News

ArtsPeak update—July 2017

Australia Council's National Service Organisation scan

The Australia Council has finally completed the desktop scan of national service organisations that analyses 111 arts organisations, covering all states and territories and artistic disciplines.
Of the analysed organisations:

  • 97% engage in member communication activities including newsletters, social media, and journals
  • 83% deliver capacity building activities
  • 43% engage in advocacy
  • 36% undertake research and evaluation

The research is of particular interest to Ausdance National, following its loss of Australia Council operational funding last year—we definitely fulfil all of the activities listed above! The Council notes that it won’t be undertaking any specific communications related to the scan, but sees it as one of the many resources available on its website.

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World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific—July 2017 update

The 2017 WDA Global Summit will be held in St John’s, Newfoundland, from 24–28 July, with a full program of performances, scholarly papers and workshops, including a Choreolab. The timetable is still being developed, but you can read the exciting program that includes several Australian presenters, among them Assoc. Professor Cheryl Stock AM, who has just stepped down as the WDA’s inaugural Secretary-General.

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National Advocates for Arts Education July 2017 update

The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) met with several key groups and individuals in Canberra on 19 and 20 June.

Members of National Advocates for Arts Education outside Parliament House, CanberraMembers of National Advocates for Arts Education outside Parliament House, Canberra. L to R: John Saunders (Drama Australia), Richard Letts (The Music Trust), Derek Weeks (Australian Teachers of Media - ATOM), Tamara Winikoff (NAVA), Roger Dunscombe (ATOM), Julie Dyson (NAAE chair), Sue Fox (Ausdance).

We were especially encouraged by our meeting with officers from the Department of Communications and the Arts, Rebecca Rush, Mark Gordon and Stella Jones, and with officers from the Department of Education & Training, Cris Castro and Eleanor Newby. We were able to follow up on our previous submissions regarding the loss of VET FEE-HELP for arts courses (575 Kb PDF) and with further discussions about advancing the STEAM agenda.

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Arts education advocates question VET Student Loans methodology

The NAAE supports the review of the VET FEE-HELP rules, and understands the need to weed out those rorting the system and those private providers delivering sub-standard courses in line with Australian Quality Framework (AQF) that applies to all post-compulsory education. However, we have major concerns about the methodology used to identify courses that will no longer qualify for government assistance, and take this opportunity to provide information that may not have been available earlier. 

NAAE noted firstly that the department must take account of poorer SES students who may use VET courses as a gateway to university study. If reputable RTOs offering arts courses are eliminated, these opportunities will immediately disadvantage some students, particularly those from regional and remote schools where the arts have been a major factor in eliminating poor attendance records, and where career pathways in the arts are identified. 

NAAE also questioned why some previously eliminated providers are already back on the list, and yet the larger reputable TAFEs and arts training institutions are not. NAAE would like to know what criteria were used to make these decisions.

In response to a question about whether there was another sector like the Arts, NAAE noted that the arts industry was unique in the ways in which it trained and employed artists.

Recommendations about the methodology used to define eligible courses

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2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours for dance sector

Ausdance National congratulates the 2017 recipients and thanks you all for your significant contribution to Australia's dance sector.

AO—Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia

  • Mr Stephen George PAGE (NSW) — For distinguished service to the performing arts and contemporary dance, through enriching Australia's cultural environment, and by presenting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts to the world.
  • Mr Michael Francis LYNCH AM (NSW) — For distinguished service to arts administration, to leadership of international cultural institutions and nationally recognised art organisations, and through contributions to Australian public life.

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Ausdance responds to review of the VET student loans eligible course list and loan caps methodology

Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham 
Minister for Education and Training
PO Box 6100, Senate
Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

28 May 2017 Dear Minister,

RE: Review of the VET Student Loans Eligible Course List and Loan Caps Methodology

As per our previous submission in October 2016 regarding the exclusion of dance performance courses from the eligible course list for the VET Student Loans program, Ausdance would like to re-state its significant concern in light of the recent call for submissions regarding the review of the VET student loans eligible course list and loan caps methodology.

