Digitise Initiative (COVID-19, Quick Response) Guidelines

Arts and Cultural Funding Program 2019/20

Sydney Dance Company Virtual Studio, Adult: Dance at Home online dance classes. Photo by Gez Mansfield, courtesy Sydney Dance Company.

Sydney Dance Company Virtual Studio, Adult: Dance at Home online dance classes. Photo by Gez Mansfield, courtesy Sydney Dance Company.

Applications for the Digitise Initiative are now closed.

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The information on this page is the full guidelines and will not be made available as a download. We recommend reading the full guidelines on this page before completing your application.


If you are an applicant with disability, and you require this information in a format which is accessible to you, or if you require this information in another language, you can contact us on the details below between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

Telephone: (02) 8289 6520
Email: arts.funding@create.nsw.gov.au
Direct contact details to the Arts Funding team.

Create NSW staff are available to provide information to potential applicants on interpretation of these Guidelines, including types of projects eligible for funding and advice on the online application process. Staff cannot help directly with your application. To maintain a fair and equitable process, staff are unable to edit or correct any applications.

The National Relay service numbers are:

TTY users: Phone 133 677 then ask for (02) 8289 6520

Speak and Listen users: Phone 1300 555 727 then ask for (02) 8289 6520

Internet Relay users: Connect to NES then ask for (02) 8289 6520

Apply now

This round is now closed.


The Digitise Initiative supports the creation, development, and presentation of creative practice and programming online, and through digital and virtual means. It is open to arts and cultural organisations in NSW.

Organisations can apply for between $500 and $10,000 towards a project resulting in digital programming outcomes and digital and online skills development.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of grant assessments no later than the week commencing 1 June, 2020.

Create NSW’s new Digitise Initiative has been developed in response to public health orders relating to COVID-19. It responds to the arts organisation and industry needs to continue to support artists and to develop and engage with audiences.

NSW Government – Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Digitise Initiative can support organisations to develop, produce, curate, and present the following range of activities, not limited to:

  • Podcast development and programming
  • Videocast development and programming
  • Online workshops and tutorials
  • Digital Publishing/Publications/Creative discourse
  • Establishing a virtual maker spaces/studio visit program
  • Virtual exhibitions/performances/screenings/concert series
  • Virtual tours of exhibitions and collections
  • Commissioning online work/s by an artist/s
  • Employment of a digital specialist
  • Digital production skills development
  • Website interactivity or capacity development

When can I apply for funding?

The Digitise Initiative opens on Tuesday 28 April and closes at 5pm on Tuesday 19 May 2020.

Your project may start as soon as you are notified of the outcomes of your application.

Who can apply for funding?

To be eligible for a Digitise Initiative Grant you need to meet the following two criteria:

  1. Applicant type

You must be:

  • an arts and/or cultural organisation based in NSW.
  1. Project focus

Your project must be a clearly defined arts and cultural activity.

You are ineligible to apply for a Digitise Initiative grant if:

  • your project has commenced or already taken place
  • you are already receiving funding from Create NSW for the same project
  • you are applying for filmmaking, screen production, mainstream animation or film festivals (see nsw.gov.aufor funding opportunities in this area)
  • your project contravenes advice from the Federal or NSW State Government in relation to public health orders. If you are undertaking work that requires artists or employees leaving their place of residence, you must provide evidence that it is both safe and lawful for you to do so.

Funds administration

Successful applicants will be contracted and paid by Create NSW within a month of the application being assessed.

How will my application be assessed?

Assessment criteria

You must address the following three assessment criteria:

  1. Project Merit

Your application should demonstrate the:

  • creative/artistic rationale for the project
  • quality and reputation of the organisation and its programming/previous work.
  1. Project Impact

Your application should demonstrate:

  • how your project will impact your organisation, artists, audiences or your community
  • an identified area of need in the community of artists and/or audiences that your organisation usually services, which this application addresses.
  1. Project Viability

Your application should demonstrate:

  • effective planning, use of resources and demonstrated ability, or planned skills development, to deliver programs in the digital realm
  • a realistic and accurate project budget.

Assessment process

You will receive an automated response from our secure online grants system once your application has been submitted. All applications then proceed through an assessment process as outlined below.

Eligibility check

Once received through the online grants system all applications will undergo an eligibility check.

Eligible applications proceed to the two-stage assessment process.

If you are deemed ineligible you will be advised in writing within 14 days of your submission date and your application will not proceed to assessment.

Assessment Stage 1

Create NSW staff will assess all applications against three assessment criteria: Merit, Impact and Viability.

Assessment Stage 2

Create NSW staff will make final recommendations with reference to the assessment criteria, artform, demographics and the distribution, range and scale of recommended applicants.

This may include prioritising applicants living and/or working in regional NSW, people living and/or working in Western Sydney, Aboriginal people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds, people with disability and young people. Prioritisation of recommended applicants ensures equity across the state and the best outcomes for NSW Government investment.

Further advice and/or clarification may be requested from applicants by Create NSW during the assessment process. Create NSW may seek further advice from representatives of the Artform Advisory Boards with regards to applications.

Further advice and/or clarification may be requested from applicants by Create NSW during the assessment process.

The NSW Government typically receives far more applications than it can support and even if your application meets the assessment criteria, you are not guaranteed funding. If you are successful, your application may not be funded to the amount you have requested.

When will I know if my application is successful?

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of grant assessments no later than the week commencing 1 June 2020.

What happens if my application is successful?

Successful organisations will be required to sign a funding agreement that covers the following:

  • Acceptance: Return a signed contract, and completed invoice, within two weeks of receipt.
  • Payment: Will be in line with State Government payment processes – all attempts will be made to pay successful applicants no later than four weeks after notification.
  • Publicity: The NSW Government must be acknowledged in any marketing/publicity collateral.
  • Timing: Your activity must commence after notification of the outcome of your application, before 31 August 2020 and be completed within 12 months of commencing.
  • Overdue acquittals: If you have received a grant or administered a grant from Arts NSW/Create NSW in the past and that grant has not been satisfactorily acquitted, payment of new funding may be delayed until acquittal has been submitted and approved.

How do I get feedback on my application?

When you are notified of the outcome of your application, you will also be provided with information on how to receive feedback.

What support is available to me?

Resources are available to assist you with your funding application. If you are applying for activity that involves working with Aboriginal communities or Aboriginal cultural heritage, please refer to Create NSW’s Aboriginal Arts and Cultural Protocols.

We also recommend that you sign up to the Create NSW e-Newsletter to stay informed of updates via our website.

Image: Sydney Dance Company Virtual Studio, Adult: Dance at Home online dance classes. Photo by Gez Mansfield, courtesy Sydney Dance Company.