The longitudinal study of early career artists

10 Dec 2013

The Australia Council longitudinal study of early career artists aimed to better understand the career development of artists and the impact of receiving an Australia Council grant.

The research explores these areas by measuring direct grant impacts, career perceptions and development, and time spent on creative practice and income earned from creative practice.


We commissioned Urbis, an independent interdisciplinary consulting firm to conduct the longitudinal research. In 2010, we surveyed early career artists that had applied for a grant in 2008-2010, and followed them for a further two years (2011 and 2012).

The research design compares those who have received Australia Council grants and those who have not. This allows us to better understand the impact of Australia Council grants.

This research included applicants to a number of grants specific to early career artists – include ArtStart, JUMP, Splendid, ARI grants, and Creative Residencies and Commissions. ArtStart grant recipients were of particular focus as they were the only group with enough respondents to analyse in a statistically reliable way.

It should be noted that any differences observed over time are likely to be due to both the impact of the grant and the influence of any pre-existing differences between successful and unsuccessful applicants. So that we can be more confident in our assessment of the role of the grants themselves, we ask artists directly about the impact of their grant, as well as observing changes in their career over time.


The key findings of the research have been summarised in the three factsheets below:

  • The career development factsheet is about the perceptions artists have of their artistic careers, how they have developed their careers through planning and networking and what they have achieved. It is available in PDF (32) and HTML (5).
  • The creative time and income factsheet focuses on the creative practice of the early career artists in the study – particularly in relation to the amount of time spent on their creative practice and the income earned from their creative practice. It is available in PDF (7) and HTML (4).
  • The ArtStart factsheet pulls out key findings for the ArtStart grant recipients. ArtStart grants support artists to build and develop an income generating career in their creative practice, rather than funding the creation of work. It is available in PDF (6) and HTML (5).
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