We were recently unsuccessful in two rounds of Arts Council of Australia grant applications… but found the advice that they then provided AFTER the rejections really useful for our future applications.
We thought we would share it to help future authors looking to get some funds to write important texts.
February 2020 round feedback: https://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/funding/application-feedback/
September 2019 round general feedback:
The assessors encouraged emerging writers to show a strategy for their creative development.
They suggested that established writers should show enthusiasm for their project and go into detail about what they were doing and why they were uniquely equipped to do it.
They reminded applicants that in a highly competitive environment it’s vital to make a compelling case for funding, and to pick the very best and most relevant writing sample in the genre of the project to demonstrate writing ability.
The assessors encouraged applicants not to undervalue their own labour in the context of the project. Time to write, and a request for general living expenses such as rent, food, childcare is entirely legitimate. They advised that applicants should be true to their needs, and budget to cover their costs for the length of the project.
They suggested that applicants should provide detailed budgets when applying for funding for travel or research expenses, payment of editors’, mentors’ or dramaturges’ fees, or production costs and collaboration fees. They encouraged applicants to refer to industry standard rates for any collaborators or for themselves where relevant.
They advised that applications for projects that overlap with academic research or study should make clear that the request for funding is for a part of the project that is distinct both from assessable coursework, and from work that is already funded by an academic institution.
The assessors were impressed by strong letters of support and enjoyed the inclusion of letters from readers.
The assessors encouraged non-fiction writers to make a clear case for the literary merit of their writing, to distinguish it from reporting.
The assessors appreciated applications that were clear and succinct and that expressed passion for the project. They particularly appreciated clearly labelled support material provided as pdfs.
The assessors encouraged applicants to proofread their proposal. Spelling mistakes don’t disqualify an application but, as you are applying for a literature grant, they may undermine your credibility as a professional writer.
The most competitive applications:
The less competitive applications: