Music peers

Fred Gesha

Fred Gesha, VIC - Music Peer

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

About the time commitment required?

You need to consider the amount of time needed to assess the amount of applications you are required to read.

Are you prepared to make the time available to give a fair and impartial assessment.

It is a lot of work but it’s worth it in the end.

You have learned about your sector?

I have learnt the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts practices and the depth of ingenuity and brilliance.

Being a peer assessor opens your eyes up to what is happening at a local, state, national and international level.  

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

Be prepared to listen to everyone’s opinions and expertise on the panel, as we are not experts in all artistic fields.

What have you enjoyed most about being a peer?

Getting to meet other artists and arts workers from round the country. Being able to support the best young, emerging and established artists to further their careers.

Zulya Kamalova

Zulya Kamalova, VIC - Music Peer

Does being a peer give another dimension to your practise?

I'll be very honest and say that having devoted my life to the arts doesn't mean that one becomes secure, in both financial and artistic sense. The cultural environment is very changeable and is good to be open-minded. So I was interested to see what goes on in the "arts grants world" and willing to learn and contribute.

I learnt that I have a lot of experience and can certainly share my expertise. I feel I add a good deal of balance to an assessment panel being a female practitioner of non-mainstream, culturally and linguistically diverse background. But also being a peer has given me an insight to the cultural climate of this nation.

It has allowed me to be better informed about various others directions of musical practice and figure out how my own practice fits in.

If you could give one tip to someone being a peer for the first time - what would it be?

Sometimes it is very hard to assess applications that are very similar in quality. I find it's best not to be too attached to something that I am more familiar with or prefer due to my taste. It's best to wait for the meeting to get some more insight from the other peers who are more familiar with the styles and genres that I may be less aware.

What have you learnt from being a peer?

That it is a very competitive environment and applications need to be of high quality to be able to make it even to discussion stage.

Adam Briggs Adam Briggs, VIC - Music Peer

When did you think that you could contribute as a peer?

I felt like my position in the industry was unique and I could offer a point of view that is seldom heard.

Does being a peer give another dimension to your practise?

It makes me more aware about other facets of the industry and what other people are doing around Australia and internationally.

If you could give one tip to someone being a peer for the first time - what would it be?

Drink your coffee, be ready to open your mind to new artforms and ready to learn.

What have you learnt from being a peer?

I gain the most from discussions with other Peers. Seeing things from another point of view helps in your own career.

Somaya Langley

Somaya Langley, NSW - Music Peer

When did you think that you could contribute as a peer?

I started contributing as a peer early on in my professional arts career, peer reviewing for national conferences and state-based arts funding bodies. Since then, as well as being a peer for the Australia Council for the Arts, I’ve peer reviewed for other arts funding bodies, awards, festivals, residencies and international conferences and symposiums.

I’ve always thought more holistically about my creative practice, and have always worked more widely than just as a sound artist, composer, media artist etc. This is partially due to an interest in being more than just ‘a creator’. Though working in other roles is also because I need to pay rent.

I’ve worked on festivals and events in curatorial and technical roles, and enjoy being a part of something much larger than myself. I find that peer reviewing provides me with a similar opportunity. While being a peer can often be demanding (and it is a workload on top of everything else I do), it is another way of being involved in an arts community.

Does being a peer give another dimension to your practise?

As a professional practitioner, my involvement in the arts is always evolving and peer reviewing is definitely an important part of this.

I find that through the different stages in my life, I have contributed to the arts sector in different ways. I’ve worked as a producer and production manager – roles that enable me to facilitate other people’s work – and I find being a peer can be similar. It offers me another way to provide input into the creative community.

To me, it’s a way of assisting creative practitioners realise their ideas and take the next step in their careers. It also allows me – in very small ways – to help form an artistic landscape.

If you could give one tip to someone being a peer for the first time - what would it be?

Each peer brings their own set of experiences, expertise and understanding of creative practice(s) and the arts sector. There are a few tips that I’d like to provide, but if I have to pick one it would be: be generous with your input into discussions at peer assessment meetings. What you say during the meetings contributes to the feedback provided to applicants (if they request it). This can really assist applicants in how they present their projects in future funding applications (I’ve seen it).

What have you learnt from being a peer?

As a peer, you contribute a great deal, however you learn just as much.

You get to witness what makes a strong presentation of a project within the context of a funding application. Being a peer has also allowed me to obtain a birds eye view of the creative landscape, how it shifts and seeing issues and trends emerge.

I find this really valuable as an individual within an arts sector and arts communities.
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