Education & training

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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Ausdance advocacy report

Ausdance National's dance sector advocacy update ​Ausdance National's new interim National Executive has formally appointed Ausdance National (volunteer) representatives to attend and speak for Ausdance at the following organisations and forums: ArtsPeak, National Advocates for Arts Education, World Dance Alliance and Tertiary Dance Council of Australia.

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VET FEE-HELP funding cuts—impact on professional dance training

VET FEE-HELP funding cuts—impact on professional dance training—media release (246 KB PDF)

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

Dear Minister,

Ausdance is deeply concerned about your decision to include some of Australia's leading professional dance training courses in the crackdown on courses eligible for VET student loans.

We are particularly concerned about the statement that these professional dance training courses are being subsidised because they are 'used simply to boost enrolments, or provide 'lifestyle' choices, but don't lead to work'.

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Call for applications—Sydney Dance Company pre-professional year 2017

We are pleased to announce that applications are now open for Sydney Dance Company's 2017 Pre-Professional Year. Australian and New Zealand dancers aged 18 or over are eligible to apply.

Led by course Director Linda Gamblin, this nationally accredited one year intensive offers students the chance to work with some of Australia’s most renowned choreographers and dance educators. Students will develop their technique, artistry and performance skills alongside members of Sydney Dance Company led by Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela.

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Challenging questions explored at Ausdance dance sector meetings

Ausdance coordinated a meeting of eight representatives of the nationally funded dance companies with the CEO of the Australia Council and senior staff on 12 December 2015.

The aim was multiple: to understand the further implications of the diversion of funds to the National Program for Excellence in the Arts (now Catalyst); to query the status of the vacant role of Chair of Dance, as an announcement had not been made about retaining this role; and to discuss the role of funding in sustaining the dance ecology so carefully developed over the past years.

The diversion of funds does challenge the current number of nationally funded small to medium dance companies, and the announcement of funding or otherwise in April 2016 will reveal the extent of the loss. We note the recent departure of the Australia Council Director Dance Carin Mistry and thank her for many years of dedicated championing of professional dance. We congratulate the new Arts Practice Director, Dance, Adrian Burnett, and look forward to a similarly productive relationship.

Other meetings attended include a teleconference with ArtsPeak; a teleconference convened by the MEAA at the request of freelance commercial dancers to consider minimum pay rates, which will result in a first-ever survey of this sector (think #paythedancers); and a teleconference to consult with youth theatre companies with the thought of learning for youth dance funding.

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Call for Applications: Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-Professional Year 2016

Sydney Dance Company is pleased to invite applications from talented Australian and New Zealand dancers wishing to take part in its Pre-Professional Year program in 2016.

Key information

Applications close 13 August 2015
Course fee: $13,500
For advanced dance students aged 18 or older (or turning 18 in 2016) with a high level of training in Ballet and/or Contemporary dance.
Qualification awarded at completion: Certificate IV in Dance (CUA40113)
Course length: 1 year (Monday–Friday, 9 am – 4.30 pm)
Course location: Sydney Dance Company’s Walsh Bay studios
Application guidelines and FAQs: Apply for the 2016 Pre-Professional Year

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Australian Dance Theatre’s Secondment Week 2015

Australian Dance Theatre’s Secondment Week is an unparalleled opportunity for graduating tertiary dance students to receive training in:

  • tumbling, choreographic tasking and stagecraft
  • current company repertoire
  • audition technique
  • forums on related topics like company life, diet, nutrition and marketing.

Key information

  • Dates 10–14 August 2015
  • Cost $300 per student.
  • Location Australian Dance Theatre (Adelaide), 126 Belair Rd, Hawthorn SA 5062
  • Applications Email to adt@adt.org.au your CV, two full-body dance photographs (files should not exceed 1MB, file saved as your first & last name), and up to two links to video footage.

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Motion capture

Edith Cowan University is excited to announce that WAAPA has a new motion capture facility that will be used to prevent injuries to dancers as well as a teaching and performance tool for its elite dancers.

This facility is the only motion capture setup of its kind to incorporate the skills of a biomechanist directly into a university dance program in the interest of preventing dance injuries.

What makes motion capture at Mount Lawley unique is that we have access to a large cohort of talented dancers, in addition to scientific and artistic academics who are willing and able to use the lab in the investigation of the prevention of dance injuries.

—Dr Luke Hopper, Biomechanist and health in performing arts specialist, ECU

Read the extended articles

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World Alliance for Arts Education Global Summit 2014 calls for abstracts

Theme: ‘Transform: from inception to innovation in arts education’

We invite you to share your research evidence, innovations and best practices in arts education globally.

