Peer
Assessment

Soft Centre Festival 2018. Credit: Charl Anfield

Peer assessment and arm’s length funding have been guiding principles of how the Australia Council allocates funding for more than 40 years. Peer assessment ensures that grants are offered to artists and arts organisations whose proposals, in competition with those of other applicants and within budget constraints, demonstrate the highest degree of merit against the published assessment criteria.

A peer assessor is anyone who has sufficient knowledge or experience of the arts sector to make a fair and informed assessment of applications for funding. This knowledge and experience could be developed as a practising artist, arts worker or industry expert in one or more art forms.

We also need peers who understand all parts of the artistic process – from making work and coordinating tours and exhibitions, to developing new markets and engaging with audiences and communities.

We are committed to forming diverse and balanced panels. We look for peers who are representative of geography, cultural backgrounds, age, gender and ability.

The Peer Handbook for Assessment Panels

Peer applications for the new 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 is a peer, 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 sector to make a fair and informed assessment of applications for funding. This knowledge and experience could be developed as a practising artist, arts 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 great applications to be supported.

We need peer assessors who understand all parts of the artistic process – from creating work and co-ordinating 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 who are representative of geography, cultural backgrounds, age, gender and ability.

The commitment as a peer assessor is for three (3) years, from mid-2021 to mid-2024. During that time, peers can expect to be invited to participate in between one (1) to six (6) assessment meetings.

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

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

We aim to provide peers with 4-6 weeks to prepare and to complete reading and assessment of the applications.

Peers need approximately a week to read and assess 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 refer to the experience of previous peers in relation to the time commitment required.

Payment is set by the Remuneration Tribunal. Currently peers are paid $750 per full meeting day. This is a stipend which is an 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 these collection of interviews.

If you travel to Sydney for an assessment meeting, the Australia Council pays for your travel and accommodation. Peers receive a travel allowance if you are required to stay overnight. Refer to the Peer Handbook for further details.

The Council receives many more applications than there are opportunities for peers to assess. The balance of representation across all areas is a key consideration in the shortlisting process. For areas of arts practice or locations we receive the most applications from, there will be many more experienced people than we can utilise.

If you would like to seek feedback you can email us at peers@australiacouncil.gov.au

No. Peers can apply for funding from the Australia Council.

Please note peers will not participate on a panel assessing their 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, you are on the Board of or you are employed by an organisation applying) then we would need to know this upfront, as you will not be able to sit on that panel.

If you know people who have applied or you have other connections with individuals, groups and organisations in the applications (e.g. through your current employer, organisations you have previously worked for etc.), we will assess the relationship as you describe it to us on a case by case basis and decide whether or not it’s appropriate for you to assess that individual application.

This video provides guidance around how we determine whether or not you have a conflict of interest with an applicant or application: https://vimeo.com/294047443/700949db1e

The Council has established ten peer assessment panels for our core grants programs: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts, 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 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 who guides you through the process. The Assessment Officer 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 applications are now assessed by peers selected from our pool. For each artform panel, the peers participating changes each grant round.

The Australia Council remains committed to arms-length peer assessment.

Due to COVID-19, we adapted our processes to meet these challenges and delivered peer assessment remotely. We are always reviewing our processes to ensure we deliver the best possible funding outcomes.

To learn more about our current processes, please review the Peer Handbook here.

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

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

When we return to face-to-face meetings, peers who live in Sydney are encouraged to use public transport where possible. We understand that peers may have a range of varying circumstances that restrict access to public transport. If this is the case, you can speak to the Assessment team for support and advise.

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
  • support by providing a translator
  • provide fees for assistance for support providers and family members who assist in carer roles
  • finding local office space/help, accessing a computer and/or secure internet
  • if you are unable to travel, will can discuss how to participate remotely for example via Microsoft TEAMS.

Every situation is different. We encourage you to discuss specific needs with your Assessment Officer.

You are required to renew your application as the application form has been updated recently. If you would like to be considered for this approaching term (2021-2024) please reapply following the instructions below.

  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.