment@australiacouncil.gov.au.

Live information and Q&A session

In this session you will learn what a peer assessor is, and hear from three peers about their experience and what they gained.

  • Host: Pip Wittenoom, Director Project Investment.
  • Panellists: Kevin Ng and Ali Cobby Eckermann (current peers) and Dane Hunnerup (past peer and Artist Services Officer).

This webinar was held on Thursday 21 January 2021 at 12:30pm.

The session provides an overview of the peer’s role in the assessment process and how best to approach it.

  • Panellists: Nardi Simpson, Lucy Mendelssohn, Wenona Byrne and Patricia Adjei.

This webinar was held on Tuesday 24 August 2021 at 12:00pm.

Frequently asked questions

A peer assessor is anyone with enough knowledge or experience of the arts and cultural sector to make a fair and informed assessment of applications for funding.

This knowledge and experience could be developed as a practising artist, creative worker or industry expert in one or more art forms.

We are looking for people who will engage, be impartial, be prepared, maintain confidentiality and advocate for investment in great applications.

How long is the commitment? 

Peer assessors become part of a peer pool. The current commitment as a peer assessor is for three years, from mid-2021 to mid-2024.

During that time, peers can expect to be invited to participate in between one and six assessment meetings.

We need peer assessors who understand all parts of the creative process – from creating work and coordinating tours and exhibitions, to developing new markets and engaging with audiences and communities.

We are committed to forming equitable and balanced panels. We look for peers from different states and regions, cultural backgrounds, ages, genders and abilities.

  1. Register or log into Fluxx.
  2. Once you are in the Grantee Portal choose Apply to be a peer. This option appears on the left side menu panel.

Applications for the current peer pool have now closed.

If you are interested in future opportunities, please email your details to assessment@australiacouncil.gov.au.

An industry advisor is anyone with enough knowledge or experience of the arts and cultural sector to provide advice and review applications that best meet the criteria or guidelines. This may include for awards, fellowships or international opportunities.

This knowledge and experience could be developed as a practising artist, arts or cultural professional or industry expert in one or more art forms. Council staff decide which applications will be supported based on this advice.

THIS NEEDS TO BE DEFINED BETTER. THIS DEFINITION IS EXACTLY THE SAME AS PEER ASSESSORS. WE SUGGEST ADDING A PARAGRAPH, E.G. BELOW:

Unlike peer assessors, industry advisors etc..

There are several ways to become an industry advisor:

  • you can indicate your interest through the peer assessor application process
  • you may be tapped on the shoulder if your expertise is required; or
  • you can let an Australia Council staff member know you are interested.

Please contact the Assessment team if you are interested in working with the Council as an industry advisor.

Email assessment@australiacouncil.gov.au or call 9215 9000 and ask to speak to a member of the assessment team.

The time commitment per grant round varies depending on the number of applications we receive, and the grant category you are assessing.

Peers are asked to assess between approximately 30–120 applications.

We aim to give peers 4-6 weeks to prepare, read and assess the applications.

Within this time, peers need to spend approximately a week reading and assessing the applications, plus an additional 1-2 days meeting time per grant round.

We advise peers that one application can take between 15-30 minutes to read and assess. Please note this will vary depending on your reading pace and working style. Peers become more proficient the more meetings they participate in, as familiarity grows with the criteria guidelines, process etc.

Please see the experience of previous peers for more on  the time commitment required.

Payment is set by the Remuneration Tribunal.

Currently peers are paid $750 per full meeting day. This is a stipend in acknowledgement of your contribution.

In addition, peers get a unique professional development opportunity to connect with fellow peers and to learn from and view the arts sector with a national lens. We encourage you to read about the experience of other peers in this collection of interviews.

If you travel to Sydney for an assessment meeting, the Australia Council pays for your travel and accommodation.

If you are required to stay overnight, you will also be paid a travel allowance to cover meals and incidental expenses.

Refer to the Peer Handbook for further details.

No, you can still apply for opportunities.

Please note: peers do not participate on panels assessing their own application.

We expect you will know lots of people making an application.

If you have a close personal relationship (e.g. your partner has applied, or you are on the Board or work for an organisation applying) then we would need to know this upfront, as you will not be able to sit on that assessment panel.

If you know people who have applied or you have other connections with individuals, groups or organisations in the applications, we will assess the relationship as you describe it to us on a case by case basis.

This conflicts of interest animation provides more detail.

The Council has established ten peer assessment panels for our core grants programs: First Nations, Arts and Disability, Community Arts and Cultural Development, Dance, Emerging and Experimental Arts, Literature, Multi-artform, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts.

We also form panels as required for our government programs: Playing Australia and the Contemporary Music Touring Fund.

Participation on all these panels rotates, with peers selected from the peer pool in response to the grant categories being assessed.

We are committed to forming equitable and balanced panels. Panels will be comprised of between three and eleven peers depending on the kind of assessment and representation required.

Peers are invited to participate on an assessment panel based on their experience and knowledge.

For each panel, peers work with a dedicated assessment officer. The assessment officer guides you through the process, answers all your questions and makes the process as comfortable and straight forward as possible.

To learn more about the process see our Peer Handbook.

No.

All grant applications are now assessed by peers selected from our peer pool.

For each art form assessment panel, the peers participating changes each grant round.

The Australia Council remains committed to arm’s-length peer assessment.

Due to COVID-19, we have adapted our processes and delivered peer assessment remotely.

We are always reviewing our processes to ensure we deliver the best possible funding outcomes.

For more detail, please refer to the Peer Handbook.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, meetings are currently conducted remotely. Prior to COVID-19, peers travelled to Sydney for the assessment meetings.

Once the current restrictions are lifted, we will review our processes to ensure we meet public health advice.

When we return to face-to-face meetings, peers who live in Sydney are encouraged to use public transport where possible.

The Assessment team supports our peers as best as possible to enable everyone to participate.

Please discuss any accessibility requirements with the team.

Peers can be supported in various ways including:

  • assisting new parents
  • assisting with monetary support for an additional carer if you have carer responsibilities
  • providing a translator
  • providing fees for support providers and family members who assist in carer roles
  • finding local office space or help accessing a computer
  • discussing how you can participate remotely if you are unable to travel.

Every situation is different. We encourage you to discuss specific needs with your assessment officer.