2. Cooking Your Grant with ICE Director John Kirkman - Information & Cultural Exchange

2. Cooking Your Grant with ICE Director John Kirkman

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Now that Australia Day has come and gone (always a relief), we can get back to work. Which for many of us – and you – means grant writing. Having enjoyed Ziyad Springborg’s grant writing blog last week I thought I’d stick my oar in over the next couple of weeks and drill down further on his good advice regarding funding.

Having worked as an arts manager, Gallery Director, cultural producer and curator since the early 1990s I’ve written a lot of grant applications across a myriad of artforms – the visual and performing arts, community art, public art, capital works. These grants have been across a complex range of funding sources – local government, state and federal arts funding, social welfare funding, philanthropic trusts, sponsors, corporations, local business.

I’ve also had the good fortune to sit on a lot of funding assessment panels. Given that you see the very best (and worst) of grant applications, this has been great professional development. In short, I know a bit about all of this.

This week I would like to deal with developing a project idea and taking it to proposal form. So…for those of you interested – read on, for you others – skip to YouTube. So to start…


This all sounds very straightforward. It’s not. You can have a great idea. But is it a project In developing a project idea into a grant proposal I always pose and answer some very basic (and obvious) questions i.e.

  • What do you want to do
  • Why do you want to do it
  • When do you want to do it
  • What do you want to achieve
  • What will be the outcomes
  • Who do you want to do it with and/or for
  • How much will it cost Who might fund it Why
  • Who could you do it with Are there possible partners

So…you should be able to succinctly answer and document each of the above. Doing so will give you a valuable basis for a draft grant proposal.


What really helps in forming a project idea is talking about it. Workshopping as it were. The more you talk through and pitch your idea (for example to friends, colleagues, fellow artists) the easier it is to clarify what you might want to do. (Fact is you pick up pretty quickly what people think is good and not so good). You should also be revising your draft proposal as you go.

Next week…Preparing your grant application. See you then.


Words by John Kirkman.
Image by Marian Abboud.

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