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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.

Yousef is a multi-talented, and award-winning person with disability (Palestinian-Australian).
In 2010, Yousef co-founded Jafra Band with two Australian musicians, which presented contemporary Arab music with western instruments, and performed in 20 fundraisers (for free) for several Australian charities. In 2019, Yousef led the establishment of Tarab Ensemble, which has evolved today to be Australia’s leading and largest ensemble dedicated to instrumental classical Arab music. While Tarab ensemble started at the hands of multi-faith Arabic speaking musicians, the vision of the ensemble has expanded to encompass non-Arab musicians, which is a testimony of the beauty, richness and diversity of Arabic music and its ability to attract musicians from different cultures around it.
Besides music, Yousef is an academic, translator/ interpreter, writer, podcast producer, curriculum developer, and refugee advocate. From 2004 to 2012, he taught Arabic language and culture at Deakin University and subsequently the University of Melbourne, during which he authored several publications on Arabic language resource development. In 2007, Yousef founded ASPIRE; an initiative that provides legal and language support to stateless Palestinians fleeing war zones, which has so far led to the resettlement of more than 250 stateless Palestinian to Australia. Yousef’s initiatives have gained local and international recognition and media coverage. He has won numerous Australian and Arab awards in recognition of his work for the Arab community in Australia, the last of which is the Eureka Australia Medal (EAM) in 2017 and The Palestinian of the Year in 2021 from the The Lady of the Earth Foundation- Palestine.
Since 2013, Yousef has been leading Averroes Centre of Arab Culture”, a not-for-ptofit organization that advances mutual understanding between the Arabic speaking communities of Victoria and wider Australia, and on the other hand, between Australia and the Arab countries via music and knowledge.

Booth is a disabled artist living on unceded Whadjuk country in Wayalup WA. His recent work uses participation and large sculptural forms to create experiential works that challenge the able bodied to navigate a world that is uncomfortable by design. His constructed experiences poke fun at the assumptions many people have surrounding disability and yet they also leave lasting impressions that engender a deeper response from the audience.

He was a resident at Fremantle Arts Centre (2019), Testing Grounds, Melbourne (VIC) (2019), PICA (2017) and North Metropolitan TAFE (2017). He’s exhibited at the The Joondalup Invitation art Prize (WA) 2019, Firstdraft (NSW) 2019, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (NSW) 2020, PICA (WA) 2020, The Joondalup Invitation art Prize (WA) 2021, Art Gallery of Western Australia (WA) 2021, Fremantle Biennale (WA) 2021, Goolugatup/Heathcoate (WA) 2022, Granville Art Centre (NSW) 2022 and John Curtin Gallery (WA) 2022. He was selected for NextWave 2020 (NextWave X artist), PICA Salon 2020, FinePrint Journal (SA) 2020 Proximity Festival (NAT) 2020 and Performing Lines Creative Hub (WA) 2021 participating artist and Performing Lines Creative Hub (WA) 2022 as a facilitating artist. He has been the recipient of a number of grants including City of Melbourne Arts Grant (2019), DLGSC U15k Grant (2019), DLGSC 15k+ Grant (2020) and a DLGSC U15k Grant (2021).

Booth is working on shows for The Art Gallery of Western Australia (WA) 2022, PICA (WA) 2023 and The University of Tasmania (TAS) 2023.

Acclaimed International disabled choreographer Marc Brew trained as a professional dancer at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School and The Australian Ballet School. He has been working Internationally for over 24 years as a director, choreographer, dancer, teacher and speaker. Marc was Associate Director with Scottish Dance Theater, Associate Artistic Director with Ballet Cymru in Wales, Associate Artist in 2015 at Tramway Theater in Scotland and Artistic Director of AXIS Dance Company 2017-2021. Marc has been commissioned to create works for dance companies including Scottish Ballet, Candoco Dance Company, Hessisches Staatsballett, San Francisco Ballet, CODA/Den Norske Opera & Ballet, Dancing Wheels, AXIS Dance Company and Infinity Dance Theater. For more information visit: 

“I am a 23 year old multidisciplinary artist who uses a wheelchair as a structure to support physical independence and artistic practice.

I work with drawing, film, sound and projection, often combining all to experiment with concepts and ideas. My ideas tend to grow from sound and storytelling.

I enjoy imagining a world I can move about in with freedom and am drawn to dogs and cars which seem to be the loudest things in my immediate neighbourhood.

I have been developing as a multidisciplinary artist since 2017 when I made a short film, WOOF, which included the creation of an original soundtrack using sampling from local dogs (with their and their owners’ permissions). Following on from WOOF I worked on an Australia Council funded projects, Mixed Reality (2017-18) and SEVEN in (2020-21), to create sound and lens-based works evolving into my WONDERCHAIR.

