More than half the grants awarded to individual artists in the latest round of Australia Council grants have gone to women. At 63 percent, this significant success rate for female grant applicants has been welcomed by the Australia Council in the wake of research published in Making Art Work: An Economic Study of Professional Artists in Australia. The report found that female artists routinely earn 25 percent less than their male counterparts, greater than the workforce gender pay gap of 16 percent, and also earn 30 percent less from creative work on average.

Composer Cat Hope. Photo supplied

Those in the music industry have particular cause to rejoice, as 73 percent of music grants awarded to individual artists went to women, representing a substantial increase on previous rounds. Acclaimed composer Cat Hope is one of these successful applicants – the grant will allow her to develop the final stage of her opera, Speechless.

Other successful female grant applicants receiving support for concerts and performances include Genevieve Lacey, for the final development and premiere of a performance piece called Soliloquy; Kate Neal, for the final development and presentation of a new musical work called While You Sleep, which incorporates screen and theatrical content; and Louise Devenish, to commission and perform new work by Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh and Matthias Schack-Arnott.

Artists who will receive support for recording projects include Judith Hamann, to record an album of work for cello and voice, and Lamorna Nightingale, for the recording of new Australian electroacoustic flute works and development of an associated education kit.

Those who have received grants for professional development include violinist Eliza Scott, who has received funds towards study at the Royal College of Music, London; mezzo Emma Muir Smith, towards study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts; violinist Gemma Lee, towards further study at the Hochschule Hannover in Germany; and Phoebe Bognar, to attend the Flute Studio with flautist Trevor Wye.

Other projects to be supported in this latest grant round include the Australian Women in Music Awards, its inaugural ceremony to be held in Brisbane next month, and the latest dance work from choreographer Stephanie Lake, in collaboration with director Matthew Lutton.

Other successful applicants include Dead Puppet Society, which will allow the company to tour its acclaimed theatre work The Wider Earth to the UK, and Sydney Chamber Opera, towards the development and premiere of a new work by Pierce Wilcox. Titled Oscar and Lucinda, it’s slated to open in August of next year.

Overall, this latest grant round from the Australia Council will deliver $6.3 million to Australian artists, supporting more than 200 projects from individual artists, groups and organisation.

“These grants will support a significant range of arts activity,” says Australia Council CEO Tony Grybowski. “The Australia Council’s project and career development grants invest in artists at crucial moments, supporting sustainable careers, and the creation of compelling artistic work that will be experienced and enjoyed by audiences across Australia and internationally.”