Grants program guidelines

The Australia International Cultural Council (AICC) is Australia's peak cultural diplomacy body. Established in 1998, the AICC recognises that Australia's unique cultural heritage—a product of our history and geography—can influence both directly and indirectly how others see us as a nation, and how others relate to us on the international stage.

The AICC is an advisory group that draws together leaders from government, the arts and business with a common interest in promoting Australia overseas through the arts and culture. Its activities are integral to Australia's broader foreign and trade policy goals and aim to project a positive and contemporary image of Australia.

The AICC acknowledges the international quality of Australian cultural assets including: theatre; dance; film; television; new media; music; visual arts; literature; cultural heritage and conservation services; architecture and design; and national collecting institutions.

DFAT provides the secretariat support for the AICC. More information on the AICC is available at dfat.gov.au/aicc

AICC Grants program

The AICC Grants Program provides funding for international arts and cultural projects that align with the objectives of the AICC.

The program is not a typical arts funding program in that it is not primarily concerned with supporting artists and companies to tour internationally to develop their work. The program's focus is on specific cultural relations objectives that contribute to advancing Australia's foreign and trade policy priorities and enhance understanding of Australia overseas.

AICC objectives

  • To promote Australia overseas through the arts and culture and strengthen people‑to‑people linkages through cultural exchanges and creative collaboration;
  • To reinforce Australia's standing as a stable, sophisticated, multicultural and creative nation with a rich and diverse culture; and
  • To promote Australia's Indigenous art and culture.

AICC goals

  • To coordinate programs to project a positive and contemporary image of Australia and Australia's capabilities internationally through the delivery of high quality and innovative arts and cultural promotions
  • To strengthen long-term cultural relationships with our key regional partners, particularly in Asia
  • To enhance market access and lead market development strategies for Australian cultural exports
  • To strengthen business engagement and connections

Priority regions

The AICC Grants Program focuses on priority regions which reflect Australia's broad public diplomacy and foreign and trade policy interests. Applications must be for cultural diplomacy projects incorporating activities in priority regions.

The AICC's priority regions, in order of priority, are:

  1. Asia (from India to Indonesia to Mongolia);
  2. South Pacific;
  3. Middle East and Africa; and
  4. the Americas and Western Europe

Applicants are expected to contact the Australian Government diplomatic mission in the countries they are proposing to tour to provide an overview of their project in advance of submitting their proposal to the AICC Grants Program. Contact details for Australian embassies and consulates overseas can be found at www.dfat.gov.au/embassies.html.

In Round 8, favourable consideration will be given to projects in Indonesia, Turkey and Brazil to support the AICC Focus Country Program in these countries. Applications for activities in focus countries will still need to meet the AICC Grants Program selection criteria to a high degree to be competitive.

Focus Country Programs

Brazil 2016

In early 2016, the AICC will support a major cultural program which aims to broaden audience knowledge of Australia and create long-standing people-to-people connections in our bilateral relationship. Favourable consideration will be given to funding Round 8 applications that propose projects in Brazil.

Turkey 2015

From September to November 2015, the AICC will support a cultural program that will run parallel with the program of Centenary of WW1 and ANZAC commemorations. Favourable consideration will be given to Funding Round 8 applications that propose projects in Turkey.

Indonesia 2014

From February to May 2014, the AICC will support a major cultural program that will engage with audiences across Indonesia and further strengthen relationships between the two countries. Favourable consideration will be given to funding Round 8 applications that propose projects in Indonesia.

Selection criteria

Applications will be selected on how well they demonstrate that the project meets the seven selection criteria below. Criteria one, two and three are given twice the weighting of the other criteria to reflect their importance. Focus country projects will be prioritised by being scored higher in relation to criterion one:

1. Aligns with the AICC's goals and objectives (20 percent)

For example:

  • How will your project promote Australia through the arts and culture?
  • What image of Australia will it present?
  • How will your project strengthen relationships with key regional partners and/or improve market access and development?

2. Demonstrates public diplomacy benefits for Australia (20 percent)

For example:

  • What will be the impact and audience reach of your project?
  • What marketing and publicity tools will you use to reach a wider audience?
  • How will you engage with and involve the local community?
  • What relationships with local partners do you already have or intend to build as part of your project?

