News

Australia Council review released

Arts Minister Simon Crean has released the review into the Australia Council which will help inform the National Cultural Policy.

The Minister notes that 'the review makes 18 recommendations for reform of the Council and provides an opportunity to reflect on its success and to consider the major challenges ahead'.

We'll be commenting with our ArtsPeak colleagues, but we'd also like to hear from you. Please leave a comment when you've read the report.

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The Budget and the arts

In an announcement made by Arts Minister Simon Crean, last night's Federal Budget revealed some welcome new money for the arts, and a new income tax-free threshold of $18,000, which will be of great benefit to the many artists who live close to the poverty line.

As co-convenors of ArtsPeak, Tamara Winikoff and I met this morning with the Minister's arts adviser, Helen O'Neil, for a post-Budget briefing. We discussed many issues around the Budget, including the whole-of-government approach to arts funding, philanthropy and delivery which will be outlined when the National Cultural Policy and the Australia Council review are finally released.

Tamara and I have made an Artspeak statement which reiterates some of the issues already flagged in previous submissions to the National Cultural Policy, and welcoming the new funding in the Budget.

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Federal Budget day

It's Federal Budget day, and we're all keen to see how the arts and cultural industries fare in the absence of the long-awaited National Cultural Policy.

We're off to the Arts Minister's office tomorrow morning to discuss the Budget outcomes and to hear about the Government's plans for the release of the National Cultural Policy later this year.

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National Cultural Policy—messages from the field

We've joined our colleages at ArtsPeak and the Council for Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences (CHASS) to comment on the delay in releasing the National Cultural Policy.

On a positive note, the delay will enable us to look more closely at the small to medium performing and visual arts sectors and prepare a more detailed submission to Government. We'll keep you posted about progress once next week's Federal Budget has been delivered.

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National Cultural Policy delayed

It's been reported that the release of the long-awaited National Cultural Policy has been delayed by several months.

We've verified this report with the Office for the Arts in Canberra, and have been informed that full details of the NCP's release will be announced in next Tuesday's Federal Budget.

Ausdance, along with our ArtsPeak colleages, has been supporting the Minister's push for a new National Cultural Policy for several years now, and contribtuing to its development. We hope Arts Minister Simon Crean will continue his strong support for increased funding through the policy, and we'll respond more fully once we see what announcements are made in the Budget.

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National Cultural Policy only weeks away

We understand that the National Cultural Policy is now only weeks away, so we've written to Arts Minister Simon Crean again, this time in response to the media release from the Arts & Cultural Ministers' meeting on 30 March.

This was our last opportunity to comment prior to the NCP's release, so we've reproduced the text here, following correspondence with the Office for the Arts after my colleague, Tamara Winikoff, and I visited the department on behalf of ArtsPeak.

ArtsPeak has also written to the Minister, particularly emphasising the importance of the small to medium arts sector in Federal Budget considerations. The letter reads as follows:

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New member of the Dance Board

Good to see Michelle Ryan's recent appointment to the Dance Board of the Australia Council, adding to the practitioner base of the board.

Michelle has more than 20 years' experience as a performer, choreographer, rehearsal director and producer, and was a peer adviser at the board's November 2011 assessment meeting.

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‘Shades of us’—a stunning AYDF finale

It was fantastic to be able to join the Ausdance NSW team, the choreographers and more than 150 young people from all over Australia on the last day of the Australian Youth Dance Festival at NAISDA Dance College in Gosford NSW.

Shades of Us, presented in Mt Penang Gardens on the final evening, was a performance that grew out of an intensive week of creative development with choreographers Sue Healey, Philip Channells, Anton, Kay Armstrong, Matt Cornel, Adelina Larsson, Lee Pemberton, Vicki Van Hout and artistic director Rowan Marchingo.

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A new arts ‘accord’—will it make a difference?

The State and Territory Arts and Cultural Ministers have announced that they'll be working together on some important arts initiatives.

