How we assess applications

Belvoir, Counting And Cracking. Photo: Brett Boardman.

At the Australia Council, our arm’s length assessment process gives artists and creative workers an opportunity to guide and influence investment decisions.

The Australia Council offers a range of investment opportunities each year.

Eligible applications are assessed by one of the following methods:

  • Peer assessment – where approved peer assessors are selected for relevant assessment panels by art form. Peers review and score applications against the assessment criteria and agree a final ranking. Council staff apply the budget available to this ranking.
  • Industry advice – where industry advisors assess relevant opportunities based on their practice expertise and advise the Council on the most competitive applications. Council staff, and in some cases the Board of the Australia Council or a co-investment partner, determine which applications to fund.
  • Staff assessment – where Council staff assess targeted or quick response applications and determine which applications to fund.

Peers and industry advisors will primarily refer to the information supplied in applications and support material. They may also consider their own engagement with the work and relevant professional experience.

Staff may additionally refer to previous grant acquittal reports, communication with other teams in the Council, or communication with state and territory arts agencies.

Decisions are based on:

  • how well applications meet the guidelines and criteria
  • advice put forward by other assessors
  • adherence to relevant protocols.

While applications may meet the assessment criteria, applicants are not guaranteed a grant. The Australia Council receives many more applications than we can support.

We aim to notify applicants of the outcome of their application no later than 12 weeks after the closing date.

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

The membership of these panels rotates, with peers selected from the peer pool in response to the grants being assessed.

We select peers who are both knowledgeable and representative by balancing the following factors:

  • Artistic practice – artists and arts professionals with different artistic styles and philosophies, respected within their field.
  • Professional specialisation – artists and arts professionals who perform a variety of different professional roles in the arts that are relevant to the category.
  • Cultural diversity – artists and arts professionals representing the cultural mix of Australian society.
  • Disability – artists and arts professionals with disability.
  • First Nations – representation of First Nations artists and arts professionals.
  • Regions and communities – artists and arts professionals from different geographical regions.
  • Gender.
  • Age – artists and arts professionals of different generations.
Learn more

The Australia Council’s Conflicts of Interest and Confidentiality Policy ensures that any conflict of interest, whether actual or perceived, does not influence discussion about, or decisions on, grant applications.

In selecting people for a particular panel or assessment opportunity, Australia Council staff will ask you about potential connections between people and applicants or applications.

Assessors are obliged to acknowledge all connections they have with applicants and applications prior to assessment meetings. Council staff will determine what action to take on a case by case basis, depending on the context and nature of the connection. Actions that may be taken include:

  • minor, potential or remote conflicts of interest being noted
  • the assessor not being allowed to be present while an application is discussed and scored
  • the assessor not being able to participate in the assessment.

The nature of each conflict and the action taken is formally recorded.

Watch this animation for further details.

Assessment at the Australia Council
Current assessors
Become an assessor
Peer alumni