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Arts and Disability Initiative 2022-24

This program is for d/Deaf artists or arts workers, or artists or arts workers with disability, seeking to undertake a project or activity to advance their practice, skills or career.

About this initiative

The Australia Council for the Arts is offering six grants of $30,000.

If you are a d/Deaf artist or arts worker, or an artist or arts worker with disability, these grants can provide support for significant projects to extend your arts practice, networks, skills, and ambition.

Your project should be ambitious, bold, and innovative.  It should enhance your career and work, and strengthen your networks.  It must include a clear plan with the steps you will take to achieve your goals. It must also outline the structure and support you will put in place for your development to take your career or practice to the next level.

Supported activities must last no longer than two years from the proposed start date.

This initiative has been developed in response to Australia Council research involving artists and arts workers with disability, our Towards Equity: A research overview of diversity in Australia’s arts and cultural sector  report and a review of the Council’s arts and disability initiatives 2019-2021. This research has informed the Australia Council’s three-year strategic investment in artists with disability 2022-2024.

Meet the 2022 recipients below.

Need help with your application?

Click here to contact Artists Services:

  • with any questions about this initiative
  • to submit an application in a different format, or in a language other than English
  • to arrange a conference call, or to use an Auslan interpreter service
  • if you have any other access or support needs.


Easy English

Click here to read in English how to apply.


Additional resources

  • Only individuals may apply to this initiative. If you are part of a group, you may apply on behalf of the group.
  • You must identify as a d/Deaf artist or artsworker, or as an artist or arts worker with disability.
  • You must be an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident.
  • You may only apply once to this initiative at the 4 July 2023 closing date.

You can’t apply for a grant if:

    • you received a grant from the Australia Council in the past and that grant has not been satisfactorily acquitted
    • you owe money to the Australia Council
    • you are an organisation.

You can apply for:

  • skills development
  • mentoring
  • residencies
  • creation of new work
  • creative development
  • experimentation
  • practice-based research
  • presentation and promotion
  • collaboration

Access costs are legitimate expenses and may be included in your application. We encourage applicants to ensure that their work is accessible to everyone. Therefore, budgets may also include costs associated with making activities accessible to a wide range of people (e.g. performances using Auslan, translation to other languages, captioning, audio description, temporary building adjustments, and materials in other formats).

You may apply for access costs associated with the use of an interpreter, translation services, specific technical equipment, carer, or support worker assistance. Please contact Artists Services to discuss your needs.

You can’t apply for projects or activities that:

  • do not involve or benefit practicing artists or arts workers
  • do not have a clearly defined arts component
  • have already taken place.

Applications to this initiative will be assessed by peers from the arts sector.  Most of the assessors will identify as d/Deaf or disabled.

For more information see: How we assess applications.

All applicants will be advised of the outcome of their application within 12 weeks of the closing date.

You must address three assessment criteria in this initiative.

Under each criterion are bullet points indicating what the peer assessors may consider when reviewing your application. You do not need to respond to every bullet point.

Peers will assess the quality of your proposal. They may consider:

  • the quality of the proposed activity
  • the quality of your previous work
  • public or peer responses to your work
  • the quality of your collaborators or partners
  • how your proposed activity is ambitious, bold, innovative and career-enhancing.

Peers will assess the viability of your proposal. They may consider:

  • realistic and achievable planning and resource use, with a clear plan and steps to achieve your goals
  • evidence of structure and support in place for your development
  • the relevance and timeliness of the proposed activity
  • the skills and roles of partners or collaborators, including confirmation of involvement
  • where relevant to your proposal, evidence that the Protocols for using First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts have been adhered to
  • appropriate payments to participating artists, arts workers, collaborators, participants, or cultural consultants
  • evidence of appropriate consultation with participants, audiences, or communities
  • the safety and wellbeing of people involved in the project, and public safety in relation to presentations or travel
  • how you have addressed access in the proposed activity
  • where relevant, evidence that you have addressed the environmental impact of your project.

Peers will assess the impact that your proposal will have on your practice and career. They may consider:

  • how your activity will extend your arts practice, networks, skills, and ambition
  • how your activity will extend the arts practice, networks, skills, and ambition of other artists and arts workers involved.

Instructions and a link to the online application form are available here.

The application form will ask you to provide:

  • a title for your activity
  • a summary of your activity
  • a brief bio of the artist or arts worker applying
  • a detailed description of your activity
  • a timetable or itinerary for your activity
  • an outline of how your activity will extend arts practice, networks, skills, and ambition
  • details of the expenses, income and in-kind support for your activity, including any access and support costs
  • supporting material relevant to your activity. This may include examples of your previous work, bios of additional people involved, and letters of support from participants or communities.

All Australia Council grants information including guidelines and application forms are available in accessible formats upon request.

These formats include word documents, audio CD, Braille, Easy English, Auslan and large print. Please note that requests for translated materials will need to allow for a six-week turnaround.

We accept applications for all our programs in accessible formats.

Formats include Auslan, audio, video, printed, dictated, electronic and handwritten formats. Contact Artists Services to discuss your requirements.

You should submit support material with your application. The peer assessors may review this support material to help them gain a better sense of your project.

What you should provide

We do not accept application-related support material submitted via post unless you have contacted us in advance to discuss your access needs. If you think you will have difficulty submitting your support material online, or need advice on what type of material to submit, please contact Artists Services.

There are three types of support material you may submit:

1. Artistic support material

This should include relevant, recent examples of your artistic or cultural work.

2. Biographies and CVs

You can include a brief bio or curriculum vitae (CV) for key artists, personnel or other collaborators involved in your project.

Brief bios or CV information should be presented as a single document no longer than two A4 pages in total.

3. Letters of support

Individuals, groups, or organisations can write letters in support of your project. A support letter should explain how the project or activity will benefit you, other artists or arts professionals, participants, or the broader community. It can also detail the support or involvement of key project partners, or evidence of consultation.

If relevant to your activity, letters of support must provide evidence of appropriate permissions and support from First Nations organisations, communities, and Elders. Please refer to the First Nations Protocols for more information.

You can include up to five letters of support, with each letter not exceeding one A4 page.

Types of support material we accept

Our preferred method of receiving support material is via URLs (weblinks).

You can provide up to three URLs (weblinks) that link to content that is relevant to your proposal. This may include video, audio, images, or written material.

These URLs can include a total of:

  • 10 minutes of video and/or audio recording
  • 10 images
  • 10 pages of written material (for example, excerpts of literary writing).

Please note: Our peer assessors will not access any URLs that require them to log in or sign up to a platform. Please do not provide links to Spotify or other applications that require users to log in or pay for access.

If you are linking to media files that are private or password protected like Vimeo, please provide the password in the password field on the application form.

Other accepted file formats

If you cannot supply support material via URLs, you may upload support material to your application in the following formats:

  • video (MP4, Windows Media)
  • audio (MP3 and Windows Media)
  • images (JPEG and PowerPoint)
  • written material (Word and PDF).

Details of the grant recipients will be published on the Australia Council website. These details will include the name of each recipient, their resident state or territory, the amount awarded, the panel which assessed the application (Arts & Disability panel) and the name of the round (the Arts and Disability Initiative).

Please contact Artists Services if you do not wish to have your name published.

Cara-Ann Simpson is an artist, curator, cultural heritage expert and consultant, with a background as an executive director, property manager, conservation manager, and educator. She is a multidisciplinary artist with a focus on sensory engagement, digital technologies, space and the participant. Cara-Ann is engaged with cultural heritage, landscape, sensoria and how people interact with their environment. 

In 2017, Cara-Ann became extremely ill, spending close to a year in hospital with an extreme brain infection, eventually being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and Neurosarcoidosis. She spent a number of months in rehabilitation learning how to walk again and become stronger. During this period picking flowers and going for short walks outside became a lifeline to regaining optimism for the future and finding her way back to creating art. She currently lives with her partner Michael, and their two dogs – Sebastian and Eddie – on the lands of the Jarowair people of the Wakka Wakka nation on a farm in Queensland.