Participation in this summit is by invitation only. If you are successful you will be part of approximately 90 presentations from quality arts educators across the globe in dance, drama, media arts, music, visual arts and cross-arts education.

Abstracts due 30 June 2014.

Summit date and location

26 – 28 November 2014
Griffith University, School of Education and Professional Studies, Mt Gravatt Campus, Brisbane

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Review of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts

The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) made a submission to the review panel for the Australian Curriculum (500 KB PDF) strongly urging it to recommend that the Australian Curriculum: The Arts be implemented in its present form. The NAAE said that processes of refinement should be managed by classroom teachers piloting the curriculum, not a review panel.

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NAAE concerned for future of UNESCO cultural program

National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE), have expressed concern UNESCO has recently voted to downgrade its cultural program (including arts education), thus risking the program's eventual elimination. Writing to the Australian National Commission for UNESCO, NAAE have outlined concerns about the possible downgrading of UNESCO's cultural program, and requesting Australia's representatives prioritise this program when it votes again at its November meeting. NAAE also acknowledges the leadership role UNESCO has played as an active advocate for Arts Education internationally.

Toshi Kawaguchi, Secretary-General of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO has recently responsed:

Australia is not a member of the Executive Board. As such, we were not involved in the decision. The Australian National Commission for UNESCO intends to participate in the General Conference, however, and has registered National Advocates for Arts Education’s (NAAE) views. We appreciate your input as the peak national arts education association.

Australia has much to offer in the cultural and arts education sphere and places value in arts education, including working to elevate creativity and cultural expression nationally.  As you note, education ministers endorsed the Australian Curriculum for the arts in July 2013 so that for the first time, all Australian students from Foundation to Year Ten will have access to an arts education that covers five art forms of drama, dance, media arts, music and visual arts.  To the credit of cultural bodies such as NAAE and Drama Australia, the Australian Curriculum for the arts recognises the opportunities that the arts learning area offers students in relation to further developing their general capabilities such as literacy, personal and social capability, and intercultural understanding.
 

NAAE will continue to monitor the progress of the decision and the outcome of the General Conference.

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Dance and science—knowledge and creativity.

There is so much we still have to learn about dance. Human bodies have been dancing for centuries and some of our training techniques have been passed on from generation to generation.

At Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Dr Emma Redding, head of dance science, is leading a growing group of researchers and students applying scientific methods to the dance training we do every day, seeking to gain knowledge about the body and the impact of dance.

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TAFE funding cuts and the arts

At the recent meeting of the Tertiary Dance Council of Australia (TDCA), serious concerns were raised about the massive cuts to TAFE training in several eastern States.

In this article for Artshub, Tamara Winikoff, Executive Director of the National Association for the Visual Arts, also raises these concerns, and the broader issues of career pathways for artists. While Tamara focuses on the visual arts, much of her analysis could be applied to dance in the TAFE sector, especially with the imminent introduction of the new Australian Curriculum: The Arts.

We'll be making our concerns known to the Victorian, New South Wales, South Australian and Queensland governments about their proposals to so drastically cut TAFE funding. We suggest you read Tamara's article and respond to your own governments about the future of arts training in your State.

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Reviewing the new Australian arts curriculum

Arts curriculum writing for Foundation to Year 10 is well underway.

The draft rationale, aims and broad scope and sequence have already been reviewed by a state and territory national panel, and we joined other professional associations last week to review the drafts. We'd been invited to ask four teachers from across Australia to provide feedback, and Dr Katrina Rank, education and training manager for Ausdance Victoria, collated their feedback and led the discussion for dance.

We also represented the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) in the teleconference, which was chaired by the general manager (curriculum) of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Robert Randall.

We'll be calling for further dance commentary in the coming weeks as the drafts are developed by the writers, and ACARA will make the curriculum available for public comment in May. In the meantime, you can sign up for regular ACARA updates.

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Dance people receive Australia Day Honours

Former balleriona Josephine Spaull, respected ballet teacher, Tanya Pearson, and Judith Anderson, formerly General Manager of The Queensland Ballet, have today been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

Josephine was recognised for “for service to the performing arts, particularly dance, as a teacher and administrator". Tanya's citation was "for service to the performing arts, particularly ballet, as a teacher and mentor to young dancers". Judith's citation was "for service to the Queensland Ballet and to women". We congratulate Josephine, Tanya and Judith for their outstanding achievements.

The website It's an Honour has all the information you'll need to nominate more dance people for Australia's highest Honours!

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