3. Includes activities to be undertaken in priority region/s and/or focus countries which are appropriate to the local context (20 percent)

For example:

  • How have you taken the local context into account in the design of your project?
  • Have you consulted with DFAT missions overseas or local partners about what is appealing, appropriate and acceptable to local audiences and/or participants?
  • What other activities are you undertaking in conjunction with your project? For instance, seminars, workshops, functions, etc. ?

4. Is financially viable and requests a reasonable amount of funding in the context of the overall project (10 percent)

For example:

  • What are your other sources of funding?
  • What impact will AICC funding have on your ability to deliver the project?
  • How does the project deliver the best value for money in the context of the AICC's goals and objectives?

5. Is well-planned and achievable (10 percent)

For example:

  • What arrangements do you have in place with venues or festivals, etc. ?
  • Is the infrastructure and technical equipment you need to deliver your project available locally, or will you be able to provide these requirements?
  • Are you working with local partners to deliver your project?

6. Is conducted by an applicant with previous international experience or the capacity to deliver projects overseas (10 percent)

For example:

  • What experience do you have delivering projects overseas, or comparable experience delivering arts and culture activities?
  • How were these projects similar to the project for which you are seeking funding?
  • Were these projects successful? What outcomes did they achieve?

7. Demonstrates excellence in artistic practice, cultural heritage and/or community engagement (10 percent)

For example:

  • What is the artistic merit of your project including its artistic rationale?
  • What are the skills of the artists involved in your project, either individually or as a group?
  • What are some examples that demonstrate this level of skill?
  • For community art projects, how is your project relevant to the community involved? What community opportunities, needs and aspirations will your project meet?
  • For cultural heritage projects, how will your project contribute to conserving, preserving and/or improved understanding of cultural heritage?

Assessment committee

Committee members comprise senior DFAT officers from the Public Diplomacy and Communications Division and geographic divisions relevant to countries identified for favourable consideration and/or countries with strong representation among submissions, and representatives from the Ministry for the Arts, Austrade and the Australia Council for the Arts. DFAT’s First Assistant Secretary, Public Diplomacy and Communications Division or Assistant Secretary, Public Diplomacy Branch will approve grants recommended by the assessment committee.

Funding

Total funding for the AICC grants program is subject to the availability of funds in 2014-15. Total program funding for Round 7 in 2013-14 was $470,000.

Funding is capped at $40,000 per application. The level of funding for an individual application may only be increased in exceptional circumstances. If requesting more than $40,000, applicants will need to bear in mind selection criterion 4. Applicants are strongly encouraged to carefully consider their project costs and note the assessment committee is unlikely to recommend many projects be funded to this amount as it reduces the number of grants to be offered.

Funding is intended to encourage partnerships with other areas of government, corporate sponsors and private donors, and applicants will normally be expected to demonstrate that they are seeking assistance from other sources. Full budget details for the project are required in the complete application form and applicants must declare where they are seeking other sources of funding for the same project, including all Commonwealth, State/Territory and local government funding.

Annual review

The AICC grants program is reviewed annually to assess the overall effectiveness of the program against the AICC's goals and objectives, and its key performance indicators (KPIs) set out in its annual business plan. Reviews take into account recipients' grant acquittals (which request information relevant to the KPIs) and feedback from DFAT overseas missions among other considerations.

Standard KPIs for the program include:

  • Quality and quantity of media coverage, and social media interest
  • Attendance at funded events
  • Critical and/or audience response to the events
  • Satisfaction of stakeholders (including quality of feedback from overseas diplomatic missions and participants)
  • Number of follow up inquiries/subsequent interest and ongoing linkages in the work of the applicant
  • Level of engagement of local community

Contact details

AICC Secretariat
Public Diplomacy Branch
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
RG Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
BARTON  ACT  0221

Ph: 02 6261 9981 or 02 6261 3625

Email: aicc@dfat.gov.au

Eligibility requirements

Applicants

Individual artists and professional arts and culture workers are eligible to apply. While they may not regularly earn income from their practice, individual artists must be identified and recognised by their peers as practising artists. Individual applicants must be Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents. Proof of Australian citizenship or residency may be required.