My multi-disciplinary art practice explores Critical Disability Aesthetics. As a woman with dwarfism, I work collaboratively to experiment with the representation of my embodied difference. The focus of my art to date, has been upon features and dynamics of interactions and relations within physical and social environments that define the dwarf person as an Other. By experimenting with the power of the gaze and changing point of view, I emphasise the politics of visible difference. Employing the mediums of performance, video, VR, photography, and sculpture, my oeuvre has evolved to culminate in cross art-form works. I explore the capacities of each medium to communicate a different and dynamic perspective of lived experience.

My approach to Critical Disability Aesthetics experiments with shifting point of view to engage with and immerse participants and audiences into my world. I constantly challenge traditional stereotypes about those who look different, and to date, the subject of my work in this endeavour is my lived experience. As my art practice evolves, I aim to move beyond the perspective of the individual. My current works explore the experiences of those who share my body type from the four corners of the world, different gender identities, ages, strata of society and those at intersections of disadvantage. Experimenting further with cross art-forms – visual and auditory – I aim to produce work that invites audiences to engage with these different perspectives and points of view to gain new insight and understanding of what it is like to be “a different kind of different”.

As an artist and academic my experimental approach to Critical Disability Aesthetics has been exhibited in both National and State galleries and festivals, published in chapters, discussed in interviews, presented at conferences and workshops.

I am a lecturer at Western Sydney University in Humanitarian and Development Studies, and my first PhD was in Psychology on the subject of Dehumanization. Currently studying for my second PhD in Visual Arts at Art & Design UNSW, my research focuses upon developing a Critical Disability Aesthetic through the representation of the female dwarf.

My practice is primarily focused on projects that involve story-telling at their core and reveal unique perspectives. First beginning in the screen industry, I am quite organically moving into theatre and performance-making. In 2020 Back to Back Theatre invited me to work as an associate producer for five months in the lead up to their first feature film Shadow. The film was created in collaboration with an ensemble of actors with perceived intellectual disabilities. Intertwined with the making of the film was an ambitious internship program, which I helped set up and run. The program supported 30 artists identifying as having a disability to work as paid interns across all departments. Back to Back have since employed me as a Guest Artist and Research Consultant, and have asked me to represent the company and film in Athens, New York City and Norway.

This project will develop a new work, INFLUENCE, exploring the effects of social media and publicity on our daily life and interactions with others. I will develop the new work alongside my professional skills in three phases:
1: Month-long Professional Development Residency with Back to Back Theatre;
2: Artistic Research Residency with Mammalian Diving Reflex;
3: Final writing phase, with mentorship by Rhian Hinkley.

I am a 35 year old comedian, writer and aspiring screenwriter living with cerebral palsy. I made my comedy debut in 2020 and from there have seen my career go from strength to strength taking out joint first place in the National Final of the Raw Comedy Competition at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2022. Later that year I was invited to take part in a writers room for Wil Anderson’s ABC panel show Question Everything (produced by CJZ). I have had an incredible 2023 so far being invited to give a TEDX talk (2022) as part of their TEDX Byron Bay Women programme where I shared my experience of owning my sexuality as a woman living with disability.

This funding will support a live show & creative screenwriting development, promotion and accessibility project.

Dr Bon Mott is a transdisciplinary artist, curator, and educator based in Naarm (Melbourne). Their artistic practice revolves around site-specific process-driven sculpture installations incorporating performance art, drawing inspiration from Indigenous and Western European science of lightning.

The project supports R&D into the science of lightning to create and document process-driven installations and activations. This is a one-year transdisciplinary research-based project with an outcome of mixed-media ceiling installations and activations. Through the intersection of art and personal experience, the project focus is the science of lightning informed by my nonbinary identity and neurological disability. The project involves research and development in the studio, on the ancient lands of Australia and building upon existing relationships of trust and collaboration with artists and arts workers, fostering a fast response and creating a diverse network of collaborators through mentorship from First Nations creatives and lightning and cosmic ray scientists in and Turtle Island (USA) to expand my networks while creating innovative artworks that explore themes of identity, science, and social change.

