Great creative arts scholarships for postgrads

The category of ‘creative arts’ has as many scholarships as there are disciplines. We’ve picked a few of our favourites to help you through postgrad.
James Davis
James Davis
Team PostgradAustralia
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To help offset some of the postgraduate study costs, we’ve come up with a list of excellent scholarships you can apply for that specialise in the creative arts, including:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Communication
  • Creative writing
  • Fashion design
  • Film & TV
  • Graphic design
  • Journalism
  • Music

This makes them quite flexible.

If you’re intimidated by the prospect of scholarship applications, fear not! We’ve written a free, comprehensive guide to postgraduate scholarships and getting selected that you can reference throughout this article. If you’d rather not go elsewhere for now, here are just a couple tidbits from it that’ll help you understand some of the common terminology in relation to scholarship applications:

  • There are three main types of scholarships.
    • Merit-based scholarships rely on some combination of grades, professional or extra-curricular achievements to succeed.
    • Need-based scholarships adopt their namesake in only being given to those of greatest need. This is commonly in the form of financial hardship, but can be in reference to coming from a disadvantaged background or having a disability.
    • Research-based scholarships are often discipline-specific endeavours that requires applicants to undergo research in a very particular area. For instance, it may require a student of archaeology to travel to Macedonia and investigate the remains of ancient Macedonian soldiers.
  • Written statements require a short blurb about yourself, with your achievements as supporting evidence rather than being centre stage.
  • CVs or resumes put your achievements first in fairly terse language.
  • Professional references are former bosses or professors.
  • Personal references are family members, friends or community leaders, the latter being preferable.
  • Academic transcripts are official or unofficial documents provided by your university. When an application asks for these if you haven’t yet finished undergrad, an unofficial transcript will normally do just fine.

Without further adieu, here are some great funding opportunities in the creative arts.

JB Fairfax Award - $10,000 and an internship

This scholarship is designed to support aspiring regional or rural journalists. Fittingly, students must write a 1,200 word story about a person in regional or rural Australia who has inspired them written to publication standard. What is publication standard, you might ask? For the most part, exceptional grammar and efficient choice of words. You want to make it eye-catching and readable to an audience of time-starved people.

In addition to this, students must submit a 600 word news article complete with primary and secondary sources on rural Australia. This is entirely separate from the 1,200 word story.

It’s required to be within a discipline that relates to telling the stories of rural or regional Australians and their affairs. The most obvious choice therefore would be journalism, but this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. You could theoretically be in another creative arts discipline. So long as you can prove your interest in being a regional journalist with your work and personal achievements, you’ll have a good chance at this scholarship and subsequent internships at the RAS Media Team at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, Fairfax Agricultural Media at The Land Newspaper and Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Brisbane.

Annual Art and Design Scholarship - $1,000 pa

This opportunity is hosted by 1st-Art-Gallery.com to incentivise the production of creative, original works of art and design. Students can submit their designs and creative enterprises to enter, including but not limited to:

  • Artwork
  • A short story
  • Design
  • Drawing
  • Film
  • Poetry

The only guiding principle for subject matter is ‘art that makes you proud’, so it’s up to your interpretation. If you’re in a writing-centric liberal arts discipline, you’re required to submit a 2,000 word written piece that describes a similar concept. However, this doesn’t need to be a bespoke application or written statement. It can simply be a sample of recent work on any subject. The selection committee’s goal here is to assess the quality of your writing more than the subject matter.

The William and Marie Souter Encouragement Awards - Variable

This is offered by the University of Sydney to students of classical music. Specifically, students must either have an unconditional letter of acceptance or current position at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Applicants must have proficiency in both their instrument of choice and performing on a stage. This is only open to Australian residents who are from a financially disadvantaged background. If you do meet these requirements however, the specificity should lend itself to higher chances of success than some other opportunity with highly general requirements.

The value of this scholarship is determined by the Sydney Conservatorium’s Dean, who will specify this in the successful applicant’s letter of acceptance. We’d recommend not being put off by the unknowable nature of this scholarship’s value however, as your eligibility is sufficient to wager you have a good chance of success.

The Kirkpix Trust Scholarship - Variable

These are identical to the William and Marie Souter Encouragement Awards, with only one exception: they are dedicated to skilled saxophonists. Success is therefore contingent upon similar criteria as the former scholarship; socio-economically disadvantaged background and excellent stage performance are huge indicators for success.

The PostgradAustralia Scholarship - $2,750

Our own scholarship is inclusive of many different demographics. It doesn’t matter what your nationality is, what you’re studying, socio-economic status or even GPA. All we care about is your passion for what you do. As a student of creative arts however, you’ll find that you may even have an advantage.

To apply for this scholarship, there are two things you need to do.

  • Write a 500 word statement about why you’re passionate about your field of study.
  • Create a creative social media post that describes why you love what you do. With your exceptional creativity, you should have no problem fulfilling this criterion!

We highly recommend it. If this sounds like something for you, feel free to apply here. Applications for the 2019 scholarship close at the end of March 31 with the winner announced on April 5.

Linda Lou Murphy Visual Arts Scholarship - $5,000

These are for students of visual arts to showcase their potential, with first-year students favoured over those later on in their degrees. This is a need-based scholarship, requiring applicants to be permanent residents of citizens of Australia. They must participate in an interview to assess their passion for visual arts, as well as submit a written statement detailing where their enthusiasm comes from and why they’re passionate about visual arts.

Judith Neilson Scholarship in Contemporary Art - $30,000 pa

This opportunity is for art enthusiasts with an unconditional letter of acceptance to study a PhD in the University of Sydney Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Successful applicants must display passion, knowledge and engagement in various facets of art, including:

  • Art history
  • Art theory
  • Chinese art
  • Curatorial studies
  • Global art cultures
  • Transcultural studies
  • Visual culture

‘Engagement’ isn’t defined precisely, but prospective applicants can presume it means having created works of art inspired by Chinese stylings, written academic papers on these topics or be involved in relevant societies. In addition, those with skills in Chinese are preferred over other candidates, so if you have a mind for languages this might be an excellent opportunity for you! Even if you can’t speak Chinese, it’s still worth a shot.

Hopefully, this has given you some insights into what’s available and what creative arts scholarships require of their applicants. As you can see, some of the requirements can be hyper specific, which is both a blessing and a curse. If you meet them, they’re sometimes so specific (like the Kirkpix Trust Scholarship) that you’re practically a shoe-in if you’re eligible!

If you don’t feel like you’re eligible for any of these, or aren’t interest in what’s on offer here, don’t fret! We’ve got many, many more scholarships on our site here. If you haven’t already, of course remember to consult our guide to postgraduate scholarships for further insights and advice on how to succeed. Good luck!