Groups may apply. Groups must nominate in their application either an individual or a legally constituted Australian organisation as the legal entity, known as the grant recipient, which will take responsibility for administering the grant, should one be offered.

Organisations may apply. To be eligible, organisations must be Australian and registered under law or created by law (for example, a government statutory authority). Examples of legally constituted organisations are incorporated associations, incorporated Indigenous associations and companies limited by guarantee.

Applications from youth groups/ensembles or semi-professional organisations must be of high artistic merit and must demonstrate appropriate cultural diplomacy benefits. The AICC aims to present the most sophisticated and innovative image of Australia overseas as possible.

Applicants primarily looking to further their creative development overseas should explore opportunities for funding through the Australia Council for the Arts or their relevant state arts ministry. See www.australiacouncil.gov.au for contact details for the Australia Council.

Activities

Applications may include:

  • visual arts                             
  • design (including architectural design)
  • theatre
  • dance
  • music
  • circus arts
  • literature
  • film
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts
  • disability arts
  • multicultural arts
  • cultural heritage
  • collaborative arts projects with artists from another country
  • community cultural development/community arts

The AICC will not accept applications for:

  • projects or activities without a clearly defined arts or cultural activity component
  • projects or costs associated solely with arts training, study or field work undertaken by the applicant for professional development, or the applicant's attendance at conferences, meetings, workshops, residencies, competitions and sporting events
  • projects related to academic research and activities under bilateral science and technology agreements
  • projects normally handled by Austrade
  • projects starting before 1 August 2014
  • projects starting after 30 June 2015
  • projects to be undertaken solely in Australia
  • Projects conducted outside of the AICC priority regions

Activity and reporting timeframes

Activities may not commence before 1 August 2014 or after 30 June 2015. All grants must be acquitted no later than two months after completion of the project.

Covered costs

Expenses typically covered by an AICC grant include:

  • artists' fees (specifically for the project)
  • travel expenses (flights, accommodation, per diems)
  • freight costs
  • marketing and promotion expenses.

AICC grant funding will not cover:

  • capital expenditure, including purchase of real estate and vehicles
  • purchase of equipment (for example, musical instruments, computers, videos, photographic or printing equipment)
  • costs arising from the day-to-day operations of an organisation (for example staff salaries or leases)
  • honorariums
  • catering costs

Application process

There is a two-stage process for applying for a grant:

  • Expressions of Interest (EOIs), which are open to all prospective applicants
  • Complete applications, which will be invited from a shortlist of Expressions of Interest.

The AICC's preference is for EOIs and complete applications to be submitted online. If you are unable to complete your submission online, forms can be emailed or posted to you on request (please contact the AICC Secretariat). Hard copies should either be typed or handwritten legibly in black ink on white A4 paper.

Expressions of Interest

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) can be submitted online at: http://dfat.smartygrants.com.au/AICCround8EOIs

All questions on the form must be answered. If a question is not applicable, an explanation should be provided.

It should be noted that applicants who submit a suitable EOI are not automatically guaranteed a grant.

Support material is not requested and will not be considered at this stage of the application process.

Complete Applications

If your EOI is shortlisted, you will be invited to submit a complete grant application.

Complete applications can be submitted online at: http://dfat.smartygrants.com.au/AICCround8applications.

Complete applications must include the application form, budget and a project proposal. They may also include one set of support material as indicated below.

Application form and budget

All questions on the form must be answered. If a question is not applicable, an explanation should be provided.

The budget is an important part of the application and will be closely assessed. Applicants should ensure that budgets are accurate and realistic, and that costs to be covered by AICC funding if the application is successful are clearly indicated. Please note that there is a requirement to acquit all expenditure at the end of the project (see Grant Conditions on page 15).

Proposal

In addition to the application form, applicants must submit a proposal outlining their project in the context of the program selection criteria, explaining how it aligns with the AICC Grants Program goals and objectives.

Proposals should be a maximum of three A4 pages in length with a reasonable font size (not below 12 point) with standard margins and spacing.

