Australia Council Chief Executive Officer Tony Grybowski today said new Peer Assessment Panels, established at the first meeting of the Australia Council’s new Board this week, have already commenced the work of allocating additional funding to Australian artists and organisations.
Mr Grybowski said the Australia Council’s newly created Visual Arts and Literature Peer Assessment Panels each held a series of meetings this week and made determinations on a combined total of approximately 900 applications for funding support.
“The decision to establish the Peer Assessment Panels was approved by the new Board of the Australia Council as a priority action on its first day of operation on Monday,” Mr Grybowski said.
“I am delighted to report that in addition to core funding, decisions made by the Visual Arts and Literature Peer Assessment Panels in the first week of the new financial year will see around $400,000 of the additional $15 million to support unfunded excellence in 2013/14 begin to flow to the successful artists and organisations without delay.”
“The most pleasing feedback from peers in recent days was that a number of exceptional applications in highly competitive grant categories were able to be funded as a result of this extra money, delivered by the Australian Government as part of Creative Australia.”
Mr Grybowski said that in order to assist a seamless transition for artists and arts organisations seeking support during this period of change, the initial membership of the Peer Assessment Panels included the Chairs and members of the previous artform boards.
“We are very fortunate at present to have artists of rich and diverse backgrounds and experience represented in each of our Peer Assessment Panels,” Mr Grybowski said.
“For example, the Visual Arts Peer Assessment Panel this week engaged 10 peers from across the country, including artists, curators, craft designers and an arts writer.”
“Over coming months, the Board will be developing plans to further enhance the breadth and depth of expertise available to each Panel for the purpose of peer assessment.”
“It is critical and fundamental to our work that we get the right peers from across the country assessing the applications we receive.”
Mr Grybowski said work on a comprehensive review of the Australia Council’s Grants Program is progressing well, with a view to implement a new Grants Program in 2015. Discussions with stakeholders will take place over the coming months. The new Program would provide direction for Peer Assessment Panels to allocate all funding, including the out-years of the additional $60 million, four-year unfunded excellence program.
To ensure there was no delay in the additional funding under that program reaching the sector, the previous Council approved an initial tranche of around one-third of the additional $15 million in funding for 2013/14 to be initially apportioned across all artform areas. The allocation of the remainder of first year funding will be a priority area of consideration for the new Board.
Mr Grybowski said the Australia Council’s Music Peer Assessment Panel would meet in Sydney next week.