Following Julie Dyson’s meeting with you on 10 November 2016, we received a response to our submission by Kate Woodall, Director – VET Student Loans Branch dated 8 November 2016. Within this response, Ms Woodall stated “…the Australian Government has a responsibility to ensure that tax payers’ money is well directed and spent in a way that offers the greatest benefit to the Australian Community...(and) the list targets those courses…(that) reflect good employment prospects”.

This perspective appears at odds with the Federal Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Honourable Ian Macfarlane’s statement in the 2013 Valuing Australia’s Creative Industries report regarding the significant contribution of the creative industries to the Australian economy, that “quite separate (to this economic value) is the intangible but undeniable worth of knowing our nation creates great software, films, TV, radio, music, theatre, dance, design, media, writing, marketing and architecture”.

As previously identified, a number of Australia’s leading dance training institutions such as Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and the TAFE SA Dance program as delivered by the Adelaide College of the Arts, remain excluded from the eligible list which will result in significantly adverse impacts on their enrolment numbers. This will consequently limit the opportunities for such organisations to provide specialised career pathways in ballet and contemporary pre-professional dance training, and thus limit the future contributions to the creative economy in Australia. Alongside fellow institutions such as The Australian Ballet School and the National Aboriginal & Islander Skills Development Scheme (NAISDA), these courses have produced generations of high calibre graduates that have/are contributing to the dance profession and the creative industries more broadly, as evidenced throughout their 36 and 30 year-histories to-date.

The courses offered in both of these organisations clearly meet industry needs, contribute to addressing skills shortages, and align with strong employment outcomes—all key factors outlined in the proposed methodology for approving courses.

We therefore recommend that:

  • Appropriate targeted industry consultation and evaluation of the quality and impact of the professional dance courses excluded from the eligible list is undertaken. Industry benchmarking between courses is a common and required practice as part of re-accreditation and/or quality assurance processes, therefore the sector would have information to contribute to this point.
  • Reinstatement of Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses in dance onto the eligible list or alternatively, extension of eligibility to specifically recognised training institutions that provide these courses and can demonstrate the achievement of strong education and industry outcomes.

We greatly appreciate your consideration of these points and would welcome an opportunity to discuss this further with you at any time.

Yours Sincerely

Associate Professor Gene Moyle ARAD MAPS MCSEP GAICD SFHEA
National President
Ausdance National Council

PDF version: Ausdance National's letter to Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training about the review of the VET Student Loans Eligible Course List and Loan Caps Methodology (80 Kp PDF)

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National forum to explore dance practice in the digital age

MEDIA RELEASE (90Kb PDF)

16 May 2017

The 2017 National Dance Forum will bring together makers, producers and presenters to discuss and share knowledge on current digital practices and technological developments. The two-day forum will focus on strengthening the dance sector’s capacity within the digital domain.

Led by the dance sector’s advocate for 40 years—Ausdance National—the fourth National Dance Forum (NDF2017) will take place at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, 25–26 September 2017 and will follow the Australian Dance Awards (Arts Centre Melbourne, 24 September 2017).

Dance artists, companies, presenters and researchers looking for ways to grow meaningful audience relationships and understand the issues around making art in a digital environment, need to attend.

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ArtsPeak sets new goals, welcomes new members

ArtsPeak’s new goal

Drafted at its planning session in Sydney on 15–16 March, the following new goal will be included as a discussion point in the next ArtsPeak meeting in September:

That the cultural, arts and creative industries are central to political thinking, economic priorities and civic life in Australia.

Addressing that goal, the intended outcomes are:

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National Advocates For Arts Education May 2017 update

by Julie Dyson, Chair

NAAE is coordinating the publication of a new edition of its highly successful More Than Words Can Say – a View of Literacy Through the Arts, last updated in 2003. This has meant re-engaging with the original authors and commissioning a new Foreword. We’re delighted to announce that this will be written by arts educator Professor Robyn Ewing AM of the University of Sydney, author of the influential research paper The Arts and Australian Education: Realising potential.

