Peer assessment

Peer assessment and arm’s length funding have been guiding principles of how the Australia Council allocates funding for more than 40 years.

Peer assessors

A peer assessor 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 as a practising artist, arts worker or industry expert in one or more art forms.

The Board of the Australia Council approves experienced and representative people to a Pool of Peers. These peers are the first people staff contact when forming an assessment panel.

You can access the current list of peers in the Pool and their location here.

The names of all peers participating in an assessment meeting are published on the Australia Council website along with the list of successful applicants.

Arts practice panels

If you apply to a peer assessed Australia Council grant program, you can choose which panel of peers you want to assess your application. Membership of these panels rotates, with peers selected from the Pool in response to the grant categories being assessed.

The panels available are:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts*
  • Community Arts and Cultural Development
  • Dance
  • Emerging and Experimental Arts
  • Literature
  • Multi-art form
  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Visual Arts

*Please note that applications for funding to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts panel must come from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, groups and organisations.

From time to time the Australia Council may establish additional arts practice panels.

Assessing your application

Peers reach their decisions using a deliberative decision-making model of peer assessment. Under this model:

  • The decision making standard is how well each applicants meets the published selection criteria
  • The decision making method is mutual agreement of the panel, based on reasoned arguments put forward by the peer assessors.

Peers base their deliberations primarily on the information supplied in your application and support material. Peers may also consider information from other sources, including:

  • attending performances and other events
  • any previous Australia Council grant acquittal reports you have submitted
  • communication with state and territory arts agencies.

While your application may meet the stated selection criteria, you are not guaranteed a grant. The Australia Council receives many more applications than it can support. The success of your application ultimately rests on the merits of your proposal against published criteria and in competition with all other applications considered for funding.

For more information about the peer assessment process and how to nominate to become a peer, click here.

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