News: November 2017

World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific—November 2017 update

WDA Asia Pacific will elect a new Executive Board and regional Vice Presidents at its Annual General Meeting on Saturday 11 November in Taipei. Nominations were called for several weeks ago, and the AGM agenda circulated.

WDAAP President, Yunyu Wang (Taiwan), will step down at this meeting, as she has served a maximum term as President. Urmimala Sarkar Munsi (India), the current Vice President, has been nominated to step into that position, but at the time of writing nominations for other positions are still being received.

Also on the AGM agenda is a proposal to clarify the roles and responsibilities of regional Vice Presidents for East Asia, South East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific. The current edition of Asia Pacific Channels has a full list of the Executive Board members, and this list will be updated in the December edition following the election.

We also have a proposal from the Education & Training network co-chairs, Ralph Buck and Jeff Meiners, for formalising the selection of network chairs. At present these are un-elected positions, but the proposal is for a more formal approach to appointing network chairs (also listed in Channels), and for mentoring younger WDA members to take on these roles. The four networks are Education & Training, Creation & Presentation, Research & Documentation and Support & Development.

Participants at a planning meeting in Adelaide for Panpapanpalya 2018, led by Jeff Meiners and Ralph Buck. Photo: Julie Dyson

Finally, another reminder to put the dates in your diary for next year’s Joint Dance Congress, Panpapanpalya 2018, to be held in Adelaide from 8–13 July. There will be a hugely exciting and stimulating program of academic papers, performances, panel discussions, workshops and, of course, networking with peers from all over the world, with a special focus on young people and dance. Earlybird registrations are on sale until 1 February 2018.

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National Advocates for Arts Education November 2017 update

Since our last report, NAAE has been engaged in meetings and correspondence with the NSW Education Minister, Mr Rob Stokes, and the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) about the development of a new Creative Arts syllabus in NSW.

NAAE’s concerns about the new syllabus centre around the exclusion of Media Arts as a discrete subject in the arts curriculum. In its meetings with NESA staff and in a letter to Mr Stokes, NAAE made several points about the essential role of Media Arts in a 21st Century curriculum:

  • The exclusion of Media Arts means that NSW students are being denied the opportunity available to every student in every other educational jurisdiction in the country to engage with 21st Century media, art forms and learning. The NESA Creative Arts draft directions provide a very mid to late 20th Century approach, setting directions that are limiting rather than enabling.
  • The notion of Media (Arts) being taught across the curriculum is fine as a tool to assist learning in other subject areas, but it denies the existence of Media Arts as a separate but equal art form. This ad hoc approach means it will not be taught at all or it will be covered inadequately, denying Media Arts practice as a discrete art form. Other jurisdictions have found with other subjects that ‘everywhere across the curriculum’ actually means nowhere. 

NAAE also made a submission to the Gonski Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, authored by lead writers Sandra Gattenhof and John Saunders (Drama Australia). In an eight-page submission we recommended:

  • The full implementation of the Australian Curriculum: The Arts in all states and territories in Australia, across the primary and secondary years of schooling.
  • Increased professional learning opportunities across the five Arts subjects (Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music and Visual Arts) in primary schools to support teachers to effectively teach The Arts and improve student academic and non-academic outcomes in Arts and non-Arts areas.
  • Increased time allocated in pre-service teacher training for primary teachers to gain further expertise in teaching The Arts.

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Ausdance National Council President’s update – Nov 2017

While it only feels like yesterday that the 2017 Australian Dance Award winners were announced, nominations for the 2018 ADAs have opened! You can find information on selection criteria, an eligible works list, and a link to the nominations page at Australian Dance Awards 2018. The awards ceremony will be produced by partner Ausdance QLD and held in Brisbane in August 2018. Stay tuned for the confirmed dates and further information on this important ‘night of nights’ for the Australian Dance community.

For those that were in attendance at the 2017 National Dance Forum – ‘Dance in the Digital Domain’, keep an eye out for a survey that will arrive in your inboxes shortly. The NDF 2017 program was action-packed, and now that everyone has had a bit of time to digest and reflect on all the inspiring and thought-provoking presentations, it will be important to hear from you about what worked well and what might be done differently for next time!

The Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment (AAWE), launched on World Mental Health Day (10th October), has gained impressive cross-sector support! A significant number of organisations and individuals have signed up as members, with the national AAWE Roadshow about to commence. For further information on the events across the country, please visit their website.

Ausdance National continues to work with the broader arts sector in supporting and advocating for dance. Working closely with colleagues from the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG) and Symphony Australia, an individual submission for dance was made in October in response to the consultation by the Federal Government on the Skilled Migration Occupation Lists regarding 457 Visas. Additionally, Julie Dyson, Ausdance National’s representative for a range of peak arts bodies, provides an update below regarding sector activities, issues and advocacy.

The Safe Dance Report IV will soon be released, which will provide a critical snapshot of issues related to injuries in professional dancers in Australia. Building upon the previous Safe Dance Reports, this current research by Amy Jo Vassallo has identified important information that will advance the knowledge, application and education of all within our sector to ensure safe dance practice continues to support the health and wellbeing of our dancing careers.

Have a wonderful month of November!

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ArtsPeak update—November 2017

After much consultation and discussion, the ArtsPeak Executive Committee has sent the following letter to all members. The committee will monitor any developments at national political level to ensure that there is still a voice, when, for example, a Federal election is called. The letter reads as follows:

Thanks so much for your feedback and thoughts, and also your kind words about the Executive’s role with ArtsPeak. We heard back from more than half of the current ArtsPeak membership. 

Overwhelmingly you have supported our proposal to put ArtsPeak on the backburner for now, to support other initiatives such as The New Approach, to monitor where the advocacy gaps are, and to look at what model would be appropriate to build for the future. 

It was clear from responses that ArtsPeak is well regarded for its work to date, particularly its role in reversing the budget changes of 2014 and 2015, and there is sadness around having to put that work on hold. 

No alternative suggestions were made about how we might resource some pro-active work in the short-term, and everyone agrees that the work can’t continue at the same pace without human and dollar resources. 

The following has been agreed (from November 2017):

  1. Observe and support the work of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and Newgate Communications (as the successful tenderers for the New Approach project), as well as projects such as Arts Front, and the new wave of First Nations service organisations;
  2. Retain the ArtsPeak brand and collateral under the supervision of the Executive, to use at a future date if and when appropriate; 
  3. Support the current individual ArtsPeak members to continue to liaise with each other and work towards a stronger arts sector (but not for the moment under the ArtsPeak brand);  
  4. As the New Approach rolls out and other work is implemented, the Executive will monitor where the gaps are, and look at what model would be appropriate to build, at a future date.  

You are welcome to get in touch with any of the executive members, or the broader ArtsPeak membership at any time. Below is the list for your information and for one-on-one communication. 

Executive Committee

  • Henry Boston, Chamber of Arts and Culture WA
  • Merryn Carter, Performing Arts Touring Alliance (PATA) 
  • Norm Horton & Sarah Moynihan, Feral Arts
  • Julie Dyson, Ausdance National, the Childers Group and NAAE
  • Lena Nahlous, Diversity Arts Australia
  • Nicole Beyer, Theatre Network Australia (until November 2017). 
National ArtsPeak forum held in Sydney in 2015 to hear from Arts Minister Senator Mitch Fifield about cuts to Australia Council funding. Photo: Julie Dyson

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