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Ausdance National Council President’s Report – May 2017

Following the Annual General Meeting on 19 March 2017, the new skills-based board members of the Ausdance National Council formally commenced in their new director roles. It has been great to connect as a group not only in better understanding the breadth of experience that each team member brings to the responsibility of leading Ausdance National, but how passionate everyone is about Ausdance and the dance sector in general! 

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World Dance Alliance May 2017 update

This year’s World Dance Alliance (WDA) Global Summit will be held in St John’s, Newfoundland from 23–28 July. Australian Cheryl Stock, AM has stepped down from the role of Secretary-General of WDA, having introduced new protocols, policies and procedures to the organisation and facilitating the re-forming of WDA Europe, which had not been active for some years. She also coordinated the wonderful 2014 Global Summit in Angers, France and edited the peer-reviewed papers, many presented by Australian scholars, choreographers and performers. These have been published by Ausdance, and provide (with the more recently published 2015 Dance and the Child International papers) a wonderful insight into dance processes across all genres.

Over 100 World Dance Alliance Global Summit 2012 participants on university entrance staircase holding country flags. 2012 WDA Global Summit, Taiwan. Photo: Julie Dyson.

Cheryl has been succeeded by Dr Anis Mohd Nor of Malaysia, also a distinguished scholar and long-time participant and organiser of WDA events. Anis will chair the Global Executive meeting in July, and I will join the meeting as the independent member elected in 2011. We’ll provide an update after the meeting about developments, particularly those that provide opportunities for young scholars and choreographers. 

In the meantime, the Global Education & Training network of WDA, co-chaired by Ralph Buck and Jeff Meiners, has been working with WDA and dance and the Child International (daCi) to prepare for the second joint world congress (the first was in Taiwan in 2012), in Adelaide next year (8–13 July). Panpapanpalya 2018 will focus on four interwoven themes: dance, gathering, generations, learning. These themes, summarised by the Aboriginal Kaurna word Panpapanpalya, honour Australia’s rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance practices, as well as indigenous dance cultures from around the world.

The new Panpapanpalya 2018 website has just been launched, and you are encouraged to submit proposals for papers and performances by the due dates. As an Ausdance member you will receive a discount for registration and other benefits.

I will be in Wellington later this month, and have arranged to meet with Anton Carter, CEO of Dance Aotearoa New Zealand (DANZ) for an update on his role as WDA Asia Pacific Vice-President (Pacific). Anton has fantastic dance networks across the Pacific and he will be working with WDA to promote the many and varied dance cultures that exist in the Pacific region. It will also be an opportunity to share news of Panpapanpalya 2018 with him—it would be wonderful to have Pacific dance cultures represented in big numbers next year!

Another wonderful opportunity available to Australian Ausdance members is the International Young Choreographer Program (ICYP), which offers fellowships to eight young artists: three from Taiwan, three from other Asia Pacific countries, and one each from WDA Europe and WDA Americas.

This year’s Australian young choreographer, Scott Ewen, has been selected to participate in ICYP in Taiwan, to be held in July this year. Scott also attended the WDA Choreolab as a a highly regarded choreographer last year in Seoul. 

Don’t forget the biannual publication, Asia Pacific Channels and the valuable archive of editions back to 1996. Channels has been designed and published by Ausdance National’s Rachael Jennings for many years, with co-editor Bilqis Hijjas (Malaysia), but it was first published by WDA founder Carl Wolz in 1994 with Ausdance National’s Hilary Trotter.

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Appointment of new Ausdance National board confirmed at March 2017 AGM

Following our Annual General Meeting on 19 March 2017, members of the new Ausdance National Council have commenced their roles. Their first meeting will take place in Canberra in April.

The new Council is made up of highly experienced and skilled individuals who will now take charge of your national peak body and continue its work into the future.

The new National Executive is:

  • Gene Moyle, National President
  • Shaun Comerford and Elizabeth More, National Vice Presidents
  • Marinda Burger, National Treasurer.

New National Council members are:

  • Jasmine Moseley (Ausdance Victoria) as the representative of the National Advisory Committee
  • Katarina Baykitch
  • Annette Carmichael
  • Jacqueline Simmonds

Read about the new Ausdance National Council members.

ausdance celebrating 40 years

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Congratulations to dance winners of 34th Annual Green Room Awards

The Green Room Awards were presented on 27 March 2017. For winners in other artforms, visit the Green Room Awards website.

