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Information for peers

About Arts Tasmania and the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board

The Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board (TAAB) was established under the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board Act 1975 to provide policy and funding advice to the State government. The board comprises members from various sectors of the arts and the wider community, appointed by the Minister for the Arts. They provide advice to the Minister through the recommendations for the expenditure of the annual grants and loans allocations. Arts Tasmania provides a secretariat role to the TAAB.

Arts Tasmania is responsible for policy, planning, strategic development and funding of the arts and movable cultural heritage in Tasmania. It also undertakes industry development to increase the capacity of the arts sector. Arts Tasmania is in the portfolio of the Minister for the Arts and is part of the Department of State Growth.

Arts Tasmania strives to offer an arts investment program that is responsive to the contemporary needs of Tasmania's arts sector. This includes a range of new models of arts investment to reduce the administrative burden of the application process, strengthen the focus on artistic quality, and maximise the impact of available funding across the sector.

In 2015, Arts Tasmania introduced a two-stage assessment process for its Organisations Investment Program and Artist Investment Program. This process has been reviewed and updated based on feedback received from applicants and assessors.

Both programs will retain the two-stage assessment process but applicants will now only need to make a single submission to Arts Tasmania. The first stage of assessment will be undertaken by artform-specific peer assessors. These peers will be drawn from the Arts Tasmania Peer Register.

About peer assessment

Each year, the State Government through Arts Tasmania invests in individual artists, arts organisations, and small museums and collections across Tasmania. Peer assessors bring expertise, contextual knowledge of the arts, and independence from government to this process. Peer assessment and arm's-length decision making are fundamental to Arts Tasmania's processes so that grants are offered to those applicants whose proposals (in competition with those of other applicants and within budget constraints) demonstrate the highest degree of merit against the published assessment criteria.

A peer is anyone who has relevant knowledge and professional experience of the arts that would enable them to make a fair and informed assessment of applications submitted for Arts Tasmania investment. This knowledge and experience could be developed through experience as a professional practising artist, arts worker or industry expert in one or more artforms.

Arts Tasmania uses peers in the first stage of assessment for applications received to the Organisations Investment Program and Artist Investment Program.

Application assessment: Stage 1

All applications are assessed by a combination of artform-specific members of the TAAB and/or its panels and peers chosen from Arts Tasmania's Peer Register. Anyone working professionally in the arts in Australia with relevant experience and knowledge can self-nominate to be on Arts Tasmania's Peer Register and may be chosen as an assessor. Peers do not have to be Tasmanian residents to participate in assessment, and Arts Tasmania encourages peers with relevant experience interstate to self-nominate. Peers participating in the first stage of assessment review applications 100% against the criterion of quality (the quality of the artistic idea behind the project or program, or quality of service).

Application assessment: Stage 2

Applications that progress to the second stage are assessed by Arts Tasmania's multi-artform panels. Panel members and members of the TAAB are appointed by the Minister for the Arts. Nominating to join Arts Tasmania's Peer Register does not mean that you will be appointed to a panel, but members of the Peer Register may be considered by the Minister for future panel appointments. If you wish to be considered for appointment as a member of the TAAB or one of its panels, you can indicate this by ticking the box on the Peer Register Nomination Form.

Panel members are drawn from the arts community encompassing the breadth of knowledge required to cover the scope of responsibility determined by the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board Act. Each panel is chaired by a member of the TAAB who reports back to the board with the deliberations of their respective panels. The board is responsible for endorsing all panel recommendations to the Minister for the Arts.

Peer Register nomination

Anyone who has relevant knowledge and professional experience of the arts can self-nominate to join Arts Tasmania's Peer Register. Prospective peers should visit the peer register page for information on how to join the Peer Register.

The Peer Register will contain the details of all artists, arts workers and industry experts who have registered their interest in participating in the peer assessment process.

Peer identification

The names of panel and board members are publicly available from the time they are appointed by the Minister for the Arts. The identity of peers participating in each assessment will not be released to applicants during the assessment period and will not be made publicly available until after the completion of the second stage of assessment and the announcement of investment decisions for any given round. At that time, the names of peers who participated in the first stage of assessment will be publicly available.

Selection of peers for assessment rounds

The TAAB will select peers drawn from a shortlist compiled by Arts Tasmania staff to assess any given round of applications. The shortlist will be based on the number of applications in each artform, the availability of peers with relevant artform expertise, and will take into account the most appropriate mix of artform knowledge, career stage, regional representation, and gender balance. This includes consideration of balance between local knowledge and national peers if national peers are selected. Selection of peers will comply with the TAAB's conflict of interest policy outlined below.

A variety of peers will be selected for each assessment round by the TAAB to determine the best mix of artform knowledge required for each particular round. Peers may be called on to undertake assessment of applications at any time during the period they are on the Peer Register.

Arts Tasmania anticipates that more peers will nominate for the register than will be required in any given assessment round, particularly in artforms with high representation. The best possible mix of peer assessors will be chosen for each assessment round, so that a variety of peers is selected and the same peers are not selected each round. However, please note it is possible that even though you are on the register, you may not be selected to make an assessment.

