Emerging & Experimental Peers

Christy Dena, QLD – Emerging & Experimental Peer


"I have loved being of service, championing artists, art forms, and artistic approaches."

If you were to encourage a colleague to become a Peer – what wisdom would you share?

There is time needed to read over the applications and watch their accompanying videos and then there is the days you are in Sydney for the in-person discussions. All of this time is compensated and materials are issued weeks before they are due.

About what you have learned about your sector?

I have learned a lot from the applications -- what an effective one feels like: the language, the perspective, the care and detail, along with the vision and possibility. I have learned a lot about the history of the sector, and the patterns of focus over time. 


Does everyone agree in the assessment meetings? What should you be prepared to do?

Not everyone agrees, and that is the point. There is a meant to be a range of views in the room. It is our job as peers to champion the artists. So we're not just assessing people, we're thinking about their proposal and putting forward arguments on the artist's behalf. This means you should be prepared to discuss, put forward your arguments, and listen to others. 

What have you enjoyed most about being a peer?

I have loved the discussions about practice, and the history of the sector(s). I have loved getting to know the fellow peers through this process. I have loved being of service, championing artists, art forms, and artistic approaches. 

Tara Prowse, VIC – Emerging & Experimental Peer

If you were to encourage a colleague to become a Peer – what would you tell them…

About the time commitment required?

What you have learned about your sector?

The time commitment is significant, so start early and make head way. You want to be able to give each application similar timeframes and attention – so it won’t work if you’re trying to read one after the other in a large block. The background resources are good to refer to and give a clear framework, so make sure you read these thoroughly as well.  

It is a wonderful privilege to be able to see behind the scenes to what artists, thinkers and makers are up to around the country. Being a peer is an opportunity to be able to advocate for things that you think are important and the work that you are excited by and that you want to see on the Australian landscape.

Does everyone agree in the assessment meetings? What should you be prepared to do?  

No! If everyone agrees, then this is probably a poor reflection on either the make up of the panel or the submissions. Of course, there are always a few applications that stand out, that the panel seems to agree on, but these can happen for different reasons. Actually the most interesting conversations come about when there are differing opinions. Healthy debate is what should characterise these panel meetings and where the breadth of experience of the panel comes in. But recognise that in putting forward your case, you will need to have made sure to read each application well, as the details are important, so make sure you have made good notes for yourself that you can easily call upon.

What have you enjoyed most about being a peer?

The pleasure of having robust discussions about art. Meeting interesting other panel members, getting a feel for the pulse of what people are thinking about in the arts sector, from topics to technologies and also a sense of what is missing. As a Producer and programmer, this was especially interesting. Mostly however, giving something back to the arts sector more broadly that hopefully enables the ecology of the arts to grow and develop through diversity, challenging perspectives and encouragement for emerging voices.

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