Please note: Some of the content on this page was published prior to the launch of Creative Australia and references the Australia Council. Read more.

How we assess applications

‘Summoning the Nereid Nerdz’ by Ella Barclay, Soft Centre Festival 2018. Credit: Charl Anfield

Become an Assessor

We are now accepting applications for people to join Creative Australia’s Pool of Peers for a three-year term starting January 2025 until the end of 2027.

Find out more and apply

Our purpose is to champion and invest in arts and creativity to benefit all Australians.

We invest using arm’s-length decision making (meaning all decisions are free of interference from the government), via Peer Assessment and/or Industry Advice. These have been guiding principles of our grants programs for over 40 years.

Our arm’s length assessment process gives artists and creative workers an opportunity to guide and influence investment decisions.

Eligible applications are assessed by one of the following methods:

  • Industry advice – where industry advisors assess relevant opportunities based on their practice expertise and advise us on the most competitive applications. Our staff, and in some cases the Board or a co-investment partner, determine which applications to fund. Read our FAQs below to find out more.
  • Staff assessment – where staff assess targeted or quick response applications and determine which applications to fund.

 

Decisions are based on:

  • how well applications meet the guidelines and criteria
  • advice put forward by other Peer Assessors or Industry Advisors
  • adherence to relevant protocols.

While applications may meet the assessment criteria, applicants are not guaranteed a grant. We receive many more applications than we can support.

FAQs

Peer assessment is where approved peer assessors are selected for relevant assessment panels by art form. Peers review and score applications against the assessment criteria and agree a final ranking. Our staff apply the budget available to this ranking.

Peers and Industry Advisors will primarily refer to the information supplied in applications and support material. They may also consider their own engagement with the work and relevant professional experience.

We have established ten peer assessment panels: First Nations, Arts and Disability, Community Arts and Cultural Development, Dance, Emerging and Experimental Arts, Literature, Multi-artform, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts.

The membership of these panels rotates, with peers selected from the peer pool in response to the grants being assessed.

We select peers who are both knowledgeable and representative by balancing the following factors:

  • artistic practice – artists and arts professionals with different artistic styles and philosophies, respected within their field.
  • professional specialisation – artists and arts professionals who perform a variety of different professional roles in the arts that are relevant to the category.
  • cultural diversity – artists and arts professionals representing the cultural mix of Australian society.
  • disability – artists and arts professionals with disability.
  • First Nations – representation of First Nations artists and arts professionals.
  • regions and communities – artists and arts professionals from different geographical regions.
  • gender
  • age – artists and arts professionals of different generations.

Learn more about our Assessment panels.

A peer assessor is anyone with enough knowledge or experience of the arts and cultural sector to make a fair and informed assessment of applications for funding.

This knowledge and experience could be developed as a practising artist, creative 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 investment in great applications.

How long is the commitment? 

Peer assessors become part of a peer pool. The current commitment as a peer assessor is for three years, from mid-2021 to mid-2024.

During that time, peers can expect to be invited to participate in between one and six assessment meetings.

You can view the list of peers in the current pool (2021–2024) and their location by downloading a PDF document, or an accessible Word document.

We need peer assessors who understand all parts of the creative process – from creating work and coordinating 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 from different states and regions, cultural backgrounds, ages, genders and abilities.

  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.

Applications for the current peer pool have now closed.

If you are interested in future opportunities, please email your details to assessment@creative.gov.au.

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

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

We aim to give peers 4-6 weeks to prepare, read and assess the applications.

Within this time, peers need to spend approximately a week reading and assessing 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 see the experience of previous peers for more on  the time commitment required.

Payment is set by the Remuneration Tribunal.

Currently peers are paid $750 per full meeting day. This is a stipend in 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 this collection of interviews.

If you travel to Sydney for an assessment meeting, Creative Australia pays for your travel and accommodation.

If you are required to stay overnight, you will also be paid a travel allowance to cover meals and incidental expenses.

Refer to the Peer Handbook for further details.

No, you can still apply for opportunities.

Please note: peers do not participate on panels assessing their own 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, or you are on the Board or work for an organisation applying) then we would need to know this upfront, as you will not be able to sit on that assessment panel.

If you know people who have applied or you have other connections with individuals, groups or organisations in the applications, we will assess the relationship as you describe it to us on a case by case basis.

This conflicts of interest animation provides more detail.

No.

All grant applications are now assessed by peers selected from our peer pool.

For each art form assessment panel, the peers participating changes each grant round.

Creative Australia has established ten peer assessment panels for our core grants programs: First Nations, 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 peer 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. The assessment officer guides you through the process, 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.

Creative Australia remains committed to arm’s-length peer assessment.

Due to COVID-19, we have adapted our processes and delivered peer assessment remotely.

We are always reviewing our processes to ensure we deliver the best possible funding outcomes.

For more detail, please refer to the Peer Handbook.

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

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

When we return to face-to-face meetings, peers who live in Sydney are encouraged to use public transport where possible.

Our 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
  • providing a translator
  • providing fees for support providers and family members who assist in carer roles
  • finding local office space or help accessing a computer
  • discussing how you can participate remotely if you are unable to travel.

Every situation is different. We encourage you to discuss specific needs with our team.