A killer Music Director, MC, Composer, Sound Designer, DJ, Music Dramaturg and Performance Maker, Kim ‘Busty Beatz’ Bowers has been making fearless art to activate, pollinate and liberate for over 30 years. Of Xhosa heritage and living on Yuggera country, she creates sonic experiences intersecting disciplines, politics and soundlines with a focus on giving voice to stories which are unseen and unheard.

This project supports Bowers to research and develop ‘Confessions of the Brutally Blessed – A Survival Handbook’ giving voice to the untold story of Legacy, Medicine, and Revolution. By developing a series of electrifying performances, theatrical captures and sonic collaborations, this new work is a journey of love, loss, death and joy as Busty Beatz confronts her past, present, and future after being diagnosed with Breast Cancer, undertaking chemotherapy and a left breast mastectomy. With themes of body sovereignty, historical pathologising of Black Female Body throughout medical history and finding joy, ‘Confessions of the Brutally Blessed’ is an honest and unflinching exploration of what it means to be an artist living in the space known as the in-between.

Luke is a director, movement, and multi-disciplinary artist. Luke is also an artist living with Down Syndrome and he is not happy about it. He longs to be seen and critiqued as an artist – not as an artist living with a disability. In III he is putting his art to the test through anonymity, abstraction and distance.

III is a trilogy of cross art form investigations directed by Luke John Campbell. In the winter of 2025 The CHAIN [2021], The BRIDGE [2022] and the BOND [2023-24] will be presented in a fully immersive experience at Plimsoll Gallery at the University of Tasmania School of the Arts Hobart Campus. Through the use of performance, installation, motion capture, audio and video manipulations, III confronts reality, space, time and the ties between place and people. The work explores the conceptual space between who we think we see and our expectations of them; Where we think we are and where we belong. Viewers are invited to question what and who they are seeing and consider whether they judge a book by its cover.

I’m a Deaf multi-disciplinary artist living and working in Victoria. I work with performance art, dance performance, sculpture, textile, poetry and Auslan poetry, drawing and painting. I recently completed my Masters of Contemporary Art at VCA at Melbourne Uni. I moved towards multi-disciplinary practices in 2019, delving into my Deaf history and experiences to realise there was a lot of unresolved issues with the Deaf community around oppression, audism, and displacement and my personal experiences as a Deaf person.

This project involves developing a large scale works on paper through a printmaking residency informing my perspectives. My project will focus on informing my personal perspectives and experiences using my drawing, painting and printmaking practice, including textile elements on a large-scale watercolour paper around 3-4 m long and 1 m high. I will be exploring and unpacking my identity and issues with housing using houses and buildings as stories on paper. I will be in residency using the printmaking facilities at Baldessin Press in St Andrews, Melbourne to develop further my printmaking skills under the mentor support of Silvi Glattauer and to create the new work at Baldessin in July 2024.

I am a disabled artist practicing opera in Sydney. As a part of my performance practice, I have recently finished a Bachelor’s Degree on full scholarship and with first class honours at the Sydney Conservatorium. I have also recently completed a Diploma of Language Studies at the University of Sydney. I have several performances lined up, including Mrs Grose in Britten’s ‘The Turn of the Screw’, and Donna Elvira in Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’. I am also undertaking private study with teachers from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in the interim between my bachelor’s and master’s degree.

I am planning to undertake a Masters of Arts (Vocal Performance) commencing in September this year at the Royal Academy of Music, London, with a partial scholarship. I will be working with some of the most esteemed pedagogues and professionals from the international opera community in order to continue to further foster my development as a young opera singer. I will be working closely with international mezzo-soprano Catherine Wyn-Rogers as my teacher, as well as a number of other professionals including Yvonne Kenny AM for the study of Mozart and Handel arias and Kate Paterson as the head of vocal studies. The program will run for two years, and will lead me to further opera study or work.

My artistic journey spans over a decade and includes significant international recognition in contemporary dance. I’ve had the privilege of working with renowned dance creators including Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant, Hans van den Broeck, Damien Jalet, and Hofesh Shechter. My drive is to create and present surprisingly real dance works to diverse audiences, with a “local focus, global outlook” ethos. I run a project-based dance company – the only disability and First Nations-led arts organisation in the country, from our home base in regional SA.

