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Funding Guidelines

This information has been put together to assist you with your application to access funding from the NAC. These guidelines are only applicable to the funding of arts projects.

Who is Eligible for Funding?

Individuals, community groups, institutions and companies can apply for funding. You may apply for funding in the following art disciplines: Craft, Dance/Choreography, Literature and Publishing, Music, Theatre/Drama, Multi-discipline and Visual Arts. Organizations, institutions and groups should be formally registered. Applicants must be over eighteen years and must be South African citizens.


Individual applications are for a single applicant who is undertaking a project. This is meant to benefit individual creative writers, scriptwriters, choreographers, composers, crafters or painters. In cases where several people are working collaboratively on a project, one member of the group should take the lead in applying.


An organization refers to a registered structure with people working together.

Project Funding

Please note that the NAC may not be in a position to fund the entire budget of the project. You are therefore advised to seek further funding from other sources. Generally, funding will be for artistic programmes. Quotations for costs should accompany the application form and applicants MUST declare all other sources of funding. The maximum period for running a project is twelve months. Where administrative costs amount to more than 15% of the total budget, this expenditure should be justified. Projects are funded once in a financial year. All applications must be made on official NAC application forms. Projects must be located at the address indicated on the application form. Any change of address must be communicated to the NAC offices within seven (7) days of such a change.

Touring Projects

Applications for touring will only be considered if the proposed tour contributes to the national profile of the company or group and adds value to the lives of South Africans in general. Applicants who have been invited to perform abroad should have some form of financial support from the host country or host organization. The host country/organization should send proof of covering costs, such as accommodation, food, daily subsistence allowance and transport within the country. A letter of invitation from the host organisation should also accompany the application to the NAC. The NAC cannot consider any application for overseas traveling if the required documentation is not provided. In all cases, the NAC cannot be the sole funder.


Residencies may be supported when an artist is invited by an institution and when the grant includes travel costs, accommodation and an honorarium for the artist. The applying institution must submit a letter of acceptance of residency by the artist as well as a signed record of understanding or contract between the organization and the artist outlining the traveling and accommodation arrangements as well as the honorarium. Accompanying the application for funding must also be the artistic resume of the artist applied for.


The NAC will provide financial assistance when the applicant is delivering a paper on condition that the conference organizers are covering other costs, such as accommodation, transport within their country and meals. Under normal circumstances, funding will not be provided to full-time academics who have university-based funding sources for conference attendance.


The purpose of a Workshop should be outcomes-based. The workshop should be aimed at providing both skills and mentorship for intended participants. Ideally, there should not be more than 10 and not less than 5 participants in the proposed workshop. (This is not a strict limitation; rather, the NAC merely advises that this number will be manageable and effective for training). The workshop proposal should show evidence that the participants will acquire particular skills; and clear objectives of the workshop should be stated. The organization or individual applying to organize a workshop must submit a detailed programmed outline for the workshop before the NAC can approve any grant. The organization or individual applying for the workshop must provide details about the credentials of the facilitator. Such a facilitator/s must be a credible individual in the category of arts funding being applied for from the NAC. The organization or individual applying for the workshop must provide a list of the participants to be trained. The list must include the full details and particulars of the participants.


  • Local bursary funding
    There are two types of local bursary funding: block institutional grants for undergraduate studies and individual postgraduate funding.
  • Block institutional bursaries
    Applications for block bursaries are submitted by institutional heads of department on behalf of their undergraduate students. Individual undergraduate bursary students may not apply directly to the NAC.
  • Individual postgraduate bursaries
    Post graduates will only be funded once towards a qualification in the Arts. Individual students may apply directly to the NAC for a bursary grant.
  • International bursary funding:
    The NAC may fund international studies at postgraduate level. These applications may only be approved if such qualifications are specialized and not offered in South Africa. When similar programmes and qualifications are offered at South African universities, funding will only be provided if the foreign institution is of exceptionally high standing. Proof of acceptance must accompany all applications. The NAC will not be the sole funder. Students are advised to source other funding.

Three-year company funding

The NAC may approve funding for arts companies over a period of three years. The purpose of company funding is to provide companies with stable funding for a period of three years in order to facilitate the creation, performance and exhibition of new works, capacity-building, job creation and audience development. Applications are invited once every three years. This type of funding is for Arts companies with good managerial, governance, accountability and artistic track-records. Potential applicants should submit the following documentation: company profile, three year business plan (which includes descriptions of the artistic and outreach programmes), audited financial statements, management and board structure. Organisations receiving company funding will not be eligible for additional general project funding from the NAC.

Categories of projects not funded by the NAC

Running costs, seed funding, infrastructure, recording, competitions, purchasing of music equipment, church choirs, website design, hosting of websites, interior design, architecture, fashion shows, expositions, event management, promoters and ad hoc groups.

Administration compliance

Applicants are required to submit all required documents listed in the application. Faxed, unsigned, e-mailed and incomplete applications will not be accepted. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Closing dates for applications

Deadlines for applications are published in the major national newspapers and on the NAC Web site. Late applications will not be considered, but will be deferred to the next funding session. The NAC reserves the right to approve all applications. Organizations and individuals can only be funded once per financial year.

Reservation of rights:

The NAC reserves the right to allocate funds according to the priorities of the NAC programme. This does not invoke the constitutional rights of any applicant. No applicant is automatically entitled to funding; all funding is at the discretion of the NAC.


In terms of section 12(1) of the NAC Act, any person who feels aggrieved at any action or decision that the Council has taken or made in terms of the Act, may within 30 days from the date on which the action or decision in question was made known by the Council, appeal to the Minister. The appellant shall within 30 days from the date on which the action or decision in question was made known by the Council, give notice in writing to the Council of his/her intention to appeal and deliver the notice by hand or post the notice by registered or hand-delivered post. The notice shall contain the name and address of the appellant, the grievance and the reasons for the grievance.

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Please note

The NAC is unlikely to fund the entire budget of the project. Quotations should be provided with the application form. You are also advised to refer to NAC’s general information guideline.