Our Conflicts of Interest and Confidentiality Policy ensures that any conflict of interest, whether actual or perceived, does not influence discussion about, or decisions on, grant applications.

In selecting people for a particular panel or assessment opportunity, our staff will ask you about potential connections between people and applicants or applications.

Assessors are obliged to acknowledge all connections they have with applicants and applications prior to assessment meetings. Our staff will determine what action to take on a case by case basis, depending on the context and nature of the connection. Actions that may be taken include:

  • minor, potential or remote conflicts of interest being noted
  • the assessor not being allowed to be present while an application is discussed and scored
  • the assessor not being able to participate in the assessment.

The nature of each conflict and the action taken is formally recorded.

Watch this animation for further details.

The Industry Advice model is where Industry Advisors assess relevant opportunities based on their practice expertise and advise us on the most competitive applications. Our staff, and in some cases the Board or a co-investment partner, determine which applications to fund.

An industry advisor is anyone  with  enough  knowledge or experience of the arts and cultural sector to provide advice and review applications that best meet the criteria or guidelines. This may include for awards, fellowships or international opportunities.

This knowledge and experience could be developed as a practising artist, arts or cultural professional or industry expert in one or more art forms. Our staff decide which applications will be supported based on this advice.

Peers and Industry Advisors will primarily refer to the information supplied in applications and support material. They may also consider their own engagement with the work and relevant professional experience.

There are several ways to become an industry advisor:

  • you can indicate your interest through the peer assessor application process
  • you may be tapped on the shoulder if your expertise is required; or
  • you can let a staff member know you are interested.

Please contact the Assessment team if you are interested in working with us as an industry advisor.

Email assessment@creative.gov.au or call 9215 9000 and ask to speak to a member of the assessment team.

The industry advisor model is not new. In fact, Industry Advisors have been helping support our decision making over many years. We’ve decided to use Advisors to assist in the Four-Year Investment assessment following our experience of the last round of funding. Going forward we want to ensure that the investments we make are in line with the goals and objectives in our corporate plan and create maximum impact. With a limited budget we must be careful that the decisions we are making best reflect those corporate objectives and deliver that impact.

We’ll call on Industry Advisors when making decisions that have significant impact relating to the strategic outcomes of our investment.  This includes large investment programs such as Four-Year Investment, the National Performing Arts Partnership Framework, and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy Leadership Organisations.

Peer assessment will continue to be used for project funding rounds such as Arts Projects, Playing Australia, and other such programs.

The important principle of arms-length funding is that we make our decisions at arm’s-lengths from government. All decisions, whether Peer Assessed or through Industry Advice, are arms-length and free of interference from the government of the day.

The complexity of investment in our funding streams makes it difficult in a peer assessment process to have a full appreciation of the implications of particular decisions across the full range of art practices – for example, where youth arts are represented in one artform but under-represented in another. Our executive involvement does not extend beyond our publicly stated strategic priorities.

Our Conflicts of Interest and Confidentiality Policy ensures that any conflict of interest, whether actual or perceived, does not influence discussion about, or decisions on, grant applications.

In selecting people for a particular panel or assessment opportunity, our staff will ask you about potential connections between people and applicants or applications.

Assessors are obliged to acknowledge all connections they have with applicants and applications prior to assessment meetings. Our staff will determine what action to take on a case by case basis, depending on the context and nature of the connection. Actions that may be taken include:

  • minor, potential or remote conflicts of interest being noted
  • the assessor not being allowed to be present while an application is discussed and scored
  • the assessor not being able to participate in the assessment.

The nature of each conflict and the action taken is formally recorded.

Watch this animation for further details.

If you have reason to believe that one of the below events has occurred in relation to your grant application you can ask for the funding decision to be reviewed.

    1. The preparation of your application was adversely affected by incorrect advice or information given to you by a staff member prior to submitting your application; or
    2. Based on publicly available information, or feedback we provide you after your application has been assessed, you believe your application was not assessed in accordance with the published assessment process or criteria for the grant category you applied to.

    Your request for a review of the decision-making process can be made in writing to our General Counsel via email at: feedback@creative.gov.au. Your request must be received within 28 days from the date of the letter notifying you of the decision about your application or proposal or within 28 days from the date you receive feedback about your application.

    To be eligible, your request must state the ground(s) on which you believe your application or proposal has been adversely affected and give your reasons for claiming that ground. General Counsel will consider the request to ensure it meets one or both of the above mandatory reasons for a request for review. For your request to be eligible, the reason/s you state must be relevant to the ground/s for review that you have claimed. General Counsel does not decide the merits of the request. If your request is found to be ineligible General Counsel will advise you in writing of the reasons for that decision.

    If your request, and grounds for the request, supports one of the above reasons, the request will be forwarded to the Decisions Review Committee to make a determination. The Decisions Review Committee is made up of a minimum of three Board members. The Decisions Review Committee’s function is to review the decision-making process for a particular funding decision to ensure that correct procedures and due process have been followed, not to reconsider the artistic merits of an application.

    If your matter is referred to the Decisions Review Committee you will be advised in writing, within 28 days of their meeting, of the outcome.

    Alternatively if you wish to provide feedback on the grant assessment process please refer to our Feedback Management Policy.

More information

Assessment panels
Current assessors
Become an assessor
Peer alumni

Webinars

In this session you will learn what a peer assessor is, 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.