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ARC Linkage: Making Music work: Sustainable Portfolio Careers for Australian Musicians

April 19, 2016

The Australia Council is an industry partner in arts-related projects funded by the Australia Research Council (ARC).



To sustain successful musical lives at the beginning of the 21st century, most musicians have portfolio careers, combining aspects of performance, recording, creation, music direction, teaching, community activities, health, retail and a presence in online environments. This phenomenon – often across genres – is widespread but not well understood. This project explores conditions and strategies needed for musicians to sustain successful portfolio careers.


The project draws on data collected through a nation-wide survey of 1,000 musicians, as well as building a more detailed picture through 12 in-depth case studies with musicians navigating portfolio careers. Interpretation of the data will be guided in multiple ways including through cluster analysis and multiple regression analysis.

Project ID



In progress

Administering organisation

Griffith University

Partner organisations

Curtin University
Queensland University of Technology
Create NSW
Creative Victoria
Department of Culture and the Arts WA
Australia Council for the Arts


Click here for more information on ARC Linkage projects.

Making Music Work – Survey Live

Are you a musician working in performance or teaching, working with community groups, or working in the health sector or retail? Do you self-manage, self-produce or even self-promote? Do you work a regular day job while pursuing your music?  Making music work: Sustainable Portfolio Careers for Australian Musicians, seeks to understand the conditions and strategies needed for Australian musicians to sustain dynamic careers in an ever-changing musical landscape.

The research team for Making Music Work are now inviting musicians from all around the country to share their experiences in their online survey. The information you provide will help them create a detailed and nuanced picture of how Australian musicians are navigating their careers, and will inform the sector on strategies to support a healthy and vibrant music industry. By participating you can go into the draw to win an iPad.

This project has received financial support of an ARC Linkage Grant (LP 150100497) and is being led by the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University (ethics approval 2016/524) in collaboration with industry partners at the Australian Council for the Arts, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, Culture and the Arts (WA), a division of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, and the Music Trust, as well as colleagues at Curtin University and the University of South Australia.