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Unlocking Capacity FAQS

You are welcome to contact us to see if you and VIPI could be the right fit!

Email or call 03 9947 1015

What are the dates for Round 3 of the Unlocking Capacity grant?

There will a third and final round of Unlocking Capacity in the second half of 2021. Please register your interest to be notified of the round opening by emailing

What is different about Unlocking Capacity Round 2?

We understand that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created uncertainty regarding future planning, travel and gatherings. When proposing projects for 2021, you should take COVID-safe practices into account and consider contingencies while still feeling free to present your creative ideas. Creative Victoria will be flexible on timelines for the selected projects to ensure they can be realised in line with any public health measures or restrictions of the day.

The program guidelines have been updated – please make sure to align your responses to the revised assessment criteria, in responding to the three main application questions.

You are now able to attach one additional page of information, to further expand on your application responses, in your supporting documents.

For your budget, you will need to provide a budget breakdown of the $35,000 Unlocking Capacity grant as well as other income and expenditure, which will give the panellists any necessary context to your independent producing model. The panellists need to be able to understand your rationale for the planned expenditure of the Unlocking Capacity grant within the broader context of your independent producing practice.

As part of your 3-page CV, you could include a longer producer biography as well as your artists’ biographies.

I’ve done bits of independent producing over the years, in between other commitments. Would I qualify for the Unlocking Capacity grant or the Producers Mentorship Program?

We do not penalise people for having life happen in between independent producing commitments. Describe as best as you can the amount of independent producing experience that you have done, both through your CV as well as through your application.

For the Producers Mentorship Program, the three years of experience is NOT a pre-requisite.

What is meant by “Unlocking Capacity”? What kinds of activities or career/business objectives will be supported?

This will differ from producer to producer. Some examples of activities that may be supported include, paying yourself a wage so that you can:

  • Remodel your independent producing practices
  • Maintain and deepen your professional support of Victorian-based independent artists/ collectives/ companies you work with
  • Maintain and build relationships with local, national and international partners

Your application will be assessed against the revised Assessment Criteria in the Unlocking Capacity grant guidelines.

Could the Unlocking Capacity grant be used solely as a wage?

The majority of the Unlocking Capacity grant can be dedicated to your wage. We also recommend allocating some of the grant towards professional development activities, as an investment in building your capacity.

The strongest applications will demonstrate how receiving this wage will “unlock” your capacity over a two to three-year period and the expected outcomes for your practice and the independent performing arts sector.

You will need to demonstrate how receiving this grant will address the revised Unlocking Capacity assessment criteria, available in the guidelines document.

What counts as 50% of your professional time?

In order to apply to Unlocking Capacity, at least 50% of your professional time needs to have been dedicated to your independent producing practice.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, your independent producing practice may have shifted to include more time for research, networking, professional development and meetings to maintain relationships with artists. All  these activities can still count towards your independent producing practice hours. Alternatively, it may be more relevant to report on your practice prior to the pandemic.

Moreover, one way to calculate 50% of your professional time is to halve a full-time working week of 38 hours, arriving at a minimum of 19 working hours per week. You need to be dedicating at least 19 hours per week on your independent producing practice to apply for the Unlocking Capacity grant.

We are aware that some applicants (including parents) may need to have flexible working arrangements. As long as the panellists are able to see evidence of your commitment to your independent producing practice, both prior to the pandemic and currently, you are able to apply for the Unlocking Capacity grant.

Finally, another way you would be able to apply for the Unlocking Capacity grant, is following completion of the VIPI Producers Mentorship Program.

What is meant by this assessment criteria: “How the funding will support your sustainability holistically as a practitioner”?

In addition to thinking about your financial sustainability as an independent producer, we encourage you to also consider your mental health, strategies of self-care, community-care and peer-to-peer support, in thinking holistically about your sustainability.

Can I have my Unlocking Capacity grant auspiced?

Yes. Please see information for all applicants and auspiced organisations, here. This link is also in the General Eligibility page in the Unlocking Capacity guidelines.

What do you need to put into your workplan for the Unlocking Capacity Grant?

Please see the sample workplan provided on the Creative Victoria website.

Please submit as much information as you are able to for the first year of activities to be funded by the grant. If you have tentative activities in your 2nd and 3rd year, include these as well.

You will be required to submit an updated timeline at the end of year 1 and year 2. You will need to submit this updated timeline in order for the next invoice to be processed.

Can you be a self-producing company and apply for VIPI’s Producer Mentorship Program and the Unlocking Capacity grant?

The strongest applicants will demonstrate how the producing work that they do supports a suite of independent artists, independent collectives and unfunded companies. Meaning, you will need to demonstrate how the benefits of your work as a producer goes beyond your own unfunded company. Otherwise, you would not be the priority to receive support from the Producers Mentorship Program nor the Unlocking Capacity grant.

I still have questions. Who can I talk to about the Unlocking Capacity grant?

For all VIPI program related enquiries, please contact

For any technical questions related to accessing the Creative Victoria Grants Portal to submit your application, please contact Chloe Turner, Senior Arts Officer, Creative Victoria on 03 9623 1169 or 1800 134 894 (toll free country Victoria only) or by email at

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