Female Performer

Lilian Steiner, The Dark Chorus (Lucy Guerin Inc as part of Melbourne Festival)

Male Performer

Benjamin Hancock, The Dark Chorus (Lucy Guerin Inc as part of Melbourne Festival)

Ensemble Performance

CounterMove (Sydney Dance Company)
If_Was_ (Dancenorth)

Visual Design

Ben Cobham for Bluebottle (Set and Lighting Design) and James Sandri and Pete Brundle for PDA (Video System Design), Lucid (Chunky Move)

Music Composition and Sound Design

Duane Morrison, Mermermer (Jo Lloyd and Nicola Gunn for Next Move 9 presented by Chunky Move)

Outstanding Work by an Emerging Artist/Choreographer

Thomas ES Kelly, [MIS]CONCEIVE

Concept and Realisation

Lucid (Chunky Move)

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Ausdance welcomes return of Catalyst funds to the Australia Council

Ausdance National and the Ausdance network welcome news today that the Arts Minister, Senator Mitch Fifield, has decided to return Catalyst funds to the Australia Council. 

The sudden removal of funds from the Australia Council, the loss of transparent peer reviewed decision-making processes and uncertainty about the role of Catalyst have caused enormous disruption and distress across the sector.

Ausdance National President-elect, Associate Professor Gene Moyle, said: ‘The Minister’s decision to return remaining Catalyst funds to the Australia Council is a very welcome step. The Minister is to be congratulated for acting on the strong messages he has received about the loss of highly-regarded dance companies and organisations, and has moved to address the ongoing concerns of the arts profession.

‘We now want to ensure that some funding balance will be returned to the small to medium dance sector in particular, so we welcome the Minister’s comment that “This will allow the Australia Council to continue to focus on supporting small to medium arts organisations.'

We look forward to working with the Minister and the Australia Council to ensure that this goal is realised.

Contact: Gene Moyle (0411 640 012) or Julie Dyson (041 2211 513)

Media release, 18 March 2017 (84 Kb PDF)

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Ausdance National President’s report March 2017

Members of the new Ausdance National Council will commence in their roles following the Annual General Meeting on 19 March 2017. Led by National President Gene Moyle, this is a group of highly experienced and skilled individuals who will now take charge of your national peak body and continue its work into the future. I thank the Australia Council for providing additional funding to allow the new council to meet face to face during 2017 as they consider the future of the organisation.

Last year, the interim executive developed a draft strategic plan with a vision that states that by 2020, Ausdance National will be:

  • reaffirmed as the leading national advocate for dance in Australia
  • the leader of a respected, integrated and sustainable Ausdance network supporting and promoting professional dance practice in Australia
  • financially sustainable and empowered in a new funding environment.

What should a peak service organisation look like in 2020? What priority services, programs and projects should it provide? How should it build and engage with its membership?

While we celebrate Ausdance’s 40th Anniversary this year and many significant achievements, Ausdance National also needs to consider these critical questions as the new council sets in place a viable plan for the future without core operational funding. The support and contribution of our members around the country will be an essential part of that conversation.

Ausdance National and the Ausdance state and territory organisations that make up the network will continue to make a significant contribution to dance across Australia and internationally. While acknowledging that the future is not without its challenges for Ausdance National in the short-medium term, I am also excited at this unique opportunity to build and secure the future of dance in Australia through the uniquely integrated services of Ausdance.

I take this opportunity to again acknowledge and thank our hard working staff—Rachael Jennings, our publications & communications manager and Leanne Craig, who co-ordinates the Australian Dance Awards selection process and assists with administration.

I look forward to reporting on Ausdance National’s 2016 activities and our plans for 2017 at the AGM—I hope some of you will be able to join us in Melbourne to meet some of the new council members and to join me in congratulating them and wishing them the very best.

