Career Development Grants for Individuals

If you are an individual artist, arts worker or group of artists, a Career Development Grant can provide support to further develop your skills or improve your capacity to build an enduring career in the arts. Career Development grants are available from $5,000 to $25,000. These grants can support a broad range of activities such as skills and professional development, mentorships, showcases, residencies and other projects directly related to your career development. Supported activities must last no longer than two years from the proposed start date.

Please read through the following grant guidelines. You can find a case study of a recently-awarded career development grant here. If you need help with your application, contact a Grants Officer now.


Closing dates

The Australia Council offers three grant rounds each year for this category. In 2017, the grant rounds will close on:

  • Tuesday 7 February for projects starting after 1 May 2017
  • Tuesday 6 June for projects starting after 1 September 2017
  • Tuesday 3 October for projects starting after 1 January 2018.

Each round closes at midnight on the closing date.

Technical and administrative support will not be available after 5pm on the closing date.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application approximately 12 weeks after the closing date.

Please note, if your application to a grant round is successful, you will not be eligible to apply to the next grant round (excluding Playing Australia and the Contemporary Music Touring Program).


Who can apply

Only individuals and groups may apply to this category. You must be a practicing artist or arts worker and an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident.  

Applications for funding to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts panel must come from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals or groups.


Who can’t apply

You can’t apply for a grant if:

  • you received a grant, or administered a grant, from the Australia Council in the past and that grant has not been satisfactorily acquitted
  • you owe money to the Australia Council
  • you have already made three applications to categories listed under Australia Council Grant Programs this calendar year (funding proposals submitted to categories under Other Grants and Opportunities are not counted as one of your three applications)

We will not accept applications from legally constituted organisations in this category.


What you can apply for

You can apply for a range of activities.  Some examples of the activities we fund are:

  • professional skills development
  • showcase opportunities
  • forum/workshop attendance
  • residencies
  • mentorships
  • arts market attendance and exploration.


What you can’t apply for

You can’t apply for the following activity:

  • projects or activities that do not involve or benefit practicing artists or arts worker
  • projects or activities that do not have a clearly defined arts component
  • projects that have already taken place.


Peer assessment

As part of the application process, you will be able to choose which peer panel you want to assess your application.  The peer panels available are:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts
  • Arts and Disability (7 February 2017 closing date only)
  • Community Arts and Cultural Development
  • Dance
  • Emerging and Experimental Arts
  • Literature
  • Multi-art form
  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Visual Arts

If you are unsure which peer panel to choose to assess your application, please contact a Grants Officer now.


Assessment criteria

Peers will assess your application against the following three criteria.

To assess how well your application meets our criteria, Peers consider a number of prompts.  

Please note that not all of the prompts will apply to your application, but that they are examples of the things our peers may consider.  

1. Potential of the artist/artists

Peers will assess the potential of the artist/artists at the centre of your proposal.  

They may consider:

  • quality of work previously produced
  • artistic merit
  • ability, skills and creative thinking that suggests strong artistic potential
  • public or peer response to work previously produced.
2. Viability

Peers will assess the viability of your proposal.  

They may consider:

  • The skills and artistic ability of the people involved and their relevance to the proposed activity
  • realistic and achievable planning, resource use and evaluation
  • fees payable to artists involved 
  • the timetable and budget
  • the role of any partners involved, including confirmation of their involvement
  • diversity and scale of income and co-funding - including earned income, grants, sponsorship and in-kind contributions
  • proposals which involve working with diverse audiences or communities, peers will look for demonstrated cultural competencies and appropriateness.

3. Impact on career

Peers will assess the impact the proposed activity will have on your career.  

They may consider:

  • how the proposed activity strengthens your artistic practice
  • the relevance and timeliness of the proposed activity
  • how the proposed  activity enables you to discover and develop new markets, or meet existing market demand
  • how the proposed activity strengthens your capacity as an arts professional.


Application form

Apply for Career Development Grants for Individuals online here

The types of questions we ask in the application form include:

  • a title for your project
  • a summary of your project (approx. 100 words)
  • a brief bio of the artist or group applying (approx. 250 words)
  • an outline of your project and what you want to do (approx. 500 words)
  • a timetable or itinerary for your project
  • an outline of how this project will impact your career (approx. 250 words)
  • a projected budget which details the expenses, income and in-kind support of the project
  • supporting material as relevant to your project, including an artistic example, bios of additional artists, and letters of support from participants or communities.

Support material

You may submit support material with your application. The peer assessors may review this support material to help them gain a better sense of your project. If you need advice on what type of support material to submit, please contact the grants team.

We do not accept application-related support material submitted via post. Application-related material received by post will not be assessed and will be returned to the sender. If you think you will have difficulty submitting your support material online, please contact the grants team.

There are three types of support material you may submit:

1. Artistic support material

This should include relevant, recent examples of your artistic work.

2.  Artist information

You can include a brief bio or curriculum vitae (CV) for yourself and any additional artists or key collaborators involved in the project.

Bio and CV information for all artists and key collaborators, including yourself, should be presented as a single document no longer than two A4 pages in total.

3.  Letters of support

Individuals, groups or organisations can write letters in support of your project. A support letter should explain to the assessment panel how the project or activity will benefit the applicant or the broader community (and if applicable, how the project or activity will benefit community participants).

You can include up to five letters of support, with each letter not exceeding one A4 page.

What type of support material do we accept

Our preferred method of receiving support material is via URLs (web links).

You can submit up to three URLs, which may include video, audio, images, and written material.

Please note that these URLs can include a total of:

  • 10 minutes of video and/or audio recording
  • 10 images
  • 10 pages of written material (for example, excerpts of literary writing).

To find out about support material, including advice on how to get examples of your work online, click here .

If you cannot supply support material via URLs, you may upload support material with your application in the following formats:

  • Video (MP4, QuickTime, and Windows Media)
  • Audio (MP3 and Windows Media)
  • Images (JPEG and PowerPoint)
  • Written material (Word and PDF)

A print friendly MS Word file can be accessed here.

Apply online now

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