Duration of peer terms

Arts Tasmania highly values the expertise of those who nominate for the Peer Register. Peer details will be kept on the register for four years from the date your registration is received to ensure that the register remains responsive and relevant to the evolving needs of the sector. After four years you will have the opportunity to re-nominate. Peers may be called on to undertake assessments at any time during this four-year period.

Responsibilities of Peer Assessors

Peers must:

  • not have any grants or loans that are overdue for acquittal;
  • read the description of the investment program and the assessment criteria, as well as all applications and related documentation and essential support material received during an assessment;
  • comply with Arts Tasmania's policies (conflict of interest, confidentiality, etc.) at all times;
  • provide expert advice to the assessment panel and TAAB;
  • assess all applications only on the published assessment criteria and description of the program, and in accordance with any TAAB policies and directions;
  • give each application a score against the indicators of quality provided; and
  • have participated in a peer induction session prior to their first assessment round.

If you are selected to participate in assessment, you will be required to abide by the code of conduct, conflict of interest, confidentiality and other relevant policies of the TAAB and Arts Tasmania. You can download more information about these here:

Code of Conduct

Members of the Peer Register have an obligation to maintain a high standard of conduct. In discharging their responsibilities, members have a duty to observe this obligation and to avoid any conduct that might be regarded as discreditable. If you are invited to participate in assessment, you will be required to abide by the TAAB's principles of ethical conduct.

Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of interest can be actual, potential or perceived, and they can arise whenever a person in public office or performing public duties is involved in a decision-making process.

Managing conflicts of interest in peer assessment is critical to Arts Tasmania's processes. In selecting peers for a particular round, Arts Tasmania makes a conscious effort to identify relationships between peers and applicants, with a view to avoiding conflicts in the first place. However, conflicts such as those of an adversarial nature, third party or other relationship may not be readily identifiable. Peers selected for assessment must acknowledge any such interests before the assessment. A peer must also declare a direct or indirect financial interest, or a personal interest, in the outcome of the application.

Peers are eligible to apply for investment from Arts Tasmania. If a peer lodges an application or is a major beneficiary of an application, he or she will be omitted from the possible pool of peers for that round.

The TAAB's conflict of interest policy ensures that any conflicts of interest, whether actual or perceived, do not influence discussions about, or decisions on, applications. If you are invited to participate in an assessment round, you will be required to disclose any actual or perceived conflict of interest before confirmation of your selection as a peer for that particular assessment round. Depending on the nature and extent of the conflict, you may not be able to participate in the assessment. You will also be required to abide by the TAAB's conflict of interest policy.

Confidentiality of Information

Peers must treat both the material that they review, and any discussions related to their assessment, as confidential. They must not disclose information about applications, or discuss the names of the applicants, the recommendations, or any comments made by other peers. Under no circumstances may this information be or made public or released to the media.

Peers must return any materials used in assessment to Arts Tasmania staff and destroy all digital copies of the applications and support material in an appropriate manner that protects the privacy of individuals and the confidentiality of the information concerned.

The identity of peers participating in each assessment will not be released to applicants during the assessment period and will not be made publicly available until after the second stage of assessment is complete and the announcement of investment decisions for any given round has occurred. Peers are not able to provide information or feedback directly to applicants and if approached by applicants, peers are required to direct them to Arts Tasmania staff for a response.

Process of Peer Assessment

If you are selected to assess a round you will be provided with all the information you need to assist you in undertaking the assessment. In general, each assessment will follow a similar process to the one outlined here:

  • individuals will be selected to act as artform specific peer assessors for specific rounds
  • a minimum of three peers will assess each application
  • peers who have not undertaken an assessment before will undergo an induction
  • peers will be sent application materials via USB drive or email, or will access them via a secure website
  • peers review the material and individually score each application
  • once the peers have all assessed the application if there are any issues or discrepancies Arts Tasmania staff will arrange for peers to discuss the applications by email, teleconference or video conference
  • peers recommend to the TAAB those applications that they believe should procced to the second stage of assessment.

Assessment Criteria

Peers will assess applications against the criterion of quality. Each investment program includes a number of indicators of quality that the peers may consider in assessment. They may include:

  • Strength of the artistic concept, artistic practice, arts experiences and opportunities for arts practitioners
  • Creativity – imagination and originality
  • Progression – organisation and/or program development, fresh artistic approaches, experimentation and risk
  • Currency – timeliness, relevance and positioning in contemporary culture and/or sector

Remuneration and Entitlements for Peers

Fees and Allowances

Peers selected to assess applications in any given investment round will be paid a minimum engagement fee of $50. The fee will cover assessment and post-assessment discussions. No payment will be made for attending the induction session. Total remuneration will depend on the particular program and the number of applications assessed.

Payment Method

Fees are paid by electronic funds transfer. Peers will receive a remittance notice advising them of this payment.