Support material

Applicants may choose to provide one set of relevant support material to assist the assessment of each proposal. Applicants should submit materials that best reflect the nature of the proposed project and demonstrate its value and feasibility. Support material must be submitted by the closing date.

Applicants are encouraged to submit support material electronically, using the online application form. Hard copy support material can be submitted but must be clearly marked with the applicant's full name and contact details.

Applicants may choose to provide:

  • summary CVs for each of the key participants, not exceeding two pages
  • a maximum of five confirmation letters or emails from key partners in the project (for example, venues and artists)
  • a maximum of two of the following:
    • five pages of written material, for example, excerpts of text-based work, published writing, research, or press coverage (copies only, no originals)
    • 10 printed photographs or electronic images (showing recent work of the artists and/or organisation)
    • five minutes of audio on CD or available online
    • five minutes of video footage on DVD, CD or online (providing a recent example of the work of the artists and/or organisation).

Any material supplied in addition to the above support material will not be considered. Support material in the form of printed photographs, CDs or DVDs will not be returned to applicants unless specifically requested.

Indigenous content and protocols

Applications with artistic content and/or stated intended outcomes relating to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists, communities or their activities, will be required to provide signed letters of support from relevant Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists and/or communities and/or organisations only if the project is approved for funding.

Grant applicants with artistic content and/or stated intended outcomes relating to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists, communities or their activities, must adhere to the Indigenous cultural protocol guides which are available free on the Australia Council website and can be downloaded from the Australia Council website.

Submitting EOIs and complete applications

If applicants are unable to complete the online process, they are requested to email the EOI or the application, budget, three-page proposal and support material to aicc@dfat.gov.au by the relevant closing date. If this is not possible, a hard copy should be posted to:

AICC Secretariat
Cultural Diplomacy Section
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
RG Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
BARTON  ACT  0221

EOIs and applications must be received by the closing date, either online, by email or hard copy. If submitted online or sent by email, EOIs and applications will be accepted up to 12noon on the relevant closing date. Please note that the AICC Secretariat is not responsible for viruses or delays which cause emailed applications to arrive late. Late EOIs and applications will not be considered to ensure equity in the receipt of EOIs and applications. EOIs and applications will not be accepted by fax.

Following submission, applicants should inform the AICC Secretariat promptly of any change of contact details or of any other information pertinent to the completion of the project, for example, cancellation of some or all activities.

Closing dates and notification
Activity Date
Expressions of Interest (EOIs) invited 13 January 2014
Closing date for EOIs Monday 17 February, 12noon AEDST (Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time)
EOI assessment notification
Complete applications invited from shortlisted EOI applicants only
31 March 2014
Closing date for complete applications 28 April 2014, 12noon AEST
Application assessment notification Early July 2014 (subject to availability of funds in 2014-15)
Projects may commence (subject to the availability of funds in 2014-15) From 1 August 2014

Acknowledgement and assessment process

EOI acknowledgement

All applicants will receive an acknowledgement email when the EOI has been received. The acknowledgement may be sent out before EOIs are checked for eligibility. Receiving an acknowledgment does not mean that an EOI is valid. Please see below for information on the eligibility check.

Eligibility check

Where an applicant or application is ineligible they will be advised and the application will not be considered.

Short listing

EOIs will be considered by an assessment committee which will make recommendations on a shortlist of EOIs to the committee chair for approval. Shortlisted EOIs will be invited to submit a complete application.

The assessment committee competitively assesses EOIs against the AICC Grants Program goals, objectives and selection criteria using a numerical rating system.

EOIs will be shortlisted primarily on the basis of the information supplied by the applicant in the EOI form. The assessment committee may seek additional input from relevant DFAT overseas missions to assist in the consideration of applications. As mentioned previously, applicants are expected to make contact with the relevant overseas mission.

The assessment committee may also take into account information from other sources that it considers appropriate, such as:

  • advice from AICC members, and other experts in the arts and cultural sector;
  • communication with other areas of government, including federal, state and territory arts agencies; and
  • previous DFAT grant acquittals (including any overdue or unsatisfactory acquittals).

Successful EOI applicants will be notified in writing and invited to submit a complete application. Please note that shortlisting does not automatically guarantee a grant.

