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Kultour eBulletin October 2014

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Kultour is a national organisation committed to advancing cultural diversity in the arts in Australia.

Kultour is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its art funding and advisory body.

 

 

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Kultour eBulletin October 2014

 

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

 


 

Message from the CEO

Julie TO roundHere in Victoria the days are warmer and getting longer as we welcome the season of wildflowers or Petyan. The people of the Kulin nation mark time by six seasons with Petyan occurring between September and mid-November.

It’s been a busy time at the Kultour camp.  In August the Kultour crew hit the road to launch the Kultour Gatherings 2014 Program happening across the country. Wevisited Darwin, Brisbane and Melbourne and head to Hobart this weekend.  The conversations and discoveries were inspirational and the generosity of spirit and story has been overwhelming, with new collaborations and projects underway. I can’t wait to share the final outcomes with you.

In September we welcomed Grace Barbe and her band to Melbourne as they headed south for the remainder of their national tour. I joined her at a workshop in Footscray and learnt how to dance the sega, something that requires a lot of energy and rhythm.

You may have heard on the grapevine Kultour is rebranding, well it’s true. Work on the new visual brand is now complete, so watch this space to find out more.

In closing I would like to extend a warm welcome to both Suellen Maunder and Gambhir Watts who recently joined the Kultour Board. Suellen iscurrently the Artistic Director/CEO for the Jute Theatre Company in Cairns, and Gambhir is the CEO/Principal of BMG Group Australia and Taxation Guru Pty Ltd and Director/President of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Australia and is based in Sydney.

I look forward to catching up with you later in the year as we welcome Ballanbar the season of butterflies.

Warm wishes,

Julie Tipene-O’TooleKultour CEO

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Australia Council investing in a Cultural Diversity Program

Kultour welcomed the release of 'A culturally ambitious nation', the new five-year vision and strategic plan for the Council and the new grants model announced on the 18 August 2014.

Kultour congratulates the Council on their work in streamlining the new grants programs and for seeding the opportunity for arts organisations to benefit from increased stability through six year organisational funding and for artists to benefit from more responsive funding programs.

The goals are driven by principles of exploration, reciprocity and expansion, of excellence, diversity and experimentation, and of access, leveraging and enrichment.

Of particular interest to Kultour is Council's Goal 2: Australia is known for its great art and artists which states "It is important that all artists should be able to express their art, no matter from where they come. Australia has the highest proportion of overseas-born people amongst large OECD nations. However, only two-thirds of Australians agree that the arts currently reflect the cultural diversity of Australia. We want to change this by supporting a more diverse range of artists in our work."

The document also contains the commitment that Council will "...fuel diverse practice from artists of many backgrounds by investing in a Cultural Diversity Program."

This is extremely exciting news, particularly at a time when Kultour's KG2014 program is capturing the voice of the sector and compiling this rich intelligence to inform the national arts agenda. We look forward to sharing this authentic knowledge with the Council as it constructs its new programs – creating an artistic landscape that is truly reflective of contemporary Australian society.

http://2015.australiacouncil.gov.au/

 

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Kultour Gatherings Update

Gatherings like this from the micro interpersonal level are so important, to nut out the 'forbidden', 'dark spots' of conversations that are so hard to talk about on a national level. As a CALD artist, a person of colour, being able to talk about and be open about the impacts of racism, as a person of a non-heteronormative sexuality and share that deeply to be heard and understood is extraordinary. KG2014 MELBOURNE PARTICIPANT

The KG2014 Laboratory and Forum program is travelling extremely well and responses from participants, provocateurs, panelists and guests are extremely favourable. Whilst each location has its own specifics – access to resources, networks and opportunities for collaboration are emerging as the key themes. 

Responses to the anonymous evaluation survey are providing further rich-intelligence to inform future program development. The final survey results coupled with other intelligence collected will be collated, analyzed and the key findings and recommendations presented in an Evaluation Report to be delivered late 2014/early 2015.

To realise how I could take control of the future as an artist and make conscious initiatives for change. I have a stronger sense on my practice. I am clearer about my practice. I have clearer idea of what 'diversity' looks like in contemporary Australia. KG2014 MELBOURNE PARTICIPANT

Panel members for Darwin, Brisbane and Melbourne –  Louise Partos (ArtbackNT), Bong Ramillo (DCA), Wesley Enoch (AD Queensland Theatre Company), Jo Pratt (CEO BEMAC), David Gerrand (Creative Producer – the City of Brisbane), Luke Harriman (Artour Cultural Broker), Jayne Lovelock (Creative Director & CEO Melbourne Fringe Festival), Jade Oud (Marketing and Communications Manager MAV), Judith Seares (Arts Victoria) and Steven Richardson (Creating Partnerships Australia) – have commented on the value of this program and its conversations as critical to the strategic development of the ecology in all its forms and for noting the sector’s forward movement and growth. 

