Register of Peers

Peers and peer assessment

Each year, the Australia Council delivers more than $200 million in funding for arts organisations and individual artists across the country. Independence from Government (also known as the arm’s length principle) and peer assessment are fundamental to our decision making. These principles ensure that grants are offered to artists and arts organisations whose proposals, in competition with those of other applicants and within budget constraints, demonstrate the highest degree of merit against the published assessment criteria.

A peer is anyone who has sufficient knowledge or experience of the arts sector to make a fair and informed assessment of applications for funding. This knowledge and experience could be developed in one or more of the roles of a practising artist, artsworker or industry expert in one or more artforms.

The Council is implementing a new Peer Assessment Panel system in response to our new Act. From May 2014 the Peer Assessment process will be made up of a number of permanent panels with rotating membership. This provides greater diversity and breadth of peer involvement, and increased flexibility in responding to the specific needs of each grant assessment round. 

What do Peers do?

Peers participating in an assessment panel review all of the applications for the grant round/s they are assessing, score them against the published assessment criteria, and make recommendations for funding to the Council. The Peer Handbook (available as a PDF or Word document) provides more detail on the role of Peers.

Getting involved as a peer can be a very rewarding experience as well as a professional development opportunity. Our current peers often say it broadens their knowledge of both the sector and our programs, and they welcome the opportunity to give something back to the sector.

Click here to listen to what some of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peers have to say about the role. 

How do you apply to become a Peer?

The Council maintains a Register of Peers: a database of people who have nominated their interest in being a peer assessor for one of the Council’s assessment panels. Artists, artsworkers and industry experts can sign up to the Register using the self-nomination form, accessed once you have logged into the Australia Council for the Arts Online system. People with an impairment that makes accessing the online system difficult can request a hardcopy or electronic form by emailing

The self-nomination form can be completed at any time. At certain points in the year staff will review the nominations to shortlist a group of peers with the expertise and diversity required to assess at that time. Peers on the Register may be contacted at any time if additional capacity or specific skills are required.

Online Scorecard guide for external assessors (4.47 mins) from Australia Council for the Arts on Vimeo.

Who to contact

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