Unsuccessful EOI applicants will be advised in writing following the completion of the EOI assessment process. Due to limited resources, unsuccessful EOI applicants cannot be given feedback on their EOI and will not be able to seek additional verbal feedback from the AICC Secretariat.

Application acknowledgement

All applicants will receive an acknowledgement email when the application has been received. The acknowledgement will be sent out before applications are checked for eligibility. Receiving an acknowledgment does not mean that an application is valid. Please see previous information on the eligibility check.

Decision-making

Applications will be considered by an assessment committee which will make recommendations to the First Assistant Secretary, Public Diplomacy and Communications Division or the Assistant Secretary, Public Diplomacy Branch for approval. The assessment committee competitively assesses applications against the selection criteria using a numerical rating system.  

Decisions are made primarily on the basis of the information supplied in the application, proposal, budget and accompanying support material. The assessment committee will seek additional input from relevant DFAT overseas missions to assist in the consideration of applications. Applicants are expected to make contact with the relevant overseas mission.

The assessment committee may also take into account information from other sources that it considers appropriate, such as:

  • advice from AICC members, and other experts in the arts and cultural sector;
  • communication with other areas of government, including federal, state and territory arts agencies; and
  • previous DFAT grant acquittals (including any overdue or unsatisfactory acquittals).

While an application may meet the selection criteria, a grant is not guaranteed. Successful applications may not be funded to the full amount requested.

Unsuccessful applicants will be advised in writing following the completion of the assessment process and will be able to seek additional verbal feedback from the AICC Secretariat on request.

Role of DFAT staff

The role of DFAT AICC Grants Program staff is to:

  • provide information and advice to the assessment committee to assist its determination of policy and its assessment of grant applications
  • provide information to potential applicants for grants
  • administer and monitor the program to enable a flexible, fair and efficient assessment process in the interest of both the decision-makers and applicants.

AICC Grants Program staff do not make decisions on funding applications.

Conflict of interest

Assessment committee members and AICC Grants Program staff must disclose any actual or perceived conflict of interest in any matter to be considered in which they are formally involved. Depending on the nature and extent of the conflict, they may be required not to take part in any discussion or decision-making process involving the conflict. Such disclosures will be formally recorded.

DFAT employees are required to comply with the Commonwealth Public Service Act 1999 and the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct. DFAT's Conduct and Ethics Manual ensures that any conflicts of interest, whether actual or perceived, do not influence decision-making. The manual is available online at http://www.dfat.gov.au/publications/conduct-ethics/.

Grant Conditions

Funding agreement

Grant recipients will be required to sign a legally-binding funding agreement setting out the terms and conditions of the grant and the requirement to provide an acquittal within two months of the completion of the project. An example of the funding agreement is available for download at www.dfat.gov.au/aicc.

The acquittal report will include an evaluation of the project and its outcomes, accompanied by supporting evidence and a certified financial acquittal. An audited financial statement may also be required.

Grant recipients will be required to provide a tax invoice, in accordance with GST legislation, for each payment of grant funds in accordance with the payment dates set out in the funding agreement. Payment of a grant will not be made until the agreement has been signed by all the relevant parties and the grant recipient has submitted an invoice. Applicants should not start the project until the agreement has been signed by all relevant parties.

Funding must be used for the specific activities outlined in the application and only towards those costs indicated in the budget for AICC funding expenditure. Recipients may request changes to the agreement in writing to the AICC Secretariat, but this does not guarantee the request will be approved. The recipient must repay any unspent funds and/or funds spent on non-approved items promptly.

If a grant cannot be taken up within the specified time period, it may be withdrawn. Any changes to the timing of the project, including delays, should be reported immediately to the AICC Secretariat. If required, a request for extension should also be submitted in writing. Requests for extension will be considered but may not be approved.

Other information

No guarantee of ongoing funding

Unless specified, approval of any grant to an individual, group or organisation does not commit DFAT to any future funding of that individual, group or organisation. Funding will be awarded to those who best meet the selection criteria within the amount of funds available.

