Career Fund: Some Tips from the Selection Panel

March 31, 2011

As part of its Cultural Fund, the Copyright Agency currently allocates $100,000 per year to support individual Australian creators and those involved in the creative industries who wish to develop their skills and take their careers to the next level.

Funding for this Career Fund is split into four rounds over the course of a year, with $25,000 available each round.

Applicants can apply for grants of up to $5,000 to undertake training or other activities that will enhance their careers. The fund was launched just over a year ago and amalgamated two separate funds – the Publishers’ Career Fund.

Applications are reviewed by a selection panel of three experts from the publishing and visual arts industries and chaired by Cultural Fund Manager, Zoë Rodriguez. Over the past year, the panel members included publishing consultant Linda Nix, author Rosie Scott and visual arts consultant Christopher Menz.

Linda, Rosie and Christopher met at the end of January to assess applications for the most recent round of funding. Forty applications were received for a total of $142,943. With $25,000 available for allocation, it was a competitive round, making the decision making process all the more difficult.

All panelists agreed that applications should clearly address the application guidelines, setting out what individuals want to do with their projects and how it will benefit their careers.

Here are some tips:

  • Applications should avoid jargon.
    Long-winded submissions are also difficult to read. Think about  getting someone to read through your application before sending it in.
  • Include evidence to support your application.
    ‘If you have an invitation to present at a festival or event, then provide a copy of it,’ says Linda.
  • Be passionate.
    Rosie likes to see ‘the sense of real excitement and passion about an application that sweeps you up’.

The panel receives many worthy applications each round and often has to make difficult decisions.

‘We think if we can partially fund them then that’s better than nothing,’ says Rosie.

‘In my experience, if I’ve had some kind of funding, it was the affirmation that was more important – that someone actually thought I was good enough for them to fund me. I think that’s a really important thing for an artist.’

When assessing applications, the panel is mindful of what stage in their career the applicant has reached and how appropriate it is for them to be at the course or event they have set out to attend.

Linda, Rosie and Christopher enjoyed being on the assessment panel together over the past year, and note that the panel discussions are crucial to the selection process.

‘Discussion has changed the outcome for some of the applications,’ said Christopher.

At the Copyright Agency’s annual general meeting in November 2010, members voted to increase the amount allocated to the Cultural Fund from 1% to 1.5% of CAL’s licensing revenue. Following this increase, our board of directors has given approval to increase the amount available for the Career Fund from $100,000 to $150,000 per year which is set to come into place in 2011.

Rosie, Christopher and Linda all agreed at their last assessment meeting that, if it were available, they could certainly allocate more funding for the applications received by the Career Fund. They noted that it’s an excellent system that works very well in assisting many artists and writers.

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