Jon Halpin, SA
When did you think that you could contribute as a peer?
That’s a tricky question to answer as it was never something I consciously thought about or aspired to. Nor was there a particular moment where I felt I was now ready. In 2002, I received my first board appointment and that very much made me feel I was recognised by my peers as having sound judgement and experience – at least at a local level in Brisbane.
Does being a peer give another dimension to your practise?
Being an assessor allows you a deeper insight into the thought processes, development approaches and underlying artistic philosophies of your colleagues and peers than you would get from just viewing their work.
I’ve had the opportunity of sitting on other panels assessing different artforms, and although I’ve found it difficult comparing apples and oranges, it’s given me a deeper understanding and appreciation of artists working in other mediums.
If you could give one tip to someone being a peer for the first time – what would it be?
I’m going to cheat and give two!
First, begin immediately and pace yourself. There’s usually time to comfortably get through all of the applications if you start straight away and do 2, 3 or even 4 or 5 a night. Personally, I’ve found in the past my assessment skills are compromised if I’m trying to do too many in one sitting.
Secondly, set aside time to closely look at the support material. It’s what can separate the applications that are fairly evenly weighted, and can even sway your opinion of the whole application when you see the standard of work the artist or group has been producing.
What have you learnt from being a peer?
I’ve learnt how tough and competitive it is to receive funding, but also, how resilient, responsive, inventive, intelligent and supportive our artists and arts organisations are.
It feels like we’ve entered a pretty tough time in the arts at the moment, and I worry deeply about the future of many organisations and artists, but I also feel we’ll get through it if we keep making our voices heard and keep creating great work.