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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Enrich your practice with an Australia Council scholarship

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In 2018, visual artist Jean Pascoe White received a $50,000 Marten Bequest Traveling Grant for Painting, an experience she described as “life-changing.”

Besides residency, the scholarship enabled Pascoe White to spend five months in Paris, during which she traveled extensively, enjoying an array of experiences and stimuli.

It was absolutely amazing. She said it was a real privilege.

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Pascoe White believes that her subsequent body of work—including a 200-page book—demonstrates the benefits and impact the scholarship has had on her practice.

I feel like my work since that time has a lot of depth and rigor around research and the things I’m trying to think about and talk about. I feel like it’s more considerate, for me, at least.

Jahnne Pasco-White became with, 2019. View installation at Gertrude Glasshouse. Christo Crocker’s photo.

Administered by the Council of Australia on behalf of Perpetual as a trustee, Marten Bequest Traveling Scholarships offer talented young artists – across a range of art forms – the opportunity to dedicate themselves to their work, while at the same time expanding their horizons through study and travel.

Art Forms Scholarships, the Lady Molly Isabel Askin Ballet Scholarship and the Sir Robert William Askin Practical Scholarship (each $30,000, paid in two installments of $15,000 over two years) are also available.

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Applications for all scholarships close on February 1, 2022.

Applying for a scholarship through the Council of Australia – as with applying for any form of funding – can sometimes be a daunting process.

“You really have to put yourself out there and often come up with new ideas and don’t know if they will necessarily work, so you have to have the confidence to even come up with something,” Pascoe-White said.

“Rejection is hard – no one likes being rejected – but my advice is to persevere. Also not to take it personally if it doesn’t work out.

While the financial security associated with the scholarship (paid in quarterly installments over two years) was great, Pascoe White said the validation she got as a result of receiving the scholarship was just as important.

“Obviously the financial support is changing our lives as an artist, but it’s funny that this vote of confidence was also definitely required, I think,” she told ArtsHub.

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“It’s like they say, ‘We trust you, we believe in what you suggest or what you think.’ Sometimes you need a little wind in your sails to keep going, and that came at a really pivotal time for me for sure.”

Permanent benefits of applying

For Pasco-White, the decision to apply for a Marten Bequest Travel Scholarship coincided with a time in her life when she was thinking more carefully about her career.

“I just had a baby and started thinking about my career and my practice more ambitiously,” she explained.

“I was interested in doing more research on things, and perhaps I also wanted to shift my practice from just jumping from one show to the next and any opportunity I had, to making more concise, thoughtful decisions.”

Thus, the scholarship application process helped Pasco White to focus more on her practice.

In fact, writing the proposal was really productive, in terms of thinking about my work, because it can be really hard to describe what you’re going to do on a two-year project. He’s like, “Oh my God, I’ve never done this before! I don’t know how to do this!” But it turned out to be a really good exercise; Way to find out, I explained.

“Having this clarity about things, and forcing yourself to really express what you’re trying to do, what you care about, why you want the funding, has been really productive.”

Find out more about applying for a scholarship through the Council of Australia. Applications close on February 1, 2022.

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