City of Sydney provides funding lifeline to cultural sector

PS Liveworks Samara Hersch, Body of Knowledge, 2019 - photo by Pier CarthewSydney’s cultural and creative sector will receive a much-needed $1.4 million boost thanks to the City of Sydney’s latest round of grants. First Nations storytellers, accessible experimental artworks, a smartphone film festival, sewing workshops by female refugees and school art programs are just some of the projects to receive funding.

The City will contribute $594,660 in cash sponsorship and in-kind support worth $21,971 next financial year to 31 projects through this round of its cultural and creative grants and sponsorship program. Fourteen grants worth $568,000 in cash and in-kind support valued at $209,210 will be directed to festivals and events in the local area.

“Through our cultural and creative grants and sponsorship program, the City of Sydney supports arts and community organisations of all shapes and sizes to put on events and programs that serve our communities,” said Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

“It’s always been important for us to financially support the types of programs and events that we want to see in our city, but the grants have renewed significance as arts and cultural organisations adapt to coronavirus restrictions and struggle to survive.”

“The projects we’re funding will help the day-to-day lives of many in our community, build the cultural life of the city, enhance creativity, and strengthen our arts industry – an incredibly important investment,” said the Lord Mayor.

Artistic director and co-founder of Moogahlin Performing Arts Lily Shearer said the funds will help Yellamundie Festival explore storytelling through First Nations’ playwrights, choreographers and composers.

“Yellamundie is a Dharug word for storyteller. I am super excited to be the director of Yellamundie Festival in January 2021 and will see six storytellers from across our Great South Land develop and witness their work performed by local First Nations’ actors, dancers and musicians,” said Ms Shearer. “We also anticipate that Moogahlin will select one of these works for further development and presentation in 2022/23.”

The SmartFone Flick Fest (SF3) showcases films made entirely on smartphones, and features masterclasses and panel sessions with industry professionals. Festival co-founder Ali Crew said this year’s event will include a new iso category.

“With many parts of the world in some form of lockdown, we want to encourage filmmakers to tell their stories and share their pandemic experiences,” said Ms Crew. “We’ve already received lots of entries in the SF3 iso category and believe these films will provide an important time capsule of this significant period in our history.”

“It will be a different festival this year, but we’re also now living in a different world. We can’t wait to share this year’s best smartphone films with the people of Sydney and beyond!”

Artistic director and CEO of Performance Space Jeff Khan said the grant will bring to life a robust accessibility and inclusion program for its upcoming Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art. Plans include Auslan-interpreted performances, pre-show tactile tours, and audio descriptions.

“This grant will enable us to deliver a first-rate accessibility program at this year’s Liveworks Festival,” said Mr Khan. “Liveworks champions experimental art and this grant enables us to provide a suite of innovative new services that ensure a wider range of people can have exceptional and extraordinary experiences of the works on offer.”

Applications for the next round of cultural and creative grants and sponsorship will open early 2021 and a second round of festivals and events sponsorships (artform) will open in the next few months. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Body of Knowledge by Samara Hersch, presented as part of the 2019 Liveworks program – photo by Pier Carthew