Sustaining Creative Workers Initiative


What is available?

The government has announced a total of $5 million to support independent creative practitioners who have been impacted by COVID 19 in 2021. This includes:

  • Up to $5,000 for individuals, sole traders and freelancers; and,
  • Up to $10,000 for collectives, groups and micro-organisations/businesses (micro organisations/businesses are those that employ less than 5 Full Time Equivalent staff).
  • Plus, up to $2,500 in additional access funding is available for applications from Deaf and Disabled creatives, artists, arts workers, and disability-led organisations/businesses.

Take note, this grant program is for you! 20% of the grant funding will be allocated to culturally and linguistically diverse applicants!

As your peak body, MAV has been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that the program meets the needs of diverse creatives, including lobbying for the 20% quota that you see applied to this program.

We are committed to striving for equity and justice in the arts.

What support is there for diverse creatives?
  • Support for diverse creatives is available from MAV and RAV.
  • We have two Creatives of Colour working as program advisors who are able to answer questions and guide the development of your application. They are Grace Vanilau and Aaron Stephanus. You can make a time to meet with Grace or Aaron at this link. See below for information about Grace and Aaron.
  • If you require auspicing of your grant, you can make those arrangements through MAV by contacting Miriam Abud at
  • We will be holding two information sessions for diverse creatives on Zoom, on:
    20 Oct 2021, Wed, 6pm and 3 Nov 2021, Wed, 6pm.
    Bookings required, register via Eventbrite below.
Who is delivering the program?

The Sustaining Creative Workers program is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria and administered by an industry advisory group comprising Creative Victoria, Arts Access Victoria, MAV, Music Victoria, NETS Victoria, Regional Arts Victoria, Theatre Network Australia and Writers Victoria.

A MAV team of creatives of colour will be assessing applications by those applicants who indicate that preference.

What are the dates for the program?

There will be two rounds. Applicants can apply anytime up to 5pm, Monday November 22, 2021. Two rounds will be assessed during the program open period:

  • Round One: closes 5pm Tuesday October 26. Applicants who submit before this date will be assessed in Round One and advised of Outcomes in the week commencing Monday November 15. Any applicant who does not receive funding in Round One will automatically be considered in Round Two. Up to 25% of the total funding pool will be distributed through Round One.
  • Round Two: closes 5pm Monday November 22. Applicants who submit to Round Two will be advised of Outcomes in the week commencing December 13. At least 75% of the total funding pool will be distributed through Round Two.

Grace Vanilau is an Aotearoa-born Samoan woman, residing and working on the sacred lands of the great Kulin Nations for 25 years. A Community Arts and Cultural Development practitioner, cultural producer, and interdisciplinary artist. She morphs across disciplines as a weaver, singer-songwriter, performance poet, and writer and has traveled internationally doing what she loves… purely because she can. But, more importantly, she is a mama of three and nana of one – juggling has become an integral part of her daily performance act.

She has been involved in the Pacific arts sector for the past 30 years both in Aotearoa NZ and Australia and draws on her extensive networks in the Oceania Moana and broader arts communities to bring together people who are passionate about contributing to the transference and evolution of arts and cultural heritage. Producing, delivering, and strongly advocating for culturally responsive and nuanced arts programs and projects for Pacific diaspora communities, as well as creating spaces for respectful intercultural dialogue and exchange.

She is passionate about supporting artists and communities of colour to take agency of their own and their respective communities’ creative and cultural development.

Image credit: Grace Vanilau. Photo by Ivy Mutuku.

Australian born, Namibian raised rapper, vocalist, producer, songwriter, workshop facilitator, curator, director, actor, model and performing artist Aaron Stephanus aka 1/6 has been honing his craft since 2005. As a well established member of the local music scene, he has travelled extensively around Australia with numerous groups and bands, including The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, Black Jesus Experience (BJX), Illzilla and The Four Aces (Mata and Must, Flu) amongst others.

Aaron was the first recipient of the Hilltop Hoods grant initiative when it went national in 2010 and has been releasing solo material since that same year – including his debut album Electronic Mail, released in 2012 with local Hip Hop label Pang Productions; and an EP produced by Phil Gektor (Crate Cartel) titled Hemicrania in 2016. His efforts extend past his own endeavours – working with organisations such as MAV, running the Heard Instinct hip hop program in conjunction with Shingo’s Cafe in Shepparton and the All Pasts Lead To Now festival; The Learn Hip Hop literacy program run through the Fitzroy Library and with various schools around Victoria facilitating writing and performing workshops with youth eager to develop their own practice in the field of music composition and song-writing.

2021 saw Aaaron’s return to releasing solo music alongside producer, The Silent Titan for a two track E.P Nunc Est Bibendum/Dreams which was released digitally via Low Key Source. The single Nunc Est Bibendum was launched as an immersive video launch and live performance, curated by One Sixth and featuring the video work of Raphael Recht and photographer and movement director Deepasheni Thirumoothy and exhibited at B-SIDE Gallery, Melbourne in between lockdowns.

Image credit: Aaron Stephanus aka 1/6. Photo courtesy the artist.

Image Credit: MAV TAKEBACK! 2021 Video shoot, (L-R) Taga Barrio, Jessica D’cruze, Ashleyrose Gilham, Ashleingh Black, Joshinder Chaggar, Nel Mama Boho, Loz Sorono, Muma Doesa, Gracieuse Amah, Demi Sorono and Chichi Nwokocha. Photo by Deshani Berhardt (Wild Hardt)