Copyright Agency announces latest grants and priorities to support writers and visual artists

Shenae | 26-Jul-2022
The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund has approved $256,245 for Australian arts organisations supporting writers, journalists and visual artists in its first round of funding for this year.
Copyright Agency announces latest grants and priorities to support writers and visual artists
Express Media's workshop program. Photo by Connor O'Brien.
The latest funding round attracted 53 applications requesting a total of $946,479. The Cultural Fund has approved 20 applications for a total of $256,245, of which $241,245 will be paid in 2022/23.

This was a particularly challenging round, with the Cultural Fund managing a smaller allocation of approximately $1.6m for 2022/23. The Cultural Fund’s budget also includes $578,510 of previously approved grants to be paid in 2022/23.

As the philanthropic arm of the Copyright Agency, the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund focuses on supporting opportunities for writers and visual artists at all career stages and from diverse backgrounds. The fund provides grants to leading organisations for projects that support Australian writers, visual artists and key industry stakeholders in the writing, publishing, education and visual arts sectors.

In addition to grants for organisations, the Cultural Fund supports Reading Australia ($100,000), Create Grants for mid-career writers and visual artists ($100,000), 2022 Author Fellowship ($80,000), 2022 Fellowship for Non-Fiction Writing ($80,000), Copyright Agency Partnerships commission for a visual artist ($80,000) and writers’ festivals ($100,000).

Copyright Agency CEO Josephine Johnston says, “This was a particularly impressive round, with applications from many of the sector’s key organisations. It is always a challenge to stretch the Cultural Fund’s allocation across the many excellent projects and we are absolutely delighted these 20 organisations will benefit from this support.

“With the Cultural Fund’s priority to see more reviews of Australian books published in the media we are delighted to support monthly book reviews in Australian Rural & Regional News, alongside the continued support of Australian book reviews in Guardian Australia.”

Several key projects to secure funding include:

  • University of Queensland Press’s Shape Shifting – a First Nations creative non-fiction anthology;
  • Blackbooks, for its First Nations LGBTIQA+ Poetry Anthology 2023;
  • Deakin University for a children’s writer in residence;
  • Express Media for the creation of Toolkits “Connect” digital seminars to connect young writers, artists and storytellers to established industry professionals; and
  • National Association of the Visual Arts for its “Art is a real job” advocacy project.

For 2022/23 the Cultural Fund strongly encourages all funded organisations to pay minimum industry rates to writers and visual artists. The priority will be to support projects that offer significant opportunities for writers and visual artists to promote their work to audiences and for publication and exhibition outcomes.

In addition to these grants, the Cultural Fund has agreed that funding for the capital city writers’ festivals will be conditional upon their offering appropriate industry recommended payments to participating Australian writers.

“Writers’ festivals provide invaluable platforms for Australian writers and the Copyright Agency is extremely pleased to see many writers’ festivals are paying more than minimum ASA rates for writers appearing at Cultural Fund-supported sessions,” says Josephine Johnston.

The Australian Society of Authors CEO Olivia Lanchester says the conditional minimum ASA rates of payment by the festivals is welcome news for authors and sets a benchmark within the industry.

“We are delighted those festivals are implementing the ASA rates as it signals that authors, like experts in other industries, should be paid fairly, valuing their time and expertise. The payment structure is also crucial in protecting the rights of emerging and debut authors and illustrators who may not have a profile, and circumvents any potential discussion of an appearance fee being waived in exchange for ‘exposure’,” adds Lanchester.

Award-winning author Holden Sheppard is pleased to hear that the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund will commit to paying authors ASA rates for all festival panels it supports.

“ASA rates set the baseline expectation in this country that an author’s time and talent is a commodity with a value. Like many Australian authors, I earn a significant chunk of my income not solely from royalties but from appearances at festivals, libraries and schools,” he says.

National Association for the Visual Arts, Executive Director, Penelope Benton welcomes the Cultural Fund’s priorities for 2022/23.

“We enthusiastically welcome the Copyright Agency's clear commitment to supporting the payment of artists' fees as set out in NAVA's Code of Practice for the Professional Australian Visual Arts, Craft & Design Sector,” says Benton.

“Thanks to the support of this funding round by the Cultural Fund, 'Art is a real job' is an online learning program which will champion NAVA's new Code of Practice and foster sustainable visual arts careers nationwide,” she adds.

For more details and a full list of funded projects, head to https://www.copyright.com.au/culturalfund/projects-supported-by-the-cultural-fund/

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