Using my WONDERCHAIR I created photographic works for the CLAIMING SPACE exhibition with Sam Kerr for 10 Nights In Port in Fremantle (August 2022).

At the same time, I was selected for Performing Lines WA’s Kolyang Lab and Hub working with Lead Mentor, Carolione Bowditch.”

Dan Graham is a young director. He holds BA, MCA (Theatre), specialising in directing, from UTAS and Honours in Performance Studies from The University of Sydney. For his Honours paper he focused on the playwright’s intent and how this is realised in the director’s vision. For this, as it had an Australian focus, he interviewed over twenty five Australian directors and playwrights, many of whom had collaborated on new works. He enjoys working on a play and bringing new perspectives to the performance whilst remaining true to the playwright’s/artist’s intent.”

Julian has been in the arts industry for over twenty years. Completing his training at the Centre for Performing Arts (now ACArts) in 1999, Julian has worked extensively with Adelaide theatre companies including Chopt Logic and Michael Allen Productions. Initially trained as a dancer, Julian choreographed Centrelink the Musical for the 2008 Adelaide Fringe and 2009 Melbourne Fringe festivals.  

 While working at Autism SA in 2009 Julian launched an all-autistic theatre company – Company AT. In 2012 Julian moved Company AT under the umbrella of Tutti Arts. Julian was writer and director of Company AT’s works Framed Out and History of Autism and directed Impersonal Space. Since at Tutti Julian has also expanded the company with a theatre workshop program for young people aged 13-17 years. 

 Julian’s directorial style is dynamic in its physicality and he has a unique way of immersing the audience in the content. Julian takes a lateral approach to teaching Autistic actors making abstract concepts concrete and easy to understand and then relating them back to script. Julian will continue to use Company AT as a vehicle for social change for people on the Autism Spectrum.   

I create art based on my Aboriginal heritage. It helps me greatly with knowing who I am and where I come from. It helps me connect with my Anaiwin culture, Traditional Custodians of the New England area of NSW. While I live in Western Australia, and experience the wonders of the Pilbara, I am strong in my identity and proud to be part of the oldest living culture in the world. My art is also an experimental journey in media/mediums to tell the stories from my childhood along with my inspirations from everyday life – being a mother and a creative woman in my own right.

I also believe art helps build good mental health by freeing the mind of the everyday stresses of life by letting you rest and connect to your creative side. Whilst working in several jobs with various community service sector agencies over the years I have always found ways to use my passion for art as a tool to connect to Elders, families, communities, and all walks of life, from the littles ones to adults.

It works to uplift oneself and inspires good feelings in people whilst it strengthens families and communities. My involvement in the Pilbara is ongoing both as an independent artist and as a member of Wangaba Roebourne Aboriginal Art Group. Unfortunately, I suffered a stroke on Christmas Day 2020 and, for now, I am based in Perth with family members whilst I undergo continuing rehabilitation.

Remastering my fine motor skills is a priority for me – mentally, emotionally, and physically – as artistic expression is such a fundamental part of what makes me, me. Art as therapy has always been something I believe is an essential part of the wholistic healing process and in this season, it has been a godsend for me as I explore completely new ways of expressing my creativity. Watch this space😊

While in Perth I have been invited to Beananing Kwuurt Institute, 188 Treasure Road Queens Park, I am helping build the profile of the centre in the creative and cultural art space. A place previously known as Sister Kate’s Children’s Home. Place Aboriginal children were removed to from the families to live. Although initially to help Aboriginal families. I am now the Art Director on a volunteer basis and a Director on the Board. I do best I can with my stroke deficits.

Dr Melinda Smith OAM is a dancer, poet and visual artist who lives with cerebral palsy and relies primarily on speech-generating devices to communicate. Melinda performed her first solo work Spasmotive as a part of her residency with the Women*s Circus in 2018, and has performed dance pieces internationally. In 2020, Melinda became a Director of the Board of the Women*s Circus,” where she is also a founding member of their inclusive ensemble, Momentum. In 2023, Melinda will be Artist in Residence at Victorian College of the Arts, located in the School of Dance.

Amanda Tink is a blind and neurodivergent creative, personal and academic essayist. Her essays have been published in a range of venues including Sydney Review of Books, Overland, ArtsHub, Seizure, Wordgathering, Australian Literary Studies, and Southerly. She lives in front of her laptop and braille display with good coffee nearby and tweets at @amandatink.

Dr Ken Thaiday

Dr Ken Thaiday is an artist and a very proud Torres Strait Islander from Darnley Island.

He now resides in Cairns with his family, where he currently does all his artwork from home.

Dr Ken Thaiday has many artworks available for viewing in galleries in Australia and overseas. His passion for his artwork has taken him around the world to share his culture.

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.