December 16 2021

Arts grants December 2021

By The Ian Potter Foundation

Dancer jumping in cane field
Image courtesy of Dancenorth. Image by Amber Haines.

In December 2021, eight Arts grants totalling $1,527,000 were awarded to support successful existing professional development and mentoring programs and new projects designed to support the arts sector as a whole to develop, collaborate and reach new audiences. 

Creating Australia (Cultural Development Network)
Funding development of 'Takso' – an online outcome planning and evaluation platform

Takso is an online service that enables artists, producers, and art managers to design, deliver, evaluate, and report their cultural activities. Activities can occur across arts, libraries, and heritage institutions, from a poetry reading by young authors in a regional library to performances by major arts companies to exhibitions in galleries or museums.

Cultural Development Network (CDN) is a not-for-profit research and development organisation formed by an association of arts managers and producers, whose goal ''…is for a vibrant and rich Australian culture.'' CDN's outcomes measurement framework, which forms the basis of Takso, has now been recognised internationally through publication in the peer-reviewed journal Evaluation.

To understand the impact of cultural activities on society, we need to identify and consider the intended outcome of the activity, what happened over the whole journey, and how much of the actual outcome was achieved. Takso simplifies this process. It records consistent and longitudinal data and allows communities to design and own their strategies based on their local knowledge and values. The CDN framework provides a common language to describe arts activities that have cultural, social, economic, environmental and governance outcomes.

This grant will provide investment for CDN to progress initial product development as it scales up to a fully functional Software as a Service (SaaS) product.

Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)
Renewing ACMI's CEO Digital Mentoring Program

In April 2021, the Foundation awarded a grant to ACMI for an innovative and sector-leading CEO Digital Mentoring Program. Delivered in partnership with The Australia Council for the Arts, the pilot program received a considerable level of interest, demonstrating the need to continue the program for a second iteration, scaling up opportunities for Australian arts and cultural organisations to participate in 2022.

Led ACMI's Chief Experience Officer Seb Chan, the program's mentors are nationally recognised for expertise in their field and specialise in digital technologies, strategy and organisational change. This grant continues support for an in-demand mentoring program to develop digital mindsets of arts executives and decision-makers.

Deakin University
Organisational Change for Audience Diversification: A research and sector development initiative

This grant aims to support Deakin University to research and develop resources that will assist arts and cultural institutions to develop their organisational practice to meet the needs of a broader cohort of Australians.

The project, once fully funded, will focus on several key areas of audience diversification; geographic determinants of arts attendance and access (peri-urban, regional/remote); young people and their families, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse groups, First Nation and deaf/disabled audiences.

Deakin University hopes to leverage their confirmed research partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts to expand their focus and attention to several key areas of interest: geographic determinants of arts attendance and access (peri-urban, regional/remote); young people and their families; Culturally and Linguistically Diverse groups; First Nations and deaf/disabled audiences.

University of Western Australia
Good Arts, Good Mental Health: Campaign, Dose-Response Message and Professional Development for Arts and Cultural institutions
$300,000 over 3 years

This multi-year grant will support the University of Western Australia (UWA) build a cross-sector collaborative research initiative between the arts and health sectors. The project aims to provide professional development for arts and cultural organisations to assist them in developing and delivering arts-led health-promoting experiences for all Australians collaboratively.

There is now strong evidence supporting the mental health benefits of participating in recreational arts and culture (e.g., singing, painting, creative writing, concerts, art classes) for the general population and priority groups such as Indigenous Australians and older adults. The University of Western Australia will develop programs to effectively utilise the arts as an enjoyable, cost-effective, non-pharmacological method for improving Australians' mental health and wellbeing.

The UWA research team will be guided by health promotion theory and practice. In consultation with partners in health policy, health promotion, the arts sector, and the wider community, the research team will create a co-designed, evidence-based, arts–mental health wellbeing campaign (dose-response message), professional development programs and demonstration projects to:

  • raise community awareness of the positive impact of 20 minutes of art/day (dose) on mental well-being (response). A dose-response message is vital as even though arts participation is high, Australians engage at levels insufficient to achieve mental wellbeing benefits (less than 20mins/day)
  • demonstrate how arts can be incorporated into our daily lives, and
  • provide opportunities for arts engagement via a series of demonstration projects that pair arts organisations and health agencies that test mental health–arts promotion messages.
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Pty Limited
Australian Conducting Academy – National Program Expansion
$230,000 over 3 years

The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (TSO) will expand the Australian Conducting Academy to a nationally networked professional training program in partnership with major symphony orchestras in each Australian state. This three-year grant supports TSO's plan to expand their existing Academy program to provide national, high-quality training pathways in conducting.

Program participants will be given a breadth of experience across the partner orchestras over the 12-month training. In partnership with state orchestras, TSO is looking to ensure that conductors have transferable skills that are suitable across all music forms.

Dancenorth Australia Ltd
Renewing Dancenorth's Artistic Capacity and Leadership Development Program
$240,000 over 2 years

Dancenorth has previously been funded by The Ian Potter Foundation to facilitate three years of professional development programs. Based in Townsville, these programs support the independent contemporary dance sector through hosting a diverse range of choreographers, guest collaborators, artists-in-residence, dance artists and secondments.

This grant supports a two-year program extension while Dancenorth ramps up its fundraising capability. The grant was awarded at a higher level than previous years to specifically support the employment of the Dancenorth ensemble artists.

Guildhouse Incorporated
Renewing Catapult Artist Mentorship Program
$66,000 over 2 years

This grant renews funding of the Catapult mentorship program run by Guildhouse, South Australia's leading service organisation for visual artists, craftspeople, and designers. Catapult connects South Australian artists with mentors from across the country to develop skills, realise new projects and allow time to develop their practice.

This two-year grant provides for an additional and dedicated staff member who will provide regular touchpoints for mentors and mentees, helping structure the program and build peer connections.

The renewal recognises Guildhouse's effective leveraging of the earlier funding from the Foundation and supports their capacity to deliver the program with the increased administration of coordinating a larger group of mentorship pairings as the program grows.

Australian National Academy of Music Ltd
Sustaining Australian National Academy of Music

This grant supports the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) for increased and unexpected mid-term rental costs at Abbotsford Convent for the next three years. ANAM is temporarily housed at Abbotsford Convent until the Academy can return to the South Melbourne Town Hall once it is renovated.