The Custodianship Program FAQs

Gathering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts leaders from across Australia, the Custodianship Program transforms people. Artists, arts workers and cultural practitioners from across art forms and career levels will explore what leadership means in diverse contexts. They will learn from self, from others and with peers. Designed and led by First Nations people, participants are guided by role models, cultural teachers and Elders.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the dates of the Custodianship Program?

    The Custodianship Program is a twelve-month program running from December 2019 – November 2020.

    The program includes three residentials:

    • 9–11 February 2020

    • 14–19 May 2020

    • 5–10 November 2020

    The residentials are compulsory, so please confirm your availability before applying. Please allow travel time on either side of the residentials.

    The program involves four online/phone sessions:

    • 13 December 2019, 30 January 2020, 7 May 2020 and 29 October 2020. 

    There may be adjustments to these dates due to unforeseen circumstances, but we will notify participants in advance.

  • What is the structure of the Custodianship Program?

    The program will include:

    • Three intensive residentials - Each residential running between 4–5 days, held in various locations around Australia including an urban, regional and remote location.

    • Four online/phone sessions - to reconnect and explore topics in more depth.

    • Peer-to-peer engagement throughout the duration of the program.

    • Access to ongoing opportunities through our Leadership Alumni program, including potential collaborations and secondments.

    • Participation in group work to deliver a project at the end of the program.

    • Ongoing participant engagement via an online platform.

  • Who is the program for?

    The program is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, arts workers and cultural practitioners from across art forms and Australia. We encourage participants who are at various stages of their careers and are ready to reflect on their skills, capabilities and what leadership means to them to apply. The program encourages learners who are open to new ideas, able to learn in a group situation and willing to share knowledge and insights with others.

    Participants who have roots with their custodianship responsibilities and want to learn more about enacting a vision for their communities.

    If you are unsure about what program, please refer to our program overview or send us an email for clarification,

  • What will I get out of this program?

    Participants of the program will:

    • Transform their own leadership by building on strengths and exploring what leadership means to them.

    • Learn about Indigenous ways of leadership and apply practices that have been cultivated over thousands of years.

    • Develop leadership practices and knowledges through the study of both contemporary and cultural knowledge systems.

    • Expand skills and capabilities to effectively lead in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous contexts.

    • Build a broader network and ongoing relationships cross cultures, sectors and industries.

  • What are the residentials?

    The residentials are not a professional development conference. They are an opportunity for the cohort to gather, listen, collaborate and develop ideas for the future of the sector. The residentials take place in regional, and in urban Australia. Creating opportunity to take time out for creative practice, ground yourself, reflect, refuel and plan; for the future. 

  • Who facilitates the program?

    This facilitation is led by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. The lead facilitator has a deep knowledge in guiding First Nations leadership development.

    To support and grow the facilitation of the program, a collective of co-facilitators will work together to deliver aspects of the program. This collective approach will also bring diversity of thinking (including non-Indigenous, if required) that will in-turn, benefit participants.

  • Who are the Elders in Residence?

    The program will aim to create deep cultural meaning. To enrich the participants learning process further, Elders will be engaged to provide cultural guidance throughout the program.

    Two Elders, a man and a woman, will be appointed to provide support during both the design and the delivery of the program. It is envisaged that these Elders will initially be engaged for a 12–month period.

  • I am an alumnus of the Emerging Leaders Development Program (ELDP) or the ACCELERATE program, can I apply?

    ELDP and ACCELERATE alumni are welcomed to submit an application for the Custodian Program; but will not be eligible for the Custodianship Program. Sync Alumni can apply for both. (*Lydia, Kevin and Ian to review this section tomorrow). 

  • What is the content of the program?

    The program content will be guided by the following two streams. The detailed content will be shared with the selected participants in preparation for the program to start in 2020. 

    STREAM 1 
    Transformational leadership:

    Developing transformational leadership includes emotional, cultural and spiritual learning. Developing a person’s ways of knowing, being and doing. 

    STREAM 2 
    Transactional learning about leadership:

    Developing professional knowledge to increase leaders at all career levels to manage business and operational requirements of artistic and cultural leadership. 

  • Is there a Cultural Development Framework for the program?

    Yes. A Cultural Development Framework was developed to embed cultural capability, responsibility and safety in the design and delivery of the program.

    The framework will become a benchmark for the capabilities for staff, facilitators, participants, and other practitioners involved in the program. The project team will be inducted through a learning program and will form the foundation for the overall design of the program.

  • How much does the program cost?

    Successful applicants are supported by Australia Council for the Arts (the Australia Council) and are not required to pay the fee. Travel to all three of the residentials will be supported by an Australia Council travel bursary for all participants. Successful applicants are supported by Australia Council and are not required to pay the fee. 

  • I have access needs and additional support requirements; can I still participate?

    We are committed to providing a safe, accessible and inclusive environment for everyone and attempt to work with individual participants to support specific needs. If you have access requirements, a young baby or family, cultural practices or protocols or any other specific needs, please let us know how we can support you. 

  • How do I apply?

    You are required to submit your application through the Australia Council’s online grants and application system. You are required register for an account (if you don’t already have one) and follow the instructions to complete the online application form.

    The application requires a short introductory video (encouraged by optional for Australian participants), a written response to four questions and an up-to-date resume. Please refer to the selection criteria before submitting your response.

    If you have access requirements or cannot complete the online form, please contact us for assistance at or 02 9215 9036.

  • When is the deadline?

    The deadline for applications is midnight (Sydney time) on the closing date. We strongly recommend submitting before this. Grant advice and technical support is only provided during business hours and up until 5:00pm on the closing date. Late applications will not be accepted. 

  • When will I be notified about the outcome of my application?

    Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application approximately 12-weeks after the closing date. Please see the guidelines page for the grant category you are interested in for more details. 

  • What support material is required?

    In addition to the URL to your introductory video, applicants are required to upload a 2-page resume of their experience and expertise.

    You are not required to provide any references or letters of support to your application.

  • How will my application be assessed?

    Your application will be assessed internally and with the advice of industry experts and leaders. Applications will be assessed on merit, and in relation to the selection criteria provided. Please respond to the selection criteria in your application.

    The leadership program is designed to bring together a diverse range of practitioners from around the country and we work to ensure balance between geographic locations and artforms. This will be considered in the assessment process.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people with disability and people living in regional and remote areas are encouraged to apply.

  • What is the video component of the application?

    We invite you to submit a short video with your application. The video is an opportunity to introduce yourself, your mob and provide some background to your culture, practice and experience. The video is optional, although highly encouraged.

    The video is not assessed on quality or production value, and you can film on your phone or computer. The video is to be no longer than 3-minutes, and you are required to submit the URL to your application.

  • Can I submit an application without a video?

    We highly recommend all applicants create a video, as they can add significant value to an EOI. 

  • I don’t have any cameras or editing software, how can I make a video?

    Recording your video on a smartphone or webcam is fine. We do not expect high production values – just make sure we can see your face at some point and the audio is clear. These videos are designed to see how you talk about yourself and your engagement with the cultural sector in a more natural manner than a written response. 

  • More questions?

    If you cannot find an answer to your question above, please send us an email at or call us directly on 02 9215 9036. 

Exit off canvas
Real Time Web Analytics