 

Adam Tucker - KG2014 Provocateur Brisbane

Having attended Kultour’s inaugural industry forum at the 2013 Brisbane Gathering, it was with great enthusiasm that I accepted the position of Provocateur at the 2014 Brisbane Gathering. It was an enormous pleasure to spend two and a half days in reflective practice with an assembled group of extraordinary artists to challenge and support their journey. From an Iranian early-career artist working in the field of presenting Ancient Persian myths in a contemporary context, to a senior artist having performed the world over in contemporary live performance, a remarkable group of diverse and humble contemporary artists were assembled with the desire to learn, meet, share, reflect and grow – there is no other platform like this.

The major benefit of this insightful program lies in the simplicity of structure and inherent flexibility that allows deep conversation and reflection to take place. In such a fast-paced industry environment we rarely afford ourselves the time to simply stop and reflect on the way in which we create or manage our business.

The opening remarks from Kultour’s Program Manager at the beginning of the Gathering resonated deeply with me and I believe on the Brisbane event’s process as a whole: It appears in today’s world that we have lost the ability to really listen to one another, we seem to listen only to reply – the focus of this weekend is to deeply listen to each other’s voices.

With rigorous planning underpinned by Kultour’s advocacy role, the Gathering was an extraordinary event to partake in and contribute to. As an aside to the specific event, participation in this program has returned me to my organisation seeking to promote moments of reflection for our musicians as a part of their rehearsal and performance process, and importantly as we assemble Season 2015, asking the question of how we can connect, engage and promote cultural diversity through our own programs in a more profound manner.

 

Jayne Lovelock – Creative Director / CEO, Melbourne Fringe Festival

It was fantastic to have all of the Kultour Lab artists and provocateurs in the Fringe space during Festival time. The Melbourne Fringe Festival is a time to have real and challenging conversations about the kind of art that is developed and presented in Melbourne, and the Kultour Gathering added much to this conversation.  A highlight of the afternoon for me was hearing snippets of the artists’ experiences over the two days and learning about their journey towards the final session on Sunday. The resounding message I took from the afternoon was a positive one, about the power of exceptional art to break down perceptions of diversity in programming. Spending an afternoon with such talented and insightful artists is one of my 2014 Melbourne Fringe Festival highlights and I thank Kultour for running such an important event.

 

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Multicultural history may point the way forward

by Lian Low - KG2014 Participant

The night before the Melbourne Kultour Gathering, I read Panos Couros’ reflections from last year’s gathering, then hopped online to watch the writing panel he curated “Home is where the heart is” at the Wordstorm writers festival in Darwin this year.  The panel featured Antony Loewenstein, Chi Vu, Lionel Fogarty, Philip McLaren, Alexis Wright, Annette Shun Wah, Teresa Crea discussing the concept of home. 

I was immediately struck by facilitator Teresa Crea (co-founder of Doppio Teatro, Australia's first professional bilingual theatre company, in 1983), when she said,

“I haven’t been on a forum with this combination of  people, I think, through my whole history with multiculturalism, I haven’t had this kind of forum and this kind of conversation, so there’s a huge responsibility on us to unpack some of those issues.” 

In reflecting on my experience at the gathering, the above panel discussion was always at the back of my mind as I entered into a space contemplating Australia’s cultural diversity, the historical fictions that prop up a national identity and the policing of our national borders.  I wonder why having a panel such as the one above is a unique experience rather than the norm.  It’s powerful to read that according to Crea, last year’s gathering was an important historical moment, that the gathering enabled discussions and conversations about current issues while also capturing what may have been forgotten.

At the Melbourne gathering, all twelve artists and practitioners, four provocateurs and Kultour staff were in the room because we wanted to reflect upon the history and meaning of multicultural arts beyond food and folk festivals.  Kane Forbes, Manager of Performing Arts Touring at Regional Arts Victoria and one of the provocateurs said, “Often diversity is talked about in abstract ways as a problem”.  At the industry session and public forum, discussion and debate arose as to the meaning of a ‘Western canon’.  Furthermore, what constitutes ‘great art’, but also, importantly who dominates the production, creation and representation of ‘great art’ in Australia?

