Artistic proposal for national participation at the Australian Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia

Applications are now closed

Key dates

A two-stage application process

Stage one: Applications close midnight (AEST), Thursday 18 July 2019.

Technical and administrative support will not be available after 5pm (AEST) on the closing date.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application in August 2019.

Stage two: Shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit a detailed proposal by midnight (AEST), Tuesday 1 October 2019.  

The successful artistic team will be announced in October 2019.

Stage one

Applications close: 
 Midnight (AEST), Thursday 18 July 2019.

Notification: August 2019.

About the opportunity

Art form: Visual Arts

Applications are now open for artistic proposals to represent Australia in the category of National Participation at the Australian Pavilion for the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (Biennale Arte 2021).

Australia’s participation in the Biennale Arte is a high-profile international opportunity for Australian artists and curators to connect with new audiences at the world’s oldest contemporary art biennale. This exposure builds the profile of Australian contemporary visual arts and stimulates international cultural links, networks and dialogue. The Biennale Arte represents a significant platform to showcase contemporary Australian arts to a global audience.

The Australia Council for the Arts is Commissioner for Australia’s National Participation at the Biennale Arte in Venice. The project is delivered by the Australia Council’s Venice project team who will collaborate with the artist/s and curator/s on the exhibition development and associated publication.  

The Biennale Arte 2021 runs from May to November 2021.

Click here to find out more about the Australian Pavilion.

Who we are looking for

Proposals must be submitted by an artist and curator team (artistic team). Proposals may focus on presenting one artist or relate to a number of artists and their practice. Similarly, proposals may include one curator or a number of curators.

We are looking for artist/s and curator/s with the concept, credentials and experience to represent Australia at this prestigious international platform.

The artistic team will need to be prepared to liaise with key project stakeholders, including audiences, media, corporate partners and donors as required. The Australia Council's Venice project team will support the artistic team with media training and briefing if required. The artistic team will also be required to work with the Australia Council to enable an Australian presentation of the exhibition following the conclusion of the Biennale Arte 2021.

Funding and support

The Australia Council's Venice project team manages all aspects of delivery and will work with the artistic team to realise the artistic proposal for Biennale Arte 2021.

A fellowship is provided to the successful artist/s for the purpose of developing, creating, and producing new artwork(s) for the exhibition in the Australian Pavilion in Venice.

The successful curator/s will receive a fellowship to support the curatorial and editorial services provided for the exhibition and associated publication.

Details of funding and other support will be provided to the shortlisted artistic teams in August 2019.

The Australia Council also provides support for required domestic travel and international travel for up to three visits to Venice for reconnaissance (2 x one week), and the exhibition install and vernissage period (up to four weeks).

Concept dependent, an exhibition and catalogue budget covering freight, logistics, crating and equipment, pavilion preparation and construction, install and deinstall, catalogue production, writers, copyright will be managed by the Australia Council.

The Australia Council also will provide international and domestic PR and marketing support to the exhibition. 


Only individuals and groups may apply to this category. We will not accept applications from legally constituted organisations or partnerships.

Proposals that do not include artist/s and curator/s working together will be deemed ineligible.

All key personnel must be practicing artists or arts workers and an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident.

Conditions that would render your application ineligible are available here.

Selection criteria

Your application will be assessed by an artistic selection panel comprising national and international visual arts experts. Names of assessors will be published at the conclusion of the two-stage selection process, along with the names of the five shortlisted artistic teams.

The artistic selection panel will consider the concept, the depth of experience of the artist/s and curator/s and the significance of their professional achievement, the viability of the proposal and the impact that the opportunity will deliver to the artist/s, curator/s and/or sector. 

You must address the following assessment criteria:

1.  Concept

  • the quality, readiness and appropriateness of the proposal to represent Australia on the world stage
  • a clear ability to produce work within the context of and prescribed by the Biennale Arte

2.  Professional achievement

  • strength of artistic career/s and significance of body of work
  • national and international curatorial and critical recognition of previous work
  • quality of an ongoing exhibition history

3.  Viability

  • realistic and achievable planning and resource use 
  • where applicants are employed by an organisation, please include confirmation that approval for participation has been granted by the employer
  • the role of any partners involved, including confirmation of their involvement
  • where proposals involve working with diverse audiences or communities, the panel will look for demonstrated cultural competencies and appropriateness

4.  Impact

  • how this opportunity will strengthen your artistic practice
  • the impact of this opportunity on your career including extending and leveraging opportunities 
  • how this exhibition will increase national and international interest in and awareness of Australian contemporary arts practice

Your application – Stage one

All three of the following essential support materials must be submitted with your online application for stage one:

1.  Artistic proposal briefly outlining your ideas, approach and capacity to deliver a presentation of Australian art within the platform of the Biennale Arte 2021. 

All the criteria listed in the previous pages should be addressed and the full team including artist/s and curator/s must be identified:

  • maximum two pages submitted as one PDF
  • please name and submit your file with the title ‘1. Artistic proposal ’

2.  Biographies/CV of key artistic team members:

  • maximum two pages submitted as one PDF
  • please name and submit your file with the title ‘2. Biography ’

3.  Examples of past work:

  • maximum four pages submitted as one PDF
  • please name and submit your file with the title ‘3. Past work ’

You are not required to submit a budget with your stage one proposal.

Selection Process

All proposals will be acknowledged by the Australia Council by August 2019.

Proposals will be reviewed and shortlisted by the artistic selection panel.

Successful shortlisted applicants will be notified in August 2019 when they will be provided with full details of stage two submission requirements which will include an eight-week application period and a request for a production budget estimate.

Unsuccessful stage one applicants will be provided with general round feedback. No individual feedback will be provided.

Shortlisted applicants stage two proposal is due by Tuesday 1 October 2019. Stage two applicants will receive a fee on receipt of their submitted proposal.

The successful artistic team will be announced in October 2019. 

How to submit

Click on the ‘Apply now' button below to access the Application Management System and then click on ‘Apply for a Grant’ and scroll down to ‘Biennale Arte 2021’.

You must submit the three support materials with your online application. The support material must: 

  • use the file names provided when naming and submitting the file
  • the online application has a total size limit of 75 MB. Video files must be provided as a URL
  • only the three support materials can be submitted with your application and no other support material will be accepted

The application form will ask you to complete the following fields:

  • a working title for your Venice exhibition: enter your working title (100 characters)
  • a detailed description of your Venice exhibition: enter “Refer attached”
  • grant amount: please note that this has been set to $0.00 and does not reflect the actual funding amount for either artists/s or curator/s. Funding levels will be determined based on the successful proposal.  

Note, this opportunity does not count as an application to the Australia Council grants program. 

We do not accept applications submitted via post. Applications received by post will not be assessed and will be returned to the sender.

The Australian Pavilion

Click here to find out more about the Australian Pavilion.

The artistic proposal may utilise both the internal gallery space of the Australian Pavilion and selected external areas. The Australian Pavilion features the following external elements which, subject to approval by La Biennale di Venezia, may or may not be utilised:

  • up to three operable panels, two on the eastern façade, and one on the western façade
  • hanging rail along the roofline for hanging of lightweight material (for example, banners or lightweight cloth) to cover the black granite exterior
  • an external element may be possible on the deck at the entrance of the pavilion (refer to visuals)

The Australian Pavilion floor plan and visuals are available here


To discuss your expression of interest, please contact Tara Kita, Senior Project and Exhibitions Officer, Venice Biennale on 02 9215 9176 or

Exit off canvas