Representatives of the Australia Council recently visited us for an information hour of power regarding all things funding-related in the Literature and Arts’ grants sector.
For those who missed out, this session was about opening up a discussion with writers, Writers’ Centre members, and literary-minded artists concerned with how and where to seek funding for a literary project. We were thrilled to have an eager and vocal group of participants, who had the unique opportunity to ask direct questions of Australia Council staff regarding grants and funding as it applied to their specific queries.
As many writers know, understanding if and what funding is available to them isn’t always easy—deciphering bureaucratic jargon on a faceless webpage rings a bell. The very thought of beginning a major literary project is implicitly daunting, and concurrently, the possibility of penetrating complex grant-application processes, can be equally overwhelming. The good news is that Australia Council staff (in this case we met with Joanne Simpson, Karen Tait and David Ryding) are here to help demystify the process.
The Australia Council has numerous arms of funding available to emerging, developing and established writers and an independent Literature Board has been elected to adjudicate individual applications. These grants attempt to focus on broad channels of support in the form of residencies, fellowships and general funding to bear living expenses, travel, research and etc. As an idea, some relevant programs and grants include JUMP Mentorships, ArtStart, New Work (plus New Work Digital and New Media), Book2, Residencies and more. Information about each Literature and Artist grant currently offered by the Australia Council is available on their website.
Many of these grants require that applicants have a proven history of publication, normally at least one novel-length work, or the equivalent in short story publication form. Self-published works can also be considered proof of publication, however, it is required that they have been reviewed in a formal national publication (such as newspapers or literary magazines) and have been stocked by booksellers across Australia. While these stipulations can obviously be disappointing for unpublished and emerging writers, unfortunately funding is still limited in comparison with demand. Such requisites have been necessarily established to limit the number of rejections that were previously being made.
Nonetheless, there are programs designed to assist new writers, such as those developed under the Early Career Artists and Producers program, including, JUMP Mentorships, Early Career Residencies and ArtStart. Specific information about each of these programs, and others mentioned, can be accessed via the Australia Council Website or by clicking the above links.
It’s important to remember that these grants have been created to promote best literary and creative practice. Funding bodies like the Australia Council want grants to be distributed, and they want artists to apply for the right grant to suit their specific professional and creative profile. But given the competitive nature of funding, it is imperative that you actively seek out any information that you can to ensure you’re eligibility. Again, Arts Council staff are more than willing to respond to queries and are aware that by demystifying the process for applicants, they are helping to ensure that writers have a fighting chance at progressing their artistic careers.
Applications for the majority of these funding grants close on 15th of May. So if they’ve piqued your interest, better get typing. And don’t forget to contact the Australia Council staff (by phone 02 9215 9000 or email) if you have any questions at all!
For more information on specific grants you can also click here to view the 2013 Arts Funding Guide or come into the Writers’ Centre office if you want to pick up a copy.