The wonderfully kitchen-table intimate conversations that occurred formally and informally was profound.  From aesthetic practices (visual arts, installation, filmmaking, performance making, writing) to community engagement, positive engagement with ‘being different’ (without being exoticised!), media representation, the benefits of online platforms, multilingualism, loneliness, working and living sustainably, funding sources and viability, racism, sexism, queerphobia, transphobia; from the personal to the systemic, with a view to Australia’s current arts, culture and political climate compared globally – the conversations were always rich, multilayered, meaningful. 

In the closing industry and public forum, in response to a participant’s feedback about having more questions after the gathering, Marcus Hughes, Kultour’s Program Manager replied that Kultour’s commitment is to keep the questions alive.  Hughes also said, “As a society, we no longer listen to understand, but listen to reply”.  In these conversations, I hope for a ripple effect and as a society, I’m sure it’s already happening.

 

About Lian

From 2010 to 2014, Lian was Peril’s Editor-in-Chief, and is currently undertaking an Editor-at-Large role.  Lian has worked with ArtsHub, copyediting and coordinating their online jobs content. She also worked as a journalist for ArtsHub Australia and ArtsHub UK. Her writing is published in When Our Children Come Out (ed Maria Pallota-Chiarolli), Growing Up Asian in Australia (ed Alice Pung), and she has written features and reviews for various queer publications.  Lian is also a spoken word artist and has performed at Melbourne’s Midsumma festival, Big West Festival and the Women’s Circus.  She was a festival artist with the Melaka Art & Performance Festival in 2013, and will be returning as a festival artist in 2014 for a collaborative project with Malaysian based artists on work themed around a vampiric Malay myth - “Pontianak” - told through revised Asian ghost stories, myth and folklore via feminist and queer lenses . Follow her on Twitter: @Lian__Low Find her: http://thetomboiproblem.blogspot.com.au/

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Deep reflection and inquiry as a part of ongoing learning

by Eleanor Jackson - KG2014 Participant

Contemporary corporate speak these days is permeated by the enthusiastic sloganeering of "continuous quality improvement". The discourse of "feedback loops" and "organisational research, learning and development" is increasingly ubiquitous, whether in government, business, science, sports or the arts.

We are always sharing "lessons learnt" nowadays, aren't we?

But what does it mean to truly learn? Beyond education or training, the acquisition of new knowledge, new skills, new modes of thinking, is a complex and slippery process. And if we are always focused on achieving an outcome of that new learning, finding an immediate, panicked way to "do something" with what we now "know", are we merely adopting the tomorrow's new trend, which is, in turn, next year's bad habit?

At the Brisbane Kultour Gathering 2014, I had a fantastic opportunity to consider the role of deep reflection and inquiry as a part of ongoing learning as a writer and as a creative producer – taking part in learning in an entirely refreshing context, with a talented and eclectic group of participants and provocateurs from the greater South-East Queensland area.

Before the Gathering, I held many unanswered questions about the process – was it a professional development session? skills sharing? networking powwow? a talkfest? support group? preaching to the choir? All I was sure was that the calibre of previous participants drew me deeply and intuitively to the concept. Ultimately, the Gathering was none and yet, positively, somehow all of the above. What emerged, however, still feels hard to describe, as is often the case with sessions that are facilitated with gentleness, a willingness to pull and thread and keep pulling it as long as the discussion proves rich and fruitful. Imagine the languor of the very best dinner table conversation, fuelled by nothing coffee and a deep enthusiasm for the arts, and the attentive care of your unobtrusive hosts. The frankness of participants, willingness to engage with open-ended process, thoughtful provocation, and generosity of ideas and experiences lead to public presentation that was not only guided by practical, lived experience but remarkably unified considering the diversity of participant background. Perhaps there is something in this open-ended, netorking, dialogic style of learning across diversity, after all?

At Peril Magazine, the editorial team and board regularly question and challenge our respective understandings of culturally and linguistically diverse art making and literature. As a collective, we are often searching for a new way to learn from the Australia's cultural past, to dream it forward into a place that more closely resembles Australia's complex cultural realities – we want to re-write our own stories into a cultural discourse that continues to perpetuate the myth of monoculturalism. Situating these discussions in an intercultural and interdisciplinary context, both resonated with and posed valuable challenges to that ongoing project – and my personal writing practice. I would not only leap at the chance to participate again, but have been enthusiastically applying model of discussion as a way of enriching debate with my colleagues at Peril – like a high-octane feedback loop that turns into a great glittering hula hoop and then returns like a fractal drawing or mandala.

Some weeks later, I'm still returning to questions of audience and critical drive posed by a circus professional with a flair for a feminist clowning; wondering about the equal myth of whiteness as presented by a visual artist whose work challenges geographical and practice backgrounds; thinking of interstitial meditation to traffic; finding percussion instruments in discarded rubbish; and wondering how many countries the soundtrack of my life features – all of which is funnelling and then exploding processes for the lenses I apply to my own practice.