This project is a 12-month mentorship with acclaimed artistic director and choreographer, Russell Maliphant OBE. It involves a comprehensive development of artistic skills, leadership capabilities, and capacity building for international arts leaders. Activities include structured professional development sessions, individual project creation, and guidance in operating a 21st-century dance company. The mentorship includes a blend of physical and virtual interaction, with periods spent in the UK and Australia. The outcome is a new choreographed work, international repertoire of a global standard performed by Australian artists with a disability with performance outcomes, and refined operational strategies for my dance company, contributing to the global dance arts landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions

The initiative is designed to support a wide variety of arts project or career development activities, including the creation of new work, career development, mentoring, residencies, research and development presentation and promotion.

Supported activities must last no longer than two years from the proposed start date.

The Australia Council expects that all artists and arts workers employed or engaged on Australia Council-funded activities will be remunerated for their work. Peers assessing applications for the Arts and Disability Initiative will consider remuneration when they look at the viability of your activity. You should make provision in your budget for appropriate payment of artists and arts workers. For more information, refer to the Australia Council policy on the payment of artists.

Artists and arts workers with disability face barriers in formal arts education and training. They have very diverse professional and career development parthways which need to be tailored to individual requirements and circumstances. Show how your project will have a positive effect on your practice and career, externing your arts practice, networks, skills and ambition of you and your collaborators. You can consider mentoring as an option (see below), or any of the following activities:

  • formal or informal training
  • feedback, critical reflection or peer review from your collaborators
  • work placements, internships or learning and development activities with an industry or organisational partner
  • structured learning and development activities with your collaborators, including peer-to-peer learning
  • workshops or time spent with Elders, senior artists or community leaders
  • documentation of your learning and development.

Mentoring is any supportive relationship that encourages the sharing of knowledge, skills and experience. Mentoring can be structured or informal and can include peer-to-peer mentoring.  Peer-to-peer mentoring assumes an even playing field and exchange of knowledge in the relationship, where everyone involved contributes and learns from different perspectives and experience. For the purposes of this initiative, mentoring is interpreted very broadly and is informed by the needs and priorities of the applicant. The Australia Council for the Arts Guide to Mentoring is a useful reference.

Australia Council staff are available to assist you in understanding the purpose of the grant, application requirements, and submitting your application. Staff can assist over email, phone, Teams, Zoom, and, where possible, in person.

We do not review draft applications. However, we can discuss any specific questions or issues you have about your application.

If you need help writing your application, we encourage you to contact one of the arts and disability peak bodies. A list of those peak bodies, along with further accessibility resources, is here.

Yes. We encourage you to submit your application using our online system. You can submit your application in any way that is accessible to you. Other formats include Auslan, audio, video, printed, dictated, electronic and handwritten format.

Contact the Artists Services team to discuss your needs well in advance of the closing date.

Applications to the Arts and Disability Initiative will be assessed by artists and arts worker across art forms and across states and territories. Most of the assessors will identify as d/Deaf or disabled.

No. You will be asked whether or not you identify as d/Deaf or a person with disability.

The information you choose to share about yourself in your application is entirely up to you. When outlining your project and your professional development activity, some applicants may choose to share information about their lived experience and how this informs their practice, access requirements, or needs and plans for professional development. There is no obligation to disclose anything other than information you feel comfortable sharing to enable the panel to assess your application.

If you are successful in receiving this funding, you will have the option of not publishing your name as a recipient of the Arts and Disability Initiative. Please advise Artists Services if you do not want to be publicly identified.

The initiative is not designed to provide indirect funding to organisations. Applications are only open to individuals and groups. Contact Artists Services if you are unsure.

Yes, but note that the initiative is not designed to provide indirect funding to organisations. Your proposal must demonstrate that the artist or arts worker with disability will have creative control of the project. Contact Artists Services to discuss your application if you are unsure.

If you are unable to complete the application form, a support worker or other person helping you with the application can sign on your behalf.