Executive Director’s May update

Advocating for a sustainable and thriving dance sector was the theme of my first month as Ausdance National's Executive Director

We are currently representing the dance sector by contributing knowledge to three urgent issues that impact healthy growth in Australia’s creative economy:

  • Access to professional mental health support for those who work in the entertainment industry, because we can't tackle these issues in isolation. We need to support each other.
  • Access to education and training resources to prevent discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and bullying, because these impact our mental health and wellbeing. Together we can create healthy work environments free from these threats.
  • Sustainable access to international expertise that transfers skills to Australian organisations and creatives, because this will stimulate innovation.

Congratulations to all who took part in BIG DANCE this year. It was wonderful to be part of the handover at Cathedral square on Sunday 29 April and fantastic to meet Jacqueline Rose, and learn of the Big Dance legacy. 

Our AGM took place on Sunday the 13 May, at Ausdance NSW meeting room. The Annual Report is now available. 2017 was a big year of activity, advocacy and change.

Advocacy update

Growing positive mental health and wellbeing behaviours for a sustainable Australian entertainment industry

We can't tackle our sector’s mental health and wellbeing issues in isolation. It is our shared industry responsibility.

That’s why we became a founding member of the Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment in October last year. Our National President, Professor Gene Moyle, has attended regular Advisory Committee meetings, most recently on 24 April, where members discussed:

  • strategies we can put in place as an industry to prevent mental ill-health and promote mental health and wellbeing.
  • the need to expand bullying and harassment policies to include the impact on mental health and wellbeing.
  • how to shift our thinking to wellness being about our physical health AND mental wellbeing.

We agreed to work with other Alliance members to map and share mental health resources.

You can join us as we work collaboratively towards a solution.

Start now by completing the Entertainment Industry Wellbeing Survey, which will help guide the development of programs to enhance mental health and wellbeing.

Developing education and training resources to prevent discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and bullying

I participated in the Live Performance Australia Industry Roundtable (24 April) to scope education and training resources.

Together we identified priorities and committed to move beyond having in place policies and procedures to ensuring that these policies and procedures are implemented and embedded. Training and education, as well as having the right organisational culture, were considered essential to achieving this.

We recognised the need to have consistent policies and, where possible, use existing documents to reduce the administrative burden for organisations.

We agreed to share online training and resources. Live Performance Australia will scope a training and education program and Screen Producers Australia will develop online training tools and offer face-to-face training.

Learn how to prevent discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and bullying in workplaces, read Live Performance Australia’s draft Code of Practice.

Sustainable access to international expertise for all Australian arts organisations

On 1 May I represented dance at the Skilled Migration roundtable to plan our next response to the Government’s review of the skilled migration occupation lists.

Recent changes made to these occupation lists do not support the long-term artistic commitments often required for international engagement of artistic directors and elite performers. The Australian dance sector’s ability to attract international talent, introduce skills and knowledge to the sector, and grow international artistic exchanges is now under threat.

To ensure international expertise remains accessible to all arts organisations—both small to medium and major performing arts companies—we’ll prepare an evidence-based case to the Government with our peer organisations AMPAG and Symphony Services International.

Why do we care about the skilled migration occupation lists?

Save the date: 2018 Australian Dance Awards

The 2018 Australian Dance Awards will take place on Saturday 8 September at 4.00 pm at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

We have appointed Sandi Woo as Producer, who will work with local and interstate companies, independent dance artists and Ausdance Queensland to create a diverse program for the event. The late afternoon time slot has been selected so that everyone can enjoy Brisbane Festival’s Opening Celebrations, later that evening. 

We will announce more details in the coming weeks, including details of sector meetings set to take place over that weekend, ensuring wonderful networking opportunities.