Funding Sustainability

Grants provide a variety of benefits for early career artists

Australia Council longitudinal research explored the impact of grants for early career artists.

The research design compares those who have received Australia Council grants and those who have not. This allows us to better understand the impact of Australia Council grants, controlling for factors shared between these two groups such as the personal characteristics associated with making an application in the first instance, and any changes over time in the surrounding economic and social circumstances. However, it should be noted that any differences observed over time are likely to be due to both the impact of the grant and the influence of any pre-existing differences between successful and unsuccessful applicants. So that we can be more confident in our assessment of the role of the grants themselves, we ask artists directly about the impact of their grant, as well as observing changes in their career over time.

Overall, direct benefits reported by artists were feeling encouraged to continue as an artist and feeling more confident as an artist. Other notable impacts of Australia Council grants include giving credibility to the work or practice of artists, helping to develop artists’ own practice, and helping artists to develop networks and contacts with other artists.

Three years after receiving the grant artists who received Australia Council grants had made more career progress than artists who did not receive a grant. On average, they spend a greater proportion of time on their creative practice (47 percent compared to 43 percent for non-grant recipients) and report higher total income (average around $38,000 compared to $34,000 for non-recipients) and creative income (average around $14,200 compared to $11,700 for non-recipients).

They were more likely to have a career plan or strategy in place (81 percent had a plan in place compared to 73 percent of non-recipients), to have conducted a range of networking activities, and to do the type of artistic activities that characterise an establishing rather than an emerging artist (80 percent were categorized as an establishing artists compared to 75 percent of non-recipients).

Figure 75 - Comparison of recipients of early career artist grants vs. non-recipients on a variety of measures in year 3

Australia Council grant recipientsNon-recipients of Australia Council grants
Proportion of time spent on creative practice (%)4743
Proportion of income earned from creative work (%)3734
Confidence in future (mean rating out of 10)6.96.4
Artistic fulfilment (mean rating out of 10)6.76.0
Have a plan / strategy in place (%)8173
Been involved in interstate work (%)6144
Been involved in international work (%)4842
Engaged in establishing artist activity in last 12 months (%)8075