Facebook Q&A Transcripts for 2020 Churchill Fellowship Applicants

16 Mar 2020


We recently hosted two live Q&A events on Facebook this week following the cancellation of our remaining information sessions.

The Churchill Trust team was online to answer any questions you may have had about the 2020 Churchill Fellowship application process.

Facebook Q&A Transcripts

You can see a transcript of questions asked and answered during the Facebook events at the bottom of this page. 

Other resources

Historic Facebook Events:
You can click on the links below and see the Facebook events: 

If you still have unanswered questions, please email info@churchilltrust.com.au 

Frequently asked questions 
We have a bank of frequently asked questions on our website, you can review these here. 

Facebook Q&A Transcripts

Who can apply

Q. Hi, what is the fellowship about? Are individual visual artists allowed to apply?
A. Yes we fully encourage visual artists to apply we even have a new Bob Prickett sponsored Fellowship in Visual Art available for award. Please have a look at the video on our website home page www.churchilltrust.com.au


Q. Should apply again if I have already applied and was unsuccessful?
A. It isn't uncommon for people to be awarded a Churchill Fellowship after more than one application. It is difficult to answer your question in detail as each year the applicant field will be different. The timing of applying again really depend on you, your project idea and when the timing looks best to undertake the project. Focus on building a compelling case for your project and road test it with someone who doesn't know much or anything about it to get their reaction. Also, we have a list of common areas to improve on our website: https://www.churchilltrust.com.au/application-process/faq/advice-unsuccessful-applicants/ (this might be useful to review).



Q. I’m planning to apply in 2020, should we just hope and see what happens with COVID-19?
A. Yes, please apply as you would without knowing of this issue. We are very flexible and will defer travel if necessary, but travel can't be taken until 1 February 2021 at earliest.

Q. Is COVID-19 expected to affect the timing of the fellowships?
A. It is unknown at this stage, but travel cannot be taken any earlier that 1 February 2021, we are very flexible and will defer travel where necessary.

Q. Will the application deadline be extended due to COVID-19?
A. The applications will still close on 30 April at this stage.



Q. When can I travel?
A. If awarded, you can travel between 1 Feb 2021 and 31 January 2022.

Q. How flexible are the travel dates that I provide in my application (I won’t know actual dates until I start contacting individuals)?
A. We really look at the number of days in each location rather than the dates, so no problems with what you are saying there. Often enough, it does take some time to form up the actual trip dates once you have been selected as a Churchill Fellow.

Q. I am filling out the itinerary, what level of detail is required at this early stage, I know where I would like to go and whom I will be speaking with but it is very difficult to pin down times and places this far out?
A. What we need at minimum is for you to know which countries and cities you wish to travel, one or two organisations you want to visit - no contact or timings are needed at this stage - include all possible places you want to go as if you are awarded you can move things around within countries but you can't add a country once your application is lodged.

Q. Do I have to reach out to the people I want to meet with before I submit my application?
A. We don't expect you to have made contact with the proposed people or organisations you want to meet with, however it would be a good idea to be aware if they would meet with you (ie. do they normally meet external people?). If you did want to reach out and ask them if you were successful in your application that is also okay.

Q. I've selected two organisations to visit as part of my project (both in the US). How "confirmed" do the dates and hosting arrangements need to be?
A. We don't encourage you to confirm dates because the travel won't happen until next year at the earliest. It's enough to know which organisations you'd want to go to and why.

Q. What is the average budget people apply for?
A. You don't have to submit a budget. The Trust works out the budget based on your itinerary and covers travel, insurance, and a living allowance while you're travelling.


Accommodation and expenses

Q. What does a Churchill fellow’s typical meal and accommodation arrangements while on fellowship? Do we arrange hotel/hostel/host families?
A. Churchill Fellows are given a living allowance that is calculated based on the duration of your Fellowship and itinerary. This means that you are free to spend that on food and accommodation as you wish. Some Fellows find friendly hosts and other stay in hotels or use AirBNB or similar, we leave that up to you.

Q. Is there financial acquittal with grant? Do I need to keep the receipt of all the expenses?
A. We do not request any acquittal but you may need to keep receipts for personal tax purposes.



Q. Is there a way of seeing what questions the referees will need to answer? Do they have strict character limits as well?
A. There is a character limit for referees against each criteria (700 characters including spaces). You can see a list of the referee questions and more information about referees in our online application guide. Look at page 12 onwards.

Q. Is it necessary that the project referee is known to the applicant personally, or can you brief someone who does not know you but who is a leader in the field and ask them to support the validity/importance of the project?
A. It isn't necessary that a project referee is known to you, however I would strongly recommend that you have a discussion with them about you and your proposed project prior to seeking their support as a referee. That might sound obvious, but I think worth me emphasising.

Q. Is it useful for referees to address the specific criteria mentioned in the guidelines - e.g. as sub-headers in the reference?
A. It is not necessary and would be up to the referee.

