Enrich your practice with an Australia Council scholarship

Life-changing opportunities await the emerging Australian artists who apply for the three scholarship programs managed by the Australia Council on behalf of Perpetual as trustee.

In 2018, visual artist Jahnne Pasco-White received the $50,000 Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship for painting, an experience she described as ‘life-changing’.

Coupled with a residency, the Scholarship enabled Pasco-White to spend five months in Paris, during which time she travelled widely, soaking in a range of experiences and stimuli.

‘It was completely amazing. A real priviledge,’ she said.

Pasco-White believes the body of work she made subsequently – including a 200 page book – demonstrates the benefits and the impact the Scholarship has had on her practice.

‘I feel like my work since that time has a lot more depth and rigor around research and the things I’m trying to think about and talk about. It feels much more considered, to me, at least.’

Jahnne Pasco-White’s becoming-with, 2019. Installation view at Gertrude Glasshouse. Image by Christo Crocker.

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

Art form specific scholarships, the Lady Mollie Isabelle Askin Ballet Scholarship and the Sir Robert William Askin Operatic Scholarship (each worth $30,000, paid in two instalments of $15,000 over two years) are also available.

Applications to all scholarships close on 1 February 2022.

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

‘You have to really put yourself out there, and you’re often proposing new ideas and you don’t know if they’re necessarily going to work, so you have to have confidence to even just come up with something,’ Pasco-White said.

‘Getting rejected is hard – no-one loves getting rejected – but my advice would be to persevere. And also not to take it too personally if it doesn’t work out.’

While the financial security associated with the Scholarship (paid in quarterly instalments over two years) was significant, Pasco-White said the validation she gained as a result of receiving the Scholarship was equally important.

‘Obviously the financial support is life changing as an artist, but funnily enough, that vote of confidence was also definitely needed, I think,’ she told ArtsHub.

‘Essentially it feels like they’re saying, “We trust in you, we believe in what you’re proposing or what you’re thinking about”. Sometimes you need a little wind in your sails to keep going, and it came at a really pivotal time for me, definitely.’


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

‘I’d just had a child and I was also starting to think about my career and my practice more ambitiously,’ she explained.

‘I was interested in researching things further, and perhaps also wanting to shift my practice from just jumping from show to show and any opportunity that I got, to making more concise and considered decisions.’

Consequently, the process of applying for the Scholarship helped Pasco-White bring her practice into sharper focus.

‘Actually writing the proposal was really productive, in terms of thinking about my work, because it can be really hard to describe what you are going to do in a two year project. It’s like, “Oh my God, I’ve never done this before! I don’t know how to do this!” But it became a really good exercise; a way of figuring it out,’ she explained.

‘And having that clarity around things, forcing yourself to really articulate what you are trying to do, what you are you interested in, and why you want funding, was really productive.’

Learn more about applying for a scholarship through the Australia Council. Applications close on 1 February 2022.

Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts