Roslyn Russell, Kylie Winkworth
© Commonwealth of Australia, 2010
ISBN 97 80977544363 (pbk)
Applying for a grant
Many grant programs now use significance to guide decisions on funding. Application forms ask applicants to set out the reasons why their item or collection is significant enough to warrant funding under the program guidelines. Applicants may be required to prepare a statement of significance using the assessment criteria. Comparison with similar items or collections as part of the significance assessment helps to make the case for funding.
Note from the Department, September 2010: The Department and the National Library of Australia advise that for grant applications to the Community Heritage Grants program in particular, the preparation of a statement of significance using the assessment criteria is a mandatory requirement of each application.
Community Heritage Grants
Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association, an Indigenous-owned, non-profit organisation based at Milikapiti, a remote Aboriginal community on Melville Island, Northern Territory, applied for a Community Heritage Grant in 2008 and was successful. How did Jilamara Arts and Crafts make the case for its collection's national significance?
First, Jilamara Arts and Crafts provided information about the nature and history of the collection. Here is a summary.
The organisation has operated since 1989, and represents, or has represented, the interests of prominent Tiwi artists, including Raelene Kerinauia, Timothy Cook, Pedro Wonaeamirri, and the late Freda Warlapinni and Kitty Kantilla, Tiwi artists associated with Jilamara have also exhibited internationally, in Hamburg, Germany and The Hague, Holland.
In 1989 a 'keeping place' for the Milikapiti community, the Muluwurri Museum, was established within the arts centre complex. It includes artworks and ceremonial items created by living and deceased Tiwi artists. The museum's collections include a major group of carvings consisting of nine hand-tooled large scale Pukamani poles, and twenty smaller works depicting ancestral figures and birds carved from ironwood, a eucalyptus species indigenous to the islands, and painted with locally sourced ochre.
Next, Jilamara Arts and Crafts wrote a statement of significance that sums up the key values of the collection.
Statement of significance
Pupini Jilamara circa 1990s
Ochre on bark
Reproduced courtesy of Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association
The collection's historical significance is embodied in items representing the community's history, particularly large scale mural panels from the old community ration canteen/store painted by renowned Tiwi artists and children in the 1970s. These are important because of their connection to the early welfare period on the island; they are also rare examples of public murals, some of which include unusual figurative imagery, such as figures of three former employees at the community store.
The ceremonial carvings and artefacts in the museum are historically significant because they record techniques and elements of ceremony that have changed or are no longer used by the Tiwi people. The large carvings are all hand-tooled with axes, chisels and files–techniques that have since been replaced by the use of power tools.
Early workshops held at the art centre by the Australian Print Workshop helped to pioneer Indigenous printmaking. Artists' proofs of editioned prints made at the centre are held. Not all the works were editioned at the time; in many cases these artist's proofs are the only copies, so also have rarity value.
The museum holds the war medals of Harry 'One' Mungatopi (c. 1910–1988), Milikapiti community region traditional owner and World War II veteran. These items represent a crucial period of Australian history when Indigenous Australians joined the war effort, only to be deemed ineligible for war pensions after their service. During the Second World War the Tiwi Islands were the only inhabited Australian outpost between Darwin and the Japanese forces, and played an integral and often unrecognised role on the frontline of the conflict.
The artistic significance of the museum's collection is amply demonstrated in a number of older carved items dating back to the 1950s that provide excellent examples of an early style of Tiwi carving. Many artefacts, such as armbands used by dancers during the Pukamani funeral ceremony, display a level of complexity in their design and making that is no longer seen in similar contemporary examples.
Included in the collection are examples of a key artist's work, especially a rare ochre on bark painting from 1991 by the late Kitty Kantilla, an artist of national and international significance. Artist's proofs of Kantilla's widely celebrated etchings and lithographs are also held.
The museum collection has research potential, as it charts the development of the art centre over its twenty-year history, and holds material that demonstrates the development of different artists and methods of art making on the Tiwi Islands.
1 Margie West carried out the significance assessment on this collection and her comments have informed this statement of significance.
Significance in action
Significance assessment applications and case studies
- Conservation treatment
- Collection risk assessment
- Collection care
- Copying and digitisation
- Collection analysis and policy development
- In situ collections
- Shared collections
- Exhibitions and interpretation
- Online exhibitions
- Online access and education
- Assessing cultural heritage website quality
- Nominating to a register
- Applying for a grant
- Advocacy and resourcing
- Fundraising and promotion
- Thematic studies and regional surveys
- Collections mapping
- Significance training