Contemporary Touring Initiative

Closing date: Midnight on Tuesday 3 May 2016, for projects starting after 1 July 2016.

The Contemporary Touring Initiative, as part of the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy supports significant exhibitions of work by living contemporary visual artists and craft practitioners that reach and engage national audiences, and extend into regional communities. The grant provides up to three years of funding for the development and/or national touring of nationally significant contemporary visual arts and craft exhibitions. 

The program is targeted to ambitious organisations with demonstrated contemporary visual arts exhibition development and touring expertise to develop and/or tour an exhibition between calendar years 2016 to 2019.

The program will support projects that best demonstrate:

  • cutting-edge practice and innovation in how contemporary visual arts and craft is exhibited and toured, including new ways to reach and engage audiences
  • exhibitions that include the work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, and
  • strong partnerships, reach and impact in regional communities.

A national tour is defined as one that includes three or more States and Territories outside of the applicants home State or Territory.

Applicants awarded Contemporary Touring Initiative funding will be required to submit a progress report at the end of Year 1 of their grant in order to be paid in advance for subsequent touring years including:

  • itinerary and revised touring budget
  • presenter / venue confirmation forms for the tour. At least 40% of touring venues must be in regional areas.

Who can apply

We accept applications from organisations. 

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.

What you can apply for

You can apply for

  • costs of research, development and design of the exhibition, including partnership development, critical writing, artist fees
  • commissioning of new work
  • the costs of touring, including exhibition production, installation, freight, engagement, promotion, public programs, artist residencies etc. 

What you can’t apply for

You can’t apply for the following activity:

  • core salaries.

Peer assessment

Your application will be assessed by a panel of peers. The peers will be representative of a range of areas relevant to contemporary visual arts and craft exhibition and touring, including:

  • regional audience engagement and presentation
  • contemporary visual arts and craft exhibition curation, production and design
  • touring exhibition coordination and management
  • contemporary visual arts and craft scholarship, research and development

Assessment criteria

Peers will assess your application against four criteria:


  • curatorial excellence, including selection of work that is relevant and timely to the diversity of contemporary Australian culture
  • innovation in the touring model
  • calibre and track record of the applicant organisation, including but not limited to the touring track record of the applicant
  • expertise and track record of the participating artists and key personnel
  • relevance of the partners and their level of commitment to the project
  • scale of the tour.


  • level of confirmations from regional partners
  • the plans to develop audiences and/or meet audience demand in the proposed locations, including communication and marketing strategies
  • the engagement experiences offered to regional communities – including audience attendance, public programming, opportunities to interact with artists and work, online and educational engagement activities, community engagement activities
  • how partnerships will be developed and maintained with presenters throughout the triennium.


  • evidence of presenter partnerships and collaboration with regional presenters and venues, including the extent to which regional presenters have confirmed or expressed interest in participating
  • evidence of strong partnerships across the contemporary visual arts sector
  • relevance of the work to the proposed touring destinations.


  • evidence of a realistic and accurate budget
  • an exhibition planning schedule confirming productions, itineraries and budgets at the touring stage
  • the logic of any proposed itinerary, including the impact this may have on the touring budget
  • capacity to deliver the project
  • forecasting of the way Contemporary Touring Initiative funding may be leveraged to enhance touring deliverables over the three year period.

Your application

Applications for the Contemporary Touring Initiative must be submitted via Australia Council Online. You may

  • apply only for the costs outlined under ‘What you can apply for’, above
  • use the file names provided when naming and submitting files with your application
  • the online application has a total size limit of 20MB. Video files must be provided as a URL. See further information on support material here
  • only the specified materials can be submitted with your application.

Essential Support Material

Contemporary Touring Initiative applicants need to demonstrate that there is strong interest from regional presenters in the intended three year plans. To provide this evidence applicants are required to submit:

  • draft Touring Schedule for years 2 and 3, submitted in your own format
  • expressions of Interest (EOIs) from potential regional venues from at least three states or territories proposed for inclusion in the Draft Touring Schedule. These should be submitted as one combined PDF
  • letters of support from up to five key non-venue partners.  


  1. What is a national tour?
    Under the Contemporary Touring Initiative, a national tour is 5 or more locations to at least 3 states or territories outside the applicant’s home state. To be eligible the locations on a tour must have consecutive exhibition dates. Breaks in the middle of a consecutive schedule of exhibition venues are possible if there is a compelling reason and the impact on the funding request is minimal.

  2. What is a contemporary visual arts and craft exhibition’?
    The presented work must be mainly by living contemporary visual artists and craft practitioners.

  3. What is 'Australian' work?
    To be eligible for Contemporary Touring Initiative funding, the work exhibited within a touring exhibition needs to be produced by Australian artists, or produced by an artist or collective of artists who are Australian citizens or have permanent resident status in Australia. An eligible work could also include a component of work produced by Australian and international artists as part of an Australian-international collaboration. Work of artists who are not Australian citizen may also be incorporated into an exhibition provided they are in a minority of the artists presented.  

  4. What locations are defined as regional?
    This Australia Council uses the ARIA (Accessibility Remoteness Index of Australia) to determine the regional classification for each town. The ARIA considers a range of factors, including distance to services, to group all locations in Australia into 5 ARIA Code areas. To find out if your project meets the eligible criteria (i.e. inclusion of venues with an ARIA rating of 1-4) and to be able to complete the ARIA code in your application form, you can begin a grant in the Australia Council’s online system. When you get to the ‘Outline your project’ section, the system will automatically look up the ARIA code once you enter the details of the state, town and postcode of the location you are searching for. Alternatively, contact the Australia Council to speak with a Grants Officer for assistance.

  5. Can I include metropolitan locations on my national tour?
    Yes, as long as you also include at least 40% of venues in regional locations in your itinerary. 

  6. Can the itinerary include other activities in addition to exhibition?
    Yes, your itinerary can include activities that offer additional opportunities for the community to engage with the artists or the art. As the main focus of this fund is exhibitions, additional activities should be scheduled in an efficient way within the itinerary. 

  7. What can I use the funds for?
    Research costs, development and design of the exhibition, including partnership development, critical writing, artist fees, commissioning of new work, the costs of touring, including exhibition production, installation, freight, engagement, promotion, public programs, artist residencies.

  8. Should I be buying or hiring equipment?
    Both buying and hiring equipment for the presentation of an exhibition are eligible. Applicants are encouraged to choose the most cost effective option and articulate a compelling reason within the application.

Apply online now

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