Arts and Disability Mentoring Initiative 2019-21

Applications are now closed 

Applications close: Tuesday 13 April 2021, 3.00 pm (AEST)

Amount: $30,000

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

The Australia Council for the Arts is offering six grants of $30,000 in each Arts and Disability Mentoring Initiative round. 

If you are an individual artist or arts worker with disability, these grants can provide support to extend your arts practice, networks, skills and ambition.

Are you registering to apply for the first time? Make sure you register well before the closing date. It can take up to two business days to process your application. 

Information session

Watch the recording of the information session held on Wednesday 31 March 2021. 

Download the presentation. 

Download the transcript. 

Need help with your application?

Contact Artists Services:

  • with any questions about this initiative
  • to submit an application in a different format, or in a language other than English
  • to make arrangements for a Skype call, or use an Auslan interpreter service
  • if you have any other access or support needs.

If you have a hearing impairment, the National Relay Service offers a range of options for making a call. Contact the NRS via their website or call 1800 555 677.

Frequently asked questions for this initiative are here.

About this initiative

This program is for individuals with disability undertaking an artistic collaboration involving mentoring. The proposal should lead to a major step forward in the applicant’s arts practice and build foundations for an enduring career. The purpose is to support collaborations that fuel ambition, embolden ideas and innovation, build networks and capacity, and strengthen future works.

We encourage applications from:

  • artists and arts professionals with disability seeking to collaborate with a mentor
  • artists and arts professionals with disability seeking to be the mentor in a collaboration, including peer to peer mentoring.

This initiative has been developed in response to Australia Council research involving artists and arts workers with disability. The findings highlighted the importance of role models and mentors, and of disability-led practice. The research has informed the Australia Council’s three-year strategic investment in artists with disability.

Please note: Your project must take into account the latest advice regarding COVID-19.


Who can apply?

  • Only individuals may apply to this category.
  • You must be an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident.  
  • You must identify as an artist or arts professional with disability.

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.

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

What you can apply for

You can apply for a range of activities. Your proposal should include a mentoring component. Some examples of the activities we fund are:

  • collaboration
  • professional skills development
  • residencies
  • experimentation
  • creation of new work
  • creative development
  • practice based research
  • presentation, promotion, or marketing
  • inbound and outbound travel.

What you can’t apply for

You can’t apply for projects or activities that:

  • do not involve or benefit practicing artists or arts workers
  • do not have a clearly defined arts component
  • have already taken place
  • do not involve a clear mentoring component.

Assessment Process

Applications to this initiative will be assessed by peers from the arts sector. For more information see: How applications are assessed.

All applicants will be advised of the outcome of their application once the assessment has been completed.

Details of the grant recipients will be published on the Australia Council website. These details will include the name of each recipient, their resident state or territory, the amount awarded, the panel which assessed the application (disability panel) and the name of the round (the Arts and Disability Mentoring Initiative). Please contact us if you do not wish to have your name published.

Assessment criteria

You must address three assessment criteria in this category.

Under each criterion are bullet points indicating what the peer assessors may consider when reviewing your application. You do not need to respond to every bullet point listed.

First criterion:

Potential and calibre of the artist/art workers

Peers will assess the potential of the collaboration between artists / arts professionals at the centre of your proposal, and the calibre of those involved.

They may consider the following:

  • artistic merit of proposed project
  • quality of work previously produced by the applicant and collaborator
  • public or peer response to work previously produced
  • demonstrated ability, skills and creative thinking
  • level of innovation, ambition, experimentation or risk-taking.

Second criterion:


  • Peers will assess the viability of your proposal.
  • They may consider the following:
  • skills and artistic ability of the people involved, and their relevance to the proposed activity
  • effective use of resources, with realistic and achievable planning
  • level of confirmation of proposed activities and partners
  • adherence to relevant cultural protocols
  • appropriate payments to participating artists
  • relevance and timeliness of proposed activity
  • evidence of considered consultation and engagement with participants, audiences and communities.

Third criterion:

Impact on arts practice and career

Peers will assess the impact that the proposed activity will have on your arts practice and career.

They may consider the following:

  • capacity to strengthen skills and abilities of artists/arts professionals
  • potential to extend arts practice, including working at greater scale or significance
  • potential to discover and develop new markets, or meet existing market demand
  • relevance and timeliness of activity
  • significance of the collaboration, including contribution to arts and disability practice.

Application form

Instructions and a link to the online application form are available here

The application form will ask you to provide:

  • a title for your project
  • a summary of your project
  • a brief bio of the artist applying
  • an outline of your project and what you want to do
  • a timetable or itinerary for your project
  • an outline of how this project will impact your career
  • details of the expenses, income and in-kind support of the project, including any access and support costs
  • supporting material 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. Industry advisers and Australia Council staff 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  Artists Services.

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:

Artistic support material

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

Artist information

You can include a brief bio or curriculum vitae (CV) for yourself and any additional artists, mentors, mentees, 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.

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 more about support material, including how to submit late confirmations after the closing date, and 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)

Additional resources

Australia Council guide to mentoring

Australia Council disability resources


If you need advice about applying, contact an Artists Services Officer now.

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