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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
WDA and daCi met for two days in August to plan for next year’s big event, and it was an impressive team that got together for the first time. Yunyu Wang is head of dance at the Taipei National University of the Arts, and she has assembled team of her colleagues, students and graduates to work on a festival that will welcome up to 1,000 young people, teachers, students and academics.
This partnership will be a first for daCi, an organisation that has never before met in an Asian country. Their team was equally impressive, and the two days were managed with skill and lots of patience by the planning committee of Yunyu, Ralph Buck, Jeff Meiners and Ann Kipling-Brown. We heard about the planned opening and closing events, and helped to plan an amazing program of masterclasses, workshops, keynote addresses and performances. There are also and plans for cultural tours of Taiwan before and after the festival, all of which will be available to groups wishing to come early or stay on afterwards.
Registrations, details of accommodation and the full program will be announced shortly. Keep an eye out on the WDA-daCi website.
What used to be referred to as "the WDA Presidents’ meeting" has now become the WDA Global Executive, a name change decided at the meeting headed by WDA Secretary-General Cheryl Stock. Others at the meeting included Jin-Wen Yu, President of WDA Americas, Yunyu Wang, President-elect of WDA Asia Pacific, Urmimala Sarkar, WDA Asia Pacific Vice-President elect, and Ralph Buck, Vice President of the Pacific region (and convenor of the 2012 Global Assembly in Taipei). I was also present as Secretary of the Asia-Pacific region, with apologies from current WDA AP President Anis Mohd Nor and WDA Europe President Joseph Fontano.
ABC Radio National is preparing a series of programs about the arts and cultural policy from 1968 to the present day in a series will go to air within Artworks, their Sunday morning arts program.
On Friday the ABC called us to discuss what's in the National Cultural Policy and how it might impact on the dance sector. They also asked about major historical moments in contemporary dance in the last 25 years, so it was good to be able to pinpoint several positive moments, and to say why we thought it was important to have a national cultural policy.
The World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific will be meeting in Taiwan this week to plan two major events. We'll be there, leading plans for the first meeting of international dance support organisations in November, and helping to plan the second – the WDA Global Summit in Taipei in July 2012 in partnership with dance and the Child international (daCi).
The meeting was facilitated by Ausdance National President, Professor Susan Street, and included organisations from a diverse range of the arts, education and creative industries. Sue worked with co-convenors of ArtsPeak, Julie Dyson (Ausdance) and Tamara Winikoff (National Association for the Visual Arts) to create a framework of four major principles from the National Cultural Policy that could be agreed to by all arts sectors and would be inclusive of their views. These were: 'Mainstreaming' the arts; the impact of technology; artists' career pathways, and Australia's position in the world, including the promotion of our cultural diversity. This framework gave voice to various views which were shared with the Minister.
With the recent release of the National Cultural Policy discussion paper, there has been a flurry of interest in understanding its content and the ways in which it might impact on artists and on Australian society generally. Ausdance National has organised a meeting between Arts Minister Simon Crean and the CEOs of 30 arts service organisations on August 17, an event that will see an extremely diverse group coming together in Canberra for a Ministerial briefing. They include members of ArtsPeak and the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE), and their portfolios range across copyright law, Indigenous arts, arts and disability, literature, publishing, visual and performing arts and arts education.