News

Tanja Liedtke digital archive

In news that will particularly interest Australian dance researchers, educators and students, the Tanja Liedtke Foundation has announced that it has created the Tanja Liedtke digital archive, now freely accessible to anyone who is interested in knowing more about Tanja’s life and work.

The Foundation has also announced that one of Tanja's works, construct, has been voted by The Monthly magazine as one of 20 Australian masterpieces, across all art forms, since the year 2000. The work was declared the masterpiece in the category of contemporary dance, a great achievement!

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Dance support organisations meet in Paris

Last week 25 dance support organisations met in Paris for three days of talks, presentations and performances. As we are members of the World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific, we had also organised for WDA people to provide this mainly European group with more information about its activities.

These annual meetings are an opportunity to share dance support strategies, ideas and visions for the future. We were invited on the first day to share this year’s achievements, a challenge for many European organisations that face severe funding cuts. Despite funding difficulties all round, presentations were inspirational and visionary for dance, and we came away with many ideas for collaborations and future planning with now-familiar colleagues such as Madeline Ritter and Ingo Diehl (Germany), Caroline Miller (Dance UK) and our French colleagues Agnès Wasserman and Frédéric Moreau.

Delegates at Paris meeting of dance support organisations. Ingo Diehl (centre) is the Tanzplan Deutschland Educational Program Director.

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Ausdance directors meet in Perth

Ausdance network directors usually meet twice a year to share ideas, update one another on projects and work toghether on plans for the future.

Last week it was Ausdance WA's turn to host the directors' meeting, and it was great to be back in the purpose built dance spaces at the King St Arts Centre where the meetings were held. While not all directors could be present this time, we heard about many excitinfg national projects, including plans for dance in the new Australian Curriculum, the 2012 Australian Youth Dance Festival to be held in Sydney next Easter, the launch of the Live Performance Training Package, the World Dance Alliance festival to be held in Taiwan next July, and, of course, the 2012 Australian Dance Awards to be held at the Heath Ledger Theatre in Perth on 1 September.

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Youth dance—where does it fit?

In responding to our suggestion of a campaign to support the smaller key dance organisations, Ruth Osborne, artistic director of QL2 Dance, came in to discuss some of the issues youth dance companies are experiencing.

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Time for a funding review of smaller dance companies

Recent funding decisions across all sectors of the small to medium performing arts sector have highlighted the widening gap between what was considered to be 'adequate' funding for these companies five years ago, and the reality of their existence today. While we highlighted the issues in our contribution to the National Cultural Policy discussion paper, we also plan see the Arts Minister, Simon Crean, to again draw his attention to the parlous state of funding for smaller key organisations, especially in dance.

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Our new website is here

Hello. Thanks for joining us. Finally we're alive. Bet you were wondering what we've been doing!

Well, last year we talked to our dance partners and contributors about what information they wanted, needed and expected from our website. We also looked at the amazing work they had written and we'd published over the last 10+ years. A lot of it was very interesting and answered many questions, but it was trapped on paper collecting dust on the shelf. We also realised that we spent a lot of time making things happen with not much time left to tell you about it along the way.

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Our contribution to the National Cultural Policy discussion paper

We joined the many artists, companies and community organisations and made a submission to the National Cultural Policy discussion paper.

Because we think it’s important for the dance voice to be heard as part of the wider arts industry, we also coordinated the submissions from ArtsPeak and the National Advocates for Arts Education.

You can keep in touch with the development of the National Cultural Policy by joining the Arts Minister’s e-news.

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Writing the Australian Curriculum in the arts gets underway

Last week we joined other advisers and writers of the new Australian Curriculum in the Arts for a three-day induction meeting with ACARA (the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority). We worked intensively together to understand cross-curriculum, Indigenous and disability priorities, and in our own art forms to look at various aspects of the new curriculum.

Art form writers now have a tight timeline to complete first drafts, and advisers will have opportunities to review them in November and December. It’s anticipated that work will then continue into January and February before broader consultation begins.

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Making an Australian arts curriculum work

When the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) met in Sydney last month, we identified some of the things that all governments—Federal, State and Territory—will have to provide if they're to resource the Australian Curriculum in the Arts.

With the arts curriculum to begin trialling next year, we've lobbying for:

  • Upgraded teacher training and professional development in each art form, especially for primary school teachers.
  • Curriculum materials such as science's Primary Connections.
  • Space within schools for safe learning environments.
  • Clarification of the role of specialist teachers, artists in schools and arts companies.

