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Submissions and Eligibility Extended for the Archie Roach Foundation Award for Emerging Talent

Nominations and eligibility criteria have been extended for emerging First Peoples to submit for the Archie Roach Foundation Award for Emerging Talent at the Music Victoria Awards.

In light of COVID and the aim of this award category, the eligibility criteria has broadened to allow more artists to be eligible. The new criteria are listed below. In addition, the submission deadline has been extended to 20th August 2021.

This award comes with a $3000 cash prize from Uncle Archie and a rehearsal package from Bakehouse Studios.


On behalf of the Foundation, I am proud to sponsor this Award. This Award is intended to provide public recognition and financial support for outstanding First Nations artists who are in the early stages of their musical journey.” – Archie Roach.

What is ‘Emerging’?

'Emerging’ describes an act (solo or group) in the early stages of their musical career who has demonstrated professionalism, outstanding quality and talent and achieved a breakthrough in public recognition and critical acclaim, as evidenced by their body of work.

Factors considered include but are not limited to:

  • Outstanding songwriting/storytelling and musicality, and performance reflected in music provided with the submission
  • Evidence of public and industry success of releases (e.g. physical sales, radio plays including community radio, digital downloads/streams e.g. Apple Music, Spotify, Youtube)
  • Current Buzz (e.g. broadcast, print, digital and social media activity)
  • Audience development and live appeal (e.g. quality, number and size of shows)


Eligibility Notes

  • The act must have been active in the past 12 months (1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021) – this can include rehearsing, performing (live or online), writing, collaborating and/or releasing music.
  • Acts must provide audio of at least 1 song – it can be a home recording, demo, live performance or previously released single.
  • Solo musicians must reside in Victoria (residency or backing bands are not considered). At least 50% of the group/band must have been living in Victoria for the last two years or use Victoria as a home base. Solo musicians must identify as a First Nations person. Groups/bands must be First Nations-led (have creative control).
  • You must be a paid Music Victoria Member (First Nations musicians can become a paid Essentials member for free with the code “friends” here).
  • Acts can be nominated multiple times over the years for this award, but cannot be renominated if they have previously won.
  • Recipients of the former Indigenous award are ineligible to win this award.
  • Employees of Music Victoria and, by association, VMDO are not eligible.



  • Contact details
  • Social media handles (optional)
  • Submit 1-2 songs as examples of your work. We accept any format including a URL or website link, video, mp3 file or wav file.
  • Submit a biography, CV or resume which includes info about you and your music practice. We accept any format including word, pdf or video.
  • Submit an image or photo of you or your work. We accept any format including hard copy, JPEG or URL.


Submissions can be made via:

  • our members dashboard here
  • our awards portal here
  • hard copy to Music Victoria, Unit 1 / 35 Johnston St, Collingwood, 3066 (fill in this printable form here and post it with a cd)
  • or email to


If your access requirements haven’t been met whilst applying or you need any support in putting together your application please contact Simone Schinkel, CEO at Music Victoria on 0421 967 349 or


History of this Award

This award was voted on and/or presented by Songlines from 2013-2017 under the title Best Indigenous Act and then Best Aboriginal Act. Songlines would elect a representative to chair the panel and to select the judges for the panel. The chair would also vote.

In 2018, the Archie Roach Foundation came on board as the new partner for this award, committing a $2000 prize for the winner. Music Victoria and VMDO can also assist the winner with custom business advice or mentorship. Archie Roach does not vote on or chair the award, but he is the namesake and patron, and the renamed award has a new focus on emerging artists at his request.

In 2018, Songlines stepped away and Chris O’Neill (board member of Music Victoria) chaired the voting panel, approaching five First People’s representatives from the music industry to vote on the award.

In 2019, Donna Woods (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Representative, APRA AMCOS) was the chair and enlisted four additional First Peoples’ representatives from the music industry to vote on the award.

In 2020, Kiernan Ironfield from Songlines came on board to chair the award, enlisting 5 First People’s representatives from the music industry to vote on the award. He continues in this role in 2021.

As part of their Partnership contribution, Archie Roach Foundation pay each judge an honorarium for their role on this panel.