They've used the word 'accord' to describe this agreement, and we think this means they'll be cooperating on implementing the new National Cultural Policy, which is great news. But it's difficult to interpret some of the language in their media release, so we'll be writing to Arts Minister Simon Crean to investigate. We'll also suggest ways to broaden this commitment from a dance perspective.

If you want to read the Arts Ministers' report (PDF) and send us your ideas, please let us know in the next few days. You could also write to your own State or Territory Arts Minister and suggest ways to support dance in the National Cultural Policy, particularly in the small to medium performing arts sector.

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Arts service organisations—telling the story

Today I went with my ArtsPeak colleague, Tamara Winikoff, to visit the Office for the Arts in Canberra, where we continued the conversation about our work.

It was useful to share the ArtsPeak map that outlines the broad reach of arts service organisations, especially as we’d like to see it acknowleged as part of the bigger arts support picture in the National Cultural Policy .

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Communities making dance in Tasmania

Tasmanian Regional Arts (TRA) is leading The Dance Project in partnership with Mature Artists Dance Experience (MADE), Bust a Move and Tasdance.

This community dance project is happening in three Tasmanian regions—the North East, North West and the South—to develop and present three new contemporary dance works with, by and about communities. Evolving from the heart of each community, these works explore place, kinship and identity as experienced by the residents of these regions.

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NAISDA’s new studios

The opening of the new NAISDA studios in Gosford, NSW last week was an occasion to be celebrated by the whole dance community after more than 35 years in temporary accommodation. The studios were opened by the Federal Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Simon Crean MP, at a ceremony that also honoured the founder of NAISDA, Carole Johnson.

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Ausdance network meetings in Canberra

We're meeting in Canberra this week with the Ausdance National Council and network directors.

We're discussing some of the big Ausdance projects such as the Australian Dance Awards, the Australian Youth Dance Festival and Australian Dance week, as well as next year's partnership with the Australia Council, when we'll produce another National Dance Forum. Dance Board Director, Carin Mistry, will be a guest speaker tomorrow.

We're also talking about advocating for dance, dance education and research, Indigenous dance and some of the critical issues around supporting independent dance.

It's a fantastic opportunity to share ideas, achievements and the critical issues that inspire all of us to keep working with and for Australia's dance artists, companies and communities.

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Review of Private Sector Support for the Arts 2011

The Harold Mitchell Review of Private Sector Support for the Arts has just been released by the Minister for the Arts as part of the wider consultation about the new National Cultural Policy.

The Mitchell review recommends several ideas that might help attract new donors to the arts, noting that “The limited funds available to many arts organisations creates a situation where they cannot afford dedicated staff to drive a strategic approach to fund-raising”.

Mitchell also recommends the merging of the Australian Business Arts Foundation with Artsupport Australia “under the auspices of a new body with responsibility for all private sector support for the arts in Australia”.

Today is also your last opportunity to respond to the Australia Council review, another important part of the Cultural Policy consultation process.

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Building the Indigenous contemporary dance collection

Ever since we convened the 2005 Creating Pathways national Indigenous dance forum in Canberra, Lee Christofis—one of the keynote speakers, and now curator of dance at the National Library of Australia—has been keen to develop the NLA's Indigenous dance collection.

In the March 2012 edition of National Library News, Lee discusses some of the material now held in the collection and outlines the importance of its provenance.

Building the Indigenous contemporary dance collection makes fascinating reading for anyone interested in the development of Australian contemporary Indigenous dance.

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ArtsPeak again lobbies the ABC

ArtsPeak representatives met again with the ABC to lobby for more cultural content in ABC news and current affairs programs. General Manager Mark Scott had previously met with the group, and this time ArtsPeak met with Don Lang, the Head of News Programming, and Alan Sunderland, the Head of News Policy,

A process was agreed on to review arts content for news and current affairs programs, and on a process for arts representatives to contact appropriate reporters. The following strategies were suggested to ArtsPeak:

  • Arts representatives should consider what the issues are and whether they are newsworthy.
  • We should develop a central arts representatives contact register.
  • We should focus on stories that utilise ABC research and archives.

We'll be working with our ArtsPeak colleagues to maximise this positive response from the ABC, and making sure dance is part of the story telling!

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