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October 28th 2016 print

Peers of the Australia Council’s Realm

A fresh retinue of 'peers' is being sought to decide who gets how much of the many millions of taxpayer dollars it distributes every year. This is the same body that stripped Quadrant of its meagre funding, so why not apply and add a dash of diversity to the mix?

oz council IIThe Australia Council, the body which this year stripped Quadrant of every penny of what was not much funding to begin with, hands out taxpayer money on the basis of appraisals made by panels of artistic “peers”. Given Quadrant‘s  recent treatment, the suspicion might well arise that those same peers tend to a port-canted perspective. The terminally cynical might even surmise that, when it comes to distributing taxpayer funds, the like-minded tend to support the like-minded.

Now, though, there is an opportunity to broaden the Australia Council’s perspectives, not to mention the recipients of its largesse, as applications are being sought for the roster of peers who will decide who gets how much over the year ahead.

Why not apply? Diversity is all the rage these days, so conservative writers, artists and the like might enjoy the opportunity to expose their fellow panellists to views and perspectives that are very hard to see from the inner-city enclaves and green environs from which past and current peers seem mostly to have been drawn. Here is the Australia Council’s solicitation (emphasis added):

The Australia Council delivers funding every year to organisations and artists across the country. Two important principles guide how the funding decisions are made: 

  • Decision-making is ‘arms-length’ from government, which means at an appropriate distance from the political process 
  • Peer assessment, which means funding applications are assessed by people with expertise or knowledge in arts practice and the arts sector who are best placed to make a determination of the merit of artistic proposals.

A peer has knowledge of the arts sector.

A peer needs to have sufficient knowledge and experience of the arts sector to make a fair and informed assessment of applications for funding. They could gain this knowledge and experience as a practicing artist, working as an arts professional or by advising the arts sector.

Peers should have knowledge of at least one arts practice that the Australia Council supports. We also need peers who understand all parts of the artistic process — from making work and coordinating tours and exhibitions, to developing new markets and engaging with audiences and communities.

We are committed to forming diverse and balanced panels. We look for peers who are representantive of geography, cultural backgrounds, age, gender and ability.

To apply, follow this link: But don’t dawdle, applications close on November 3.