This month for the First Friday Club the NSW Writers’ Centre had Jill Eddington and Lina Kastoumis from the Australia Council in to talk about grants. The Australia Council is an organisation that supports the arts in Australia. Essentially they want Australia to a have a visible and vibrant art sector, promote Australian artists overseas and within Australia, and cherish Indigenous artists. Grants is one of the ways in which they do this. Even after huge budget cuts inflicted by the government they still endevour to suppprt Australian artists. But let’s get to the bit you want to read about, grants.
There are two main types of grants that individual artists tended to apply for, Project Grants and Development Grants. Writers are considered to be artists, as the Australia Council uses the term to refer to painters, poets, performers, and most other creative types. Which is nice, we really all are artists, we just use different mediums and tools. Project Grants are for things like writing and researching a new book. It’s concerned with the doing and creating of a project. Development Grants are to do with professional skills. That means, training, courses, mentorships, presenting etc.
What did Jill Eddington and Lina Kastoumis say about writing a good application?
Ask yourself, “Does my art deserve public funding?” If the answer is no, don’t do it, if the answer is yes, proceed.
Immerse yourself in your art. Don’t apply for a grant on a whim. Study, train, write.
Get published. It doesn’t have to be a novel but you need some sort of proof that you’re serious about your craft. Being published in literary magazines such as the Lifted Brow and Overland shows that you’re serious and have been engaging with the industry.
Use clear language. Trying to throw in as many academic words as you can won’t impress anyone. Say what you mean.
Make sure that you’re writing is engaging. Show your passion. Demonstrate your writing chops. You get to attach a CV so save your boring dot points for there, show your skills as a writer in the application as well as your enthusiasm for your subject.
Express why you are writing your project, why it has to be you writing it, why it’s important, and why it’s important to the public.
Don’t write anything “batshit crazy.” (Well that’s me out forever)
Call up the council and ask for adivice. They’re there to help and support you in your application. Let them help you.
Do you have a “sexy CV”? Then this could be for you because you can be more direct and step by step in it.
This grant is about the potential of the artist and devloping that potential.
You need to prove it is viable. Be realistic. Don’t say you’ll finish a novel in two weeks. Don’t ask for your opium habbit to be funded.
Outline your plan. How is that plan achievable and how will it work.
Clearly state the impact the development will have on your career. Also clearly state how that will translate to the public interest. You are asking for government funding, so it needs to be in the best interest of the public.
Again, call them. Call them, call them, call them. They can give you individual advice on your application. The more you tell them the better the information they can give you so don’t be cagey and paranoid with details.
So head on over to the Australia Council website to get all their contact details and application forms. October is the deadline for the next round of grants. Best of luck.
I look forward to seeing everyone next month. And especially to seeing the cake.