Q. Should our references be from the state in which we are applying?
A. No, your references can be from anywhere in Australia. 

Q. Does my reference need to be an Australian Citizen?
A. We prefer referees to be Australian Citizens or residents so they can comment on the Australian climate. However, if there is no expert in this topic that is an Australian Citizen or resident, please contact the Churchill Trust on 02 6247 8333 and we can discuss this further.

Q. Will my referees be able to see all the details of my application when they write their report? Or do I send them the details?
A. They will be sent a link to see your full application when they receive the referee request via email and/or text (this notification is automatically sent through the application form once you complete this section).

Q. Is it going to strengthen the application if I submit support letter from an organisation in the country that I want to travel apart from the professional and person referees?
A. You cannot provide an additional support letter with the application however if you are selected for interview you could bring it along to add gravitas.

Q. How strict is the timeline for travel? would it be ok, for example, to take an extra week here or there for work or personal travel while overseas? I presume we just exclude this from the scope and funding but represent it honestly in the travel itinerary as "gap".
A. Yes you can take additional travel at your own expense however don't include in your Fellowship itinerary, if you are successful timing to gaps can be scheduled in.



Q. When will I find out whether I was successful in making it to the interview stage?
A. Typically, you can expect to be notified 4-6 weeks after application close date as to whether you have progressed to interview or not. Given the current climate with COVID-19, interviews may be postponed till later in the year, but we will keep all applicants informed.

Q. Could you please clarify exactly what the expectations are for the ‘interview’?

A. Typically the selection panels will ask applicants to make a brief statement at the start of an interview. This is a presentation in a sense - but no PowerPoints! Really this is an opportunity to make your 'elevator pitch' and explain why your project is important and why you are the right person to do it. The panel will then ask you clarifying or probing questions. If you've made it to an interview you should rest assured that your application was compelling and convincing. Hope that helps.

Q. How long will my interview be? 

A. The time available for interviewees to speak is typically 5-10 minutes. 

Q. If you're invited to an interview, can you bring documents, brochures or power point about the issue your project is based on?

A. Yes you can, and sometimes that can be quite useful for the interviewers. No PowerPoint though, please.
If you circulate supporting information (or materials, products, etc) the panel will give it back to you at the end of the interview. 

Q. Where do the interviews take place? I.e. can they be conducted via Skype if you're away at the time?

A. Typically there is a preference for you to be available for an interview in person, however we can make exceptions. This year is going to be potentially different with the COVID-19 situation and we will be responding accordingly. Sorry that I can't give more certainty that that for now.


Evidence and Research Findings 

Q. Can you elaborate on what kind of evidence is required that you have exhausted professional and research options in Australia?
A. Essentially you need to provide a compelling argument as to why you have a need to travel overseas. Your referees will also assist in supporting your rationale. Use examples of what you've covered on your topic or issue in Australia and what you are seeing that you want to explore overseas that is different.

Q. What are some of the interesting ways previous Churchill Fellows have shared their research findings?

A. There's a huge range, depending on the project. It might be developing policy, or presenting at conferences, running workshops or performing, exhibitions, developing new processes in their workplaces, introducing new techniques, designing buildings or spaces and so on.


Workplace leave

Q. I thought I read that an applicant’s employer is still required to pay the employee whilst they are away for the fellowship. Is this correct and what if they say they support the application but dont have budget or resources to pay wages whilst away?
A. There is no requirement for employers to pay employees however I am pleased to report that it is common for Churchill Fellows to get paid leave or assistance from their employer (typically where there is a benefit to the employer in terms of the topic). If your employer cannot provide paid leave then you will need to cover your time away yourself.


Additional needs and/or assistance

Q. I have a disability and if I was successful in gaining a Fellowship, I would need a support person to assist me when travelling. Would I be required to pay for their airfare and accommodation costs?
A. We can provide support for a carer or support person, and this can include airfares and accommodation costs.

Q. Can you tell me if the costs will cover a language interpreter or advisor?
A. You can make a fee request for language interpreter; we would fund an AUSLAN interpreter for instance or a carer. You should also check with the organisations you are visiting to see if they can provide a translator for you.

Q. Can I hire a research assistance and accompany with me during the trip?
A. While it is unusual, you can do this at your own expense.

Q. Could you explain a little more about the financial support the scholarship offers for time off work? Is this only for caregivers for example?
A. we don't give financial support for time off work specifically, rather we cover the costs of your travel and living allowance while overseas.
We do offer dependent's allowance: To help support a Fellow’s dependants when neither the Fellow nor the partner has sufficient means to meet this commitment whilst the Fellow is overseas. The allowance will only be considered if:

  • a Fellow has dependant children
  • a Fellow will lose 50% or more of their current household income while overseas, and
  • no dependant(s) accompany the Fellow on any part of the overseas travel or within three months of the completion of the Churchill Fellowship program.



More events