3 June 2015
Senator The Hon. George Brandis QC
Attorney-General and Minister for the Arts
PO Box 6100
Senate, Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Dear Senator Brandis,
We, the undersigned honorary life members of the Australian Dance Council – Ausdance, write to add our voices to the many letters and statements made in support of the Australia Council. The Australian arts profession has fought hard over many years for the independence and peer review principles embedded in the Australia Council’s charter, and we are now concerned that a commitment to excellence through the peer review process will be compromised as further cuts and conditions are imposed on the smaller organisations by a reduced Australia Council. This decision has the potential to dismantle much of the Australian dance ecology and dissipate the constantly growing audience it has developed over the last decade.
Ausdance joins other members of ArtsPeak (the confederation of national peak arts organisations) in calling for a Senate Inquiry into the recent federal Budget announcement that $104.8m over 4 years will be stripped from the appropriation of the Australia Council for the Arts to establish a National Programme for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA) under the control of the Arts Minister.
ArtsPeak aims to ensure that Australians can continue to enjoy diverse rich cultural experiences at all levels. Until the outcome of a Senate Inquiry, we call on Senator Brandis to restore all the funding cut from the Australia Council and its programs, and repeal his decision to establish the NPEA.
Read the full media release: ArtsPeak Calls for Senate Inquiry
North Queensland’s contemporary dance company has announced the appointment of its new artistic leaders. In the wake of the company’s September announcement of a new structure to support a reinvigorated artistic model, Mr Trevor Goldstone, Chair of the Dancenorth’s Board of Directors, announced today (5 December) of the appointment of three artistic leaders who will steer the company into the future.
Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne commissioned the Review of the Australian Curriculum earlier this year and its recommendations were recently made public. The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) have concerns about the recommendations that relate to The Australian Curriculum: The Arts.
Today the NAAE sent letters to the federal, state and territory education ministers asking them to reject these recommendations when they meet with Minister Pyne in December to consider the Review. Here is the NAAE's letter and detailed responses to each of the Review’s recommendations (see appendix).
The National Advocates for Arts Education believe that, after an extremely rigorous development and writing process by ACARA, in consultation with teachers and the arts industry, we have achieved a well-written and well-researched national arts curriculum that has been endorsed across the teaching and practice professions. The Australian Curriculum: the Arts was endorsed by state and territory Education Ministers in July 2013 (subject to resolution of some matters raised by one state). We are concerned the Review’s recommended changes would severely compromise a curriculum that has taken four years of careful work to produce.
The Arts curriculum must be allowed to follow ACARA’s evaluation process after being properly implemented by classroom teachers. All curriculum is reviewed and refined over time; however it is only after implementation and with consultation that this process should occur. Notably, most state and territory jurisdictions have already begun to seriously invest in the implementation of the Arts curriculum, and we do not believe that the recommendation to rewrite it has been justified.
The future of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts
A response to the Review of the Australian Curriculum, October 2014 (550 kb PDF)
The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) acknowledge the Review of the Australian Curriculum – Final Report (pp.213–220) and welcome its general statements about the value of the arts in formal school education. The NAAE also welcomes the report’s emphasis on the need for greater teacher professional development in the arts.
However, we consider this review to be premature. There has been little opportunity to test the five arts subjects in the classroom, and, as we noted in our submission to the review, we ‘strongly urge the review panel to enable the Australian Curriculum: The Arts to be implemented in its present form, allowing processes of refinement to be managed by classroom teachers. It is a living document that can be refined by expert arts educators as it unfolds across the country’. Teachers need to implement, test and reflect on the current well-developed arts curricula and NAAE rejects the recommendation that ‘the content of each of the arts forms needs to be restructured and re-sequenced along the lines suggested by the (two) subject matter specialists employed by this review’.
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.
The Boards of STEPS Youth Dance and Buzz Dance Theatre plan to create a new West Australian contemporary dance company.
The unanimous decision by both Boards has come after months of consultation. STEPS and Buzz will continue their respective operations until the end of 2014.
Pamela-Jayne Kinder, Chair of Buzz, said the State Government’s Future Moves investment of $1.6 million over four years has strengthened the contemporary dance sector in Western Australia, and the Boards see this as an important response in creating a more sustainable future for the dance sector.
The new company will continue to inspire young people, offer extraordinary dance experiences for young people, support dance in education, and maintain creative opportunities for choreographers.
Read the full Media Release.
The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) welcomes Creative Australia, and particularly its focus on a 'National Arts and Culture Accord' and ‘A Universal Arts Education for Lifelong Learning and to drive Creativity and Innovation’.
The Australian Dance Council – Ausdance is pleased to announce that Roslyn Dundas has been appointed as the new CEO of Ausdance National, commencing on 14 January 2013. Roslyn will replace long-standing National Director Julie Dyson AM, who will retire at the end of the year. Julie has been with the organisation, in both voluntary and paid capacities, since its inception in 1977.
Roslyn has extensive experience in the arts, and in government, strategy, policy development and advocacy. She was the Director of Ausdance ACT for almost three years from 2005, and prior to that appointment was the youngest woman elected to an Australian parliament when she joined the ACT Legislative Assembly in 2001.
The latest Australia Council Snapshot of Major Performing Arts Company Key Trends shows that Australia’s major performing arts companies are robust, stable and have continued to expand their city audiences in line with population growth. They have also extended their reach and engagement in regional and remote communities.
Nanette Hassall is the 2012 recipient of the Australian Dance Award for Lifetime Achievement. This Award honours the career and achievements of an outstanding senior figure in the Australian dance community who has dedicated at least 40 years to dance as a performer, choreographer, advocate, educator, administrator or visionary.
The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) have welcomed the release of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts for public consultation.
Launching the draft on Monday, Schools Minister Peter Garrett said that he had been "a passionate advocate of the importance of arts as part of a comprehensive, well-rounded education", and that learning in the arts "inspires creativity, encourages young people to think critically, helps develop their sense of identity and can provide great benefits for learning in other core areas".
The NAAE is now advocating for improved teacher education in the arts, and for the allocation of more resources to enable the arts curriculum to be properly implemented.
The NAAE has released a media statement today supporting the draft curriculum, while noting that 'there is still work to do'.
The Australia Council Review was a comprehensive and complex document covering many facets of governance, funding, peer review and relationships with other agencies, plus important recommendations for additional arts funding.
Ausdance responded to the Review, as did many other arts organisations and individuals.
We then joined with ArtsPeak colleagues to make a joint statement where there was common agreement across art forms.
We now await the Government's response to this consultation, and the eventual release of the National Cultural Policy.
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.
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.