Insurance

Grant recipients are responsible for all administrative costs and arrangements associated with their project including visa and travel arrangements, visa charges, airport taxes, ground transport, travel and health insurance for project participants, medical and hospital insurance cover for visitors not covered by Medicare in Australia (including evacuation and death cover), any necessary insurance for equipment, and accommodation costs and arrangements. Grant recipients must be covered by appropriate insurance, including public liability insurance. DFAT may request evidence of the currency and amount of cover under all relevant policies.

Administering grants

Groups/ensembles, unincorporated associations and other bodies with no legal status are required to nominate either a member of the group/ensemble or a legally constituted organisation to take responsibility for administering the grant, should one be given.

The applicant, the nominated member or an administering body should provide the acquittal once the project is completed. Both the applicant and the administering body will be considered responsible for unsatisfactorily acquitted grants. The administering body is not responsible for the artistic direction or the artistic quality of the project. Generally, the administering body would be required to sign the funding agreement.

Grant applicants should enter into a written agreement with their administering body, setting out the respective rights and responsibilities of both parties in relation to the grant's administration and acquittal. The agreement should also contain a dispute resolution clause setting out procedures to be followed in the event of a disagreement between the parties.

An organisation may be the administering body for as many DFAT grants as they see fit. Administering bodies may make grant applications in their own right.

Access and equity services

AICC Grants Program information is available in large format PDF versions, which can be downloaded from www.dfat.gov.au/aicc. Please contact the AICC Secretariat for assistance if required.

Applicants may speak with the AICC Secretariat in their first language by telephoning the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 (local call anywhere in Australia) and asking to be connected with the AICC Secretariat.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander applicants may wish to access assistance in submitting an application where English is not their first language. In these cases, applicants may contact an Indigenous language centre for assistance. A list of Indigenous language centres is provided in the National Indigenous Languages Contacts Directory available from:

The Federation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages and Culture (Corporation) (FATSILC)
295 King Street
Melbourne  VIC  3000
Tel: +61 3 9602 4700
Fax: +61 3 9602 4770
Email: info@fatsilc.org.au
Web: www.fatsilc.org.au

Taxation and grants

Grants paid by DFAT may be considered part of an applicant's income in a financial year and may be subject to tax, including the GST. Individual applicants need to be mindful of the taxation obligations of receiving a grant as an individual. It is the applicant's responsibility to understand their taxation obligations and liabilities. Advice is available from the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 66 or at www.ato.gov.au.

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) enables applicants to request documents held by DFAT. If applicants wish to access documents under the FOI Act they must make a formal application. Charges may apply. Access to information under the FOI Act is limited by certain exemptions and an authorised decision-maker will assess any requested documents prior to any release of information.

Privacy

All personal information provided in support of an application is treated in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988. The information provided in grant applications is used when processing and assessing applications. This information may also be used for training and system testing by DFAT staff and for evaluating the program.

The personal information provided by applicants will be stored centrally and will be available to Commonwealth officers and the government on a need-to-know basis.

Personal information concerning successful grant applicants may be disclosed to the AICC, to other Commonwealth agencies, State and Territory governments, media representatives, members of Parliament and the general public. DFAT may also publish this information in its Annual Report and on its website. DFAT is required to publish information about the AICC Grants Program on its website, including details of each grant awarded (for example, the recipient's name, state, suburb and postcode, the purpose and value of the grant, the date the funding agreement takes effect and the term of the agreement).

Rights and responsibilities

Funding under the AICC Grants Program does not imply or determine that DFAT endorses the views of the artists or participants involved in funded activity. Grant recipients are required to comply with all applicable domestic and international laws, and their activity should not bring DFAT into disrepute.

Travel safety

In planning overseas travel, it is recommended that applicants refer to DFAT's travel advisory service, Smartraveller. DFAT maintains travel advisories for more than 160 destinations, which provide accurate, up-to-date information about the risks Australians might face overseas. This information enables applicants to make well-informed decisions about whether, when and where to travel. DFAT encourages applicants and project personnel to register their travel with Smartraveller. This service can be accessed online at http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/. Notwithstanding any assistance provided by DFAT in facilitating international travel through an AICC grant, applicants are responsible for their own travel insurance and travel at their own risk.

Last Updated: 11 April 2014