Shane Colquhoun
Interim National President

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National Advocates for Arts Education report—March 2017

The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) has had a very productive start to 2017, with the NAAE paper advocating for inclusion of the Arts in the STEM agenda being submitted to the Federal Government’s Inquiry into Innovation and Creativity: Workforce for the new economy. The paper was co-authored by John Saunders and Sandra Gattenhof (Drama Australia), with input from all other artform members of NAAE, including dance educators Jeff Meiners (SA) and Sue Fox (Qld).

While most people only refer to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) when discussing innovation and creativity, the Arts are considered in many countries to be an essential element of an innovative economy, hence the increasing advocacy for STEAM in Australia. We note with real concern that the arts were not included in the Federal Government’s original National Innovation & Science Agenda, nor do most submissions to the current inquiry mention the Arts.

However, strong submissions were made for a STEAM agenda by several prominent organisations, including the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG), the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA), the Australian Copyright Council, and Arts Educators, Practitioners & Researchers Australia, as well as several universities.

NAAE wants to bring together all those advocates for STEAM and develop a new strategy for increasing the voice of the Arts in this country’s innovation agenda.

To keep up with current NAAE agendas and discussions about future activities, go to our NAAE Facebook page and join the conversation.

Julie Dyson – Chair

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World Dance Alliance update March 2017

This year’s WDA Global Summit will be held from 23–28 July in St John’s, Newfoundland, a beautiful Canadian city on the east coast. Titled ‘Dancing from the Grassroots’, there will be many exciting events—performances, a conference including Pecha Kucha presentations, panel discussions and papers, and of course a Choreolab and master classes. We hope many Australians have made submissions to participate and look forward to once again having great representation from Australia at all events. Registrations will be open shortly.

Another opportunity available to Australian Ausdance members is the International Young Choreographer Program (ICYP), which offers fellowships to eight young artists: three from Taiwan, three from other Asia Pacific countries, and one each from WDA Europe and WDA Americas.

This year Australian Scott Ewen has been selected to participate in the ICYP. Scott attended the WDA Choreolab as a a highly regarded choreographer last year in Seoul. Congratulations Scott!

Ausdance members are automatically members of the WDA through Ausdance National’s partnership arrangement that includes publication of Asia Pacific Channels, access to choreographic fellowships, and discounted event attendance. Make sure you’re an Ausdance member before applying for any of these events.

2016 Choreolab participantsScott Ewen (front) with dancers and choreographers from the 2016 Choreolab at the WDA festival in Seoul. Choreolab convenor Jin-Wen Yu is kneeling, on the right. Photo: Suling Chou.

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Ausdance National AGM 2017

The 2017 Annual General Meeting for Ausdance National will be held on Sunday 19 March 2017 from 1.00 – 2.30 pm at Arts House in Melbourne.

The agenda, minutes, proxy form, membership information and biographies of the new eight-member national council are available below.

This is an important moment for the future of Ausdance National as your peak sector organisation. The AGM has been scheduled during Dance Massive in the hope that some of you may be able to attend to hear about current plans and the appointment of the new national council. I am delighted at the calibre of nominations received by the due date. As the number of nominations does not exceed the required positions, there is no need to hold an election.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, please consider providing a proxy on the form included below. Email your signed proxy form to Ausdance National by Friday 17 March 2017.

Please note that a performance of Lucy Guerin Inc’s Split is at Arts House commencing at 3.00 pm, so you may like to take advantage of that following the AGM. More information and tickets are available on the Dance Massive website.

I look forward to seeing some of you on Sunday 19 March 2017. Many thanks.

Shane Colquhoun
Interim National President

2017 AGM papers

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Ausdance National President’s report

The single biggest challenge for Ausdance National in the coming months is the election of a new skills-based National Council at the March 2017 Annual General Meeting. The formal call for nominations has now opened and members have until 17 February 2017 to nominate yourself or a colleague to join the new Council. 

If you care about the future of dance in Australia, and of its peak professional body, then please take some time to consider whether you or any individuals you know have the skills and experience to contribute to the future of dance. Under recent changes to the Constitution, all members of Ausdance state and territory organisations, together with our national members, have the opportunity to nominate and vote for the new Council.

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