What a beautiful process – my humblest gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to such a rich and reflective conversation about the role of the arts in Australia's contemporary society.

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Grace Barbé National Tour

Kultour Pulse Artist Update

Final performance at the Burnie Arts & Function Centre, Burnie, Tasmania on 18 October 2014

This tour commenced in the Northern Territory with the support of Artback NT and the Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian legs of the tour have nearly reached completion with South Australia and Tasmanian completion on 19 October.

The team have found the experience immensely valuable, as Pulse artists, acquiring a deeper understanding of the rigours and processes surrounding national arts touring whilst acquiring valuable promotional profiling including five national radio interviews, the declaration of Grace's album as RRR's top CD of the week and securing the cover image for the Sydney edition of MX magazine.

Audiences that have experienced the performances and community members that have participated in the workshop program has been extremely positive with many wonderful moments – including the young women of the Arnhem Land community workshop having the courage to dance the Sega during the subsequent performance.

A great outcome for a great band!

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National Cultural Index on the Horizon

Kultour-Deakin University CGC Research Project

As a national organisation advancing cultural diversity in the arts, Kultour instigates a range of key strategic leadership initiatives. In partnership with the Centre for Globalisation and Citizenship (CGC) Deakin University and with the support of the Scanlon Foundation, Kultour is working towards the development of a National Cultural Index that establishes a framework to measure and monitor the participation of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) artists within Australia's  subsidised arts sector infrastructures. The index will provide a national evidence base for cultural diversity in the arts and will be fully developed over a longitudinal process.

The first stage of this action research project concerns the development of a research framework and methodology to inform and guide the development of a national participation index.  Work commenced in October 2013 with a comprehensive research and consultation phase.  This has resulted in the preparation of an extensive  literature review and the building of a draft sector evaluation tool.  The framework is built around the key characteristics of a fully inclusive environment and provides a basis for comparative analysis.

The draft survey will be tested with a National Reference Group that was established by Kultour in November 2013 to guide and inform the project. The survey will be further developed and refined following this initial testing.  Stage one of the project will be completed by late 2014 and planning for stage two will commence in late 2014/early 2015.

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Fringe Awards Announced

Once again the Melbourne Fringe Festival has drawn to a close with a delivery of another impressive lineup this year across the board. The Fringe Festival ‘Innovation in Culturally Diverse Practice Award’, supported by Kultour, was awarded to Rani Pramesti for the immersive, installation-based performance work ‘Chinese Whispers’. The show also took the Best Live Art Award at The Melbourne Fringe Awards night.

Congratulations to Fringe for their support of cultural diversity in the arts, as is evident in every year’s programming. Also to all the artists that took part in this years festival.

For a full list of winners this year visit MELBOURNE FRINGE FESTIVAL

Photo by Daniela Rodriguez

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NAVA Presents Future/Forward – The National Visual Arts Summit

6 – 7 November 2014 at Carriageworks, Sydney NSW

Future/Forward is a two-day summit that will bring together arts practitioners, academics and industry professionals to engage in discussions about the current state of the visual arts in Australia and to imagine new possibilities for developing contemporary practice.

Tamara Winikoff, NAVA's Executive Director says, "This is the first visual arts summit to be held in Australia. It will provide a great opportunity for speakers and delegates to grapple with important issues around which there are conflicting views. We look forward to enabling the sector to engage publicly with some of the hard things that matter to all of us."

Support for this national dialogue is offered through travel bursaries in several states made available to art practitioners to attend the summit from around Australia. The bursaries will cover flights, accommodation, per diems and summit registration fees. Applications can be made via the NAVA website: https://visualarts.net.au/community/futureforward/

Register now to take advantage of Early Bird pricing which ends 10 October: http://navafutureforward.eventbrite.com.au

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Creative Arts Fellowship Opportunity

Applications for the 2015 Creative Arts Fellowship open on Tuesday September 30, 2014
Closing date November 9, 2014

APPLY FOR A CREATIVE ARTS FELLOWSHIP

The Creative Arts Fellowship, supported by the Friends of the National Library of Australia, aims to assist professional artists to develop new artistic work creatively using or inspired by the Library’s collections.  The Fellowship is open to individuals practising in any art form. This may include writing, music, dance, theatre, visual arts, emerging, hybrid and experimental art forms.

The Library provides creative artists with a unique and supportive environment in which to immerse themselves in the collections and to be inspired by, repurpose, transform or imaginatively respond to published or