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Diversifying dancers’ careers

We want dance artists to be able to diversify their careers, get more training if they need it and earn a realistic income.

Because we want to work with governments to reinvent a program that worked so well, we’ve commissioned Shane Carroll to review the SCOPE (Securing Career Opportunities and Professional Employment) program and provide us with the evidence we need to make the arguments. Shane has been one of the program’s leading advocates and drivers.

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Postcard from the future

The Prime Minister, in her role as chair of the standing committee on the arts, today announced a significant program of research and development for dance that she said would provide Australia with a major advantage over France, its nearest rival in recognising dance as its most important cultural export. The ABC interrupted its sports broadcast to bring this contemporary dance update direct from the Prime Minister's office.

This was how we interpreted a request from ABC Radio National for a 'postcard from the future' during an interview about the arts and cultural policy in Australia. The program will go to air early next year, and the intention is to "reflect ... the broad policy shift from a vision about Australia developing and presenting a unique Australian cultural identity, to that of a sustainable arts and cultural industry or sector".

We'll let you know when the program is due to go to air.

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ArtsPeak and ABC arts programming

The two program that most often profile Australian dance and its creators are still in danger of being axed—so we were pleased when ArtsPeak's submission to the Senate inquiry into ABC programming was profiled in the Sydney Morning Herald arts pages.

Ausdance NSW director Cathy Murdoch will represent us at a meeting to be convened by our ArtsPeak colleague, Tamara Winikoff, with the ABC's Managing Director, Mark Scott. We'll update you after the meeting.

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WDA Asia Pacific meeting in Kuala Lumpur

This week I've been representing Ausdance at the Asia Pacific International Dance Conference and yesterday's World Dance Alliance AGM in Kuala Lumpur, where a new Executive Board was elected and the role of the networks reviewed.

The networks are a particularly valuable way for Australian dance people to get involved with WDA, so if you're interested in knowing more about them (see below), please contact us at Ausdance National. All Ausdance members are automatically members of WDA Asia Pacific and it's a great opportunity to extend your own networks and participate in new culturally diverse opportunities at the annual WDA conferences and festivals.

Australian & New Zealanders at the World Dance Alliance conference. L to R: Jeff Meiners, Ralph Buck, Tina Hong

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New Australian dance book launched

Shaping the Landscape: Celebrating Dance in Australia was launched by high profile Malaysian architect Hijjas Kasturi yesterday at the World Dance Alliance conference in Kuala Lumpur, in the presence of the Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Miles Kupa, and other dignatories. Read his speech.

This is a new Routledge publication which I've co-edited with Stephanie Burridge, so it was exciting to see it launched along with the Malaysian edition, Sharing Identities. These volumes are the third and fourth in the Celebrating dance in Asia and the Pacific series.

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Ausdance supports submission into ABC arts programming

We've just signed a submission to the Senate Inquiry into recent ABC programming decisions, a move led by our ArtsPeak colleague NAVA (National Association for the Visual Arts).

We've been concerned by announcements lately that the ABC plans to axe some arts programs, but we're also keen to see regular arts news integrated across the news rather than as a token 'what's on' item at the end. ArtsPeak also made the point that the ABC's other arts programming should not be left under-resourced or dumbed down for the sake of ratings.

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SCOPE wound up

As SCOPE board members formally wound up the program in Sydney on Friday, we reflected that there was much to be proud of. We developed a model for dancers' career development and management and, with Australia Council support, we've been able to assist 99 artists to realise their dreams through professional career advice and small retraining scholarships.

We are continuing with online advice and support, and we're also planning an evaluation of the program to help us find new funding partners to bring back the scholarships and professional career guidance.

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New User Guide for the Live Performance Training Package

The Training Package will be launched in November, and the User Guide with the section on dance organisations and national qualifications is now available online. It will form the basis of the Innovation & Business Skills Australia (IBSA) free information sessions around Australia and online starting in November.

The information sessions will be advised by IBSA, but we'll keep everyone informed about the schedule.

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Launch of the Shape of the Australian Curriculum: the Arts

The final version of the The Shape of the Australian Curriculum—The Arts was launched by School Education Minister Peter Garrett and Arts Minister Simon Crean in Sydney on 2 September, after more than two years of consultation by ACARA. It's so exciting to see dance there with the other art forms as part of the new Australian Curriculum!

Curriculum writers and an advisory panel have been appointed, and will meet with ACARA for an induction week on 18 October. We will be talking with teachers in schools as the writing progresses, but ACARA has said they will not be announcing publicly the names of the curriculum writers for privacy reasons.

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