Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund grants support income generating opportunities for writers, visual artists and sector organisations and a new Fellowship for Young Writers

December 5, 2022

Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund today announces grants to 21 Australian organisations to provide critical financial and income-generating support for writers and visual artists, support for larger and capital city writers’ festivals, Create Grants for writers and visual artists, and the announcement of the Copyright Agency Frank Moorhouse Fellowship for Young Writers.

The Cultural Fund has approved grants to 21 organisations for a total of $274,517, of which $254,517 will be paid in 2022/23 to Australian organisations. The major capital city writers’ festivals and Byron Writers’ Festival will also receive a total of $100,000 to promote and raise the profile of Australian writers and to reach more readers.

In addition, the Cultural Fund has awarded Create Grants of $25,000 each to two writers and two visual artists.

Copyright Agency CEO Josephine Johnston says, “The latest round of Cultural Fund grants is focused on providing writers and artists with financial support to allow them to create new work and through our grants to organisations, providing much-needed grants to writing and visual arts organisations to create income generating opportunities for creators and to ensure they are paid appropriately for their work.

“The new Copyright Agency Frank Moorhouse Fellowship for Young Writers is a fitting tribute to one of our finest writers and recognises Frank Moorhouse’s instrumental role in setting up the Copyright Agency to ensure Australian creators received fair recompense for the copying and sharing of their valuable works. Frank Moorhouse passed away earlier this year and this Fellowship honours his ongoing support and mentorship of young writers. Valued at $10,000, Fellowship applications will open early next year for a young fiction writer aged 18-35.”

Macquarie University recently released its 2022 National Survey of Australian Book Authors, revealing the average income of an author is $18,200 per annum. While this figure has grown from $12,900 in 2012/13 it does little to account for wages increases over the past 10 years or for the more recent downward pressure on incomes due to inflation. The 2022 average author income is well below the national average income of $69,888 for full-time adult workers, according to the latest August figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“We need to ensure that Australian writers and artists are paid fairly for their work, and that their work is valued, to guarantee the sustainability of Australia’s vibrant cultural heritage. Investing in our writers and artists also enriches our education sectors with new and diverse voices, which is fundamental in fostering understanding and improving cultural and educational outcomes,” adds Ms Johnston.

As the philanthropic arm of the Copyright Agency, the Cultural Fund focuses on supporting opportunities for writers and visual artists at all career stages and from diverse backgrounds. The fund provides grants to leading organisations for projects that support Australian writers, visual artists and key industry stakeholders in the writing, publishing, education and visual arts sectors.

This year’s Create Grants were assessed by two peer panels. Writing applications were assessed by Andy Jackson, Anwen Crawford and Karen Wyld; and applications from visual artists were assessed by Fiona Foley, Shivanjani Lal and Phuong Ngo.

The four successful recipients will each receive Create Grants worth $25,000 for the following projects:

  • Author, Jessica Au (Melbourne, Victoria) to develop a work of literary fiction, The New Evening, which follows on from her successful novel Cold Enough for Snow and explore the idea of intellectual and personal coming-of-age.
  • Author, Tiffany Tsao (Sydney, NSW) will write BUT WON’T I MISS ME?, a philosophical speculative fiction work that is set in a society where women who give birth to children also give birth to a new version of themselves.
  • Non-Indigenous visual artist, Alana Hunt (Kununurra, Western Australia) will create Surveilling a Crime Scene, an ambitious collection of still and moving film works forging a tapestry of evidence that reveals colonisation, not as history, but as a continuum.
  • Visual artist, Siying Zhou (Melbourne, Victoria) to develop a cross-disciplinary installation If the earth was not curvature, our eastern tunes would have collided with yours, exploring the relationship between the representation of Chinese culture and performance art in the West.

Organisations to secure funding for key projects include:

  • Left Bank Literary for Open Book: Australian Publishing Internships, which will place three interns at six book publishing companies across NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Building on the successful pilot program that provided support for two aspiring First Nations publishing professionals, the latest funding will offer critical operational support in extending the program that seeks to foster cultural diversity in the Australian publishing industry.
  • Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation for The Storyline Program, which will promote Indigenous artists to audiences through a series of demonstrations and artist talks that will be supported by an Indigenous curator across all three days of the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair.
  • Australian Society of Authors for the Copyright Agency Mentorship Program, with 16 mentorships, each offering 20 hours of mentoring, for developing and mid-career writers and illustrators, as well as writers wishing to change genre; and illustrators and writers from diverse and marginalised backgrounds and remote and regional areas. These mentorships aim to support increased diversity in Australian publishing by providing practical and moral support and developing capacity building for income-generation opportunities.
  • Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) for Creatives Visit CBCA Shadow Judges Program, which will see 37 children’s literary creatives invited into 37 groups of young people, from schools, libraries, childcare centres and community groups. The groups will read six shortlisted books in one category of the CBCA Book of the Year Awards to discuss the books embedding young voices into the literary awards conversation, facilitating broader reading, and connecting the creatives with their readers.

For 2022/23 the Cultural Fund strongly encourages all funded organisations to pay minimum industry rates to writers and visual artists. The priority is to support projects that offer significant opportunities for writers and visual artists to promote their work to audiences and for publication and exhibition outcomes.

Copyright Agency CEO Josephine Johnston says, “Stretching the Cultural Fund’s allocation across the many excellent projects remains an ongoing challenge but we are absolutely delighted the Create Grants will directly assist the lives and work of these mid-career writers and artists, and that the funded key programs from 21 organisations will deliver greater outcomes and impact for writers and visual artists.

View the full list of funded projects here.

Media Enquiries:

Jane Morey | morey media | e: | m: 0416 097 678

 About the Copyright Agency

The not-for-profit Copyright Agency connects users and creators of content, providing licenses for the use of copyright material such as text, images, art, and survey plans. We manage the educational and government licenses for the use of text and images, as well as the resale royalty scheme for artists (by Government appointment). Our members include writers, artists, surveyors, and publishers. Membership is free.

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