Geek in Residence v2.0 – call for applications
Geek in Residence call announced
I’m delighted to be able to announce that the Geek in Residence program is now open for applications for a second year.
We are still experimenting with this pilot initiative, so this time you will notice a few changes:
- you now apply through the Australia Council website, click here for Hosts and here for Geeks.
- the Geeks get a bit longer to complete their applications in case they want to tailor it to a successful Host (we’ll announce the Hosts at the end of December).
- potential Hosts with a turnover of less than $300,000pa can present their case for an unmatched grant.
The Geek in Residence initiative was developed in response to the Australia Council‘s arts organisation community, who have asked for help developing their digital skills and confidence. The process is that those arts organisations can apply for up to $25,000 (which must be matched in cash) to go toward the cost of employing a geek for up to 12 months. The potential host arts organisations need to tell us what outcomes they hope to see in three main areas; artistic programming, audience development and general operations. These applications are reviewed by an internal committee of art form directors who are familiar with the needs of these clients. The successful hosts will be announced at the end of December.
The Geeks should start applying now also, but they have a bit of extra time to refine their applications in response to those specific Hosts. An internal team then shortlist the Geek applications, matching a shortlist of Geeks to each selected Host. The Host then interviews the shortlisted Geeks and makes a decision. it is possible for the Host to select a number of Geeks providing they are able to resource their needs. A project plan is developed by the new teams, and employment contracts made between the Geek and their Host.
To apply, visit click here for Hosts and here for Geeks. Register (if you’re not already in the system), log in, go to ‘start new application’, select ‘Arts Organisations’ and select the Geek or Host application from the drop-down.
We highly recommend both geeks and hosts come to a special Geek Speed Dating session we are holding as part of our series of visits around the country. Fee Plumley, Digital Program Officer, will provide a few updates about the digital program, explain a bit more about the Digital Culture Fund and the Geek in Residence program and you’ll hear from some of last year’s successful applicants to both the grant programs from last year. There is also opportunity tobook in to one-to-one meetings if you want more direct discussion about your proposal. http://artsdigitalera.com/submit/
Q - Do you have to be a Key Organisation to apply to be a Host?
A - No, but you do need to be an arts organisation who has been supported by the Australia Council and is known by an arts officer here.
Q - I am a Host, do I need to find my own Geek?
A - No, we will match up a shortlist of Geeks who we feel will suit your needs. You will have a chance to interview them before you make your final decision.
Q - I want a new website. Can the geek just do that for me?
A - No. It should be a natural part of your business to have a website, and the Geeks are there in a much more advisory/consultancy role. They could certainly advise you on the best approach for your web development, help you devise the most appropriate content and platform, even find you a good web designer and liaise between you both on the delivery. But to have them sitting in a back room programming instead of out ‘on the floor’ watching and listening to your core business activities so that they can offer the best possible advice, would be a waste of their skills and a missed development opportunity for your organisation.
Q - I know a great Geek. Can we apply as team?
A - You should both apply, separately. You can mention each other in your applications, but if you apply purely with that one person in mind, you risk limiting your outcomes to the skills of that one individual. We might find someone who is more suited to your needs, or even a group (possibly including the person you already know) who can collaboratively be the perfect team for you. Also, if you don’t get selected, perhaps they might want to share their skills with someone else.
Q - I have a great project that needs a Geek. Can I just apply for someone to help with that?
A - No. This program is about enabling a cultural shift in the organisation, not facilitating a single technical project. The objective is to enable your staff to feel confident in their daily technological practices, to increase efficiency, reduce costs and enable reach.
Q - Everyone needs a Geek. How do I make my application stand out from everyone else’s?
A - Find a unique proposition which both enhances your organisation, but also provides a valuable case study to share back out across the sector.
Q - Can I see the HOST’s application process before I apply?
A - Yes, you can now view a walkthrough here: http://artsdigitalera.com/onlineHOSTS.
Q - I don’t have $25,000 but I could probably scrape together $10,000/$15,000 (or something). Should I still apply?
A - We do say ‘up to $25,000k’ but last year all the applicants requested the full amount, so we expect the same thing to happen again this year. You can request less if you want, but a lower amount is likely to mean reduced outcomes against other applications. I would therefore encourage you to consider seeking additional funding to help match it.
Q - Do you have to be a citizen or permanent resident to apply to be a Geek?
A - Yes, that is a condition of all Australia Council grants.
Q - What are you looking for in a Geek?
A - It’s less about your technical skills and more about your ability to help people to discover their inner geek. You need to be enthusiastic, patient and generous. Your role is as an advisor, a type of humble consultant or mentor; you’re not there to look and sound impressive, you’re there to listen, consider options and research solutions to a wide range of everyday problems. Not all will be presented to you as ‘technical problems’, it’s your role to recognise any kind of daily barrier/opportunity and contemplate if and how any kind of technology might be able to overcome it. You’re also likely to be responsible for change management, and some of the staff you encounter will need a gentle introduction to this area.
The kinds of tasks you are responsible for will totally depend on the situation – who are the Hosts and what are their core needs? This is why we have asked the Hosts to apply first and then we will announce who they are before Christmas. You then have until January 17 2011 to refocus your application. But I recommend you start an application now so that we have your details in the system when we make the Hosts announcement.
You are NOT there to do things like building a website. This should be a normal part of any organisation’s business practice and would mean you locked up in a room somewhere instead of out on the floor engaging with staff. You should of course help the organisation to work out how their web presence (including social media, if relevant) should work, and if required help to source a good web designer to take on the job and liaise between the organisation and designer.