Rennie McDougall, VIC
What is the best and worst thing about being an assessor?
The best about being an assessor is having the opportunity to be part of the conversation about the arts in this country, about what ideas and practices are being valued, and to be able to champion those that may be under-recognised. The worst part is that a line has to be drawn somewhere, and not every project that deserves support will get it.
What should peers know before assessing?
I hope they would know why they feel so strongly about their artistic field, and that that compels them to argue for the art that they value.
Karla Hart, WA
If you were to encourage a colleague to become a Peer – what would you tell them…
About the time commitment required?
The time commitment being a peer is very important that it is not rushed. Allow yourself around 20 minutes to go through each application, as it is very important you assess everybody fairly by reading the whole application and studying the supportive material. Sometimes if things do not make sense you will find yourself spending more time looking over in finer detail for clarification.
You have learned about your sector?
I have learned that my sector is underfunded. There are amazing individuals, projects and organisations that are creating such a beautiful spaces in the community. It is so inspiring, but there is just not enough funding to go around, which as a peer can be quite emotional when things are ranked on the other side of the coin. On the other hand many projects become a reality, which is very exciting to see.
Does everyone agree in the assessment meetings? What should you be prepared to do?
Not everyone agrees in the assessment meeting and sometimes we will fight for applications we really feel deserve to move up in the rank, (by talking in detail about why you value that application). Sometimes you have to let it go by trusting and respecting your peers and going with the majority as we all bring different skills and experience to the table.
What have you enjoyed most about being a peer?
I have enjoyed being a peer as it is wonderful to see so much talent, inspiration and drive in our arts community Australia wide. I have also enjoyed meeting new people on the peer panel who are also contributing on major levels in our communities.