Contemporary Touring Initiative

Key dates

The next closing date is:

  • Tuesday 1 March 2022 at 3pm AEDT for projects beginning after 1 June 2022. 

The 3pm closing time falls within business hours. This allows Artists Services staff to troubleshoot any issues and generally support applicants as the deadline approaches. This was not possible with our previous, midnight, closing time.

Please note: To apply you must be registered in our application management system a minimum of two business days prior to the closing date. 

About the program

The Contemporary Touring Initiative (CTI), 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 2021-2024.

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
  • 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 applicant's 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.

The CTI is open to applications for funding with some fixed-term adjustments to the guidelines to account for COVID-19 conditions. 

These adjustments take account of:

  • additional costs that may be required for the safe delivery of tours
  • ongoing financial implications of COVID-19.

Who can apply

Only organisations are eligible to apply. 

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. 
  • You may apply for costs associated with the delivery of COVID Safe touring. These may include costs such as additional cleaning costs within exhibition locations or for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure the safety of the touring party.

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 the following four 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.


Peers will assess the quality of your proposal. 

They may consider:

  • 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.


Peers will assess the level of engagement with audiences, communities and partners in your proposal. 

They may consider:

  • 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.
  • The engagement experiences offered to regional communities, including audience attendance, public programming, opportunities to interact with artists and work, online and educational engagement activities, and community engagement activities.
  • How partnerships will be developed and maintained with presenters throughout the triennium.


Peers will assess the how broad the reach of your proposal is across the visual arts sector. 

They may consider:

  • the plans to develop audiences and/or meet audience demand in the proposed locations, including communication and marketing strategies
  • evidence of diverse, strong partnerships across the contemporary visual arts sector
  • The range and diversity of touring destinations.


Peers will assess the viability of your proposal. 

They may consider:

  • 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.
  • Appropriate COVIDSafe protocols in place for artists, venues or locations and audiences.

Your application

Applications for the Contemporary Touring Initiative must be submitted 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:

  • a Draft Touring Schedule for years 2 and 3, submitted in your own format
  • expressions of interest (EOIs), submitted as one combined PDF, from potential regional venues from at least three states or territories proposed for inclusion in your Draft Touring Schedule.
  • 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 five or more locations to at least three 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 Australian 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 search for the relevant ARIA codes, please download this form. If you need help with your application, contact a grants officer now
  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. Under the fixed-term adjustments for applications to CMTP in 2021, applicants may also request costs associated with COVID Safe delivery and contingency.
  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.


Phone: 02 9215 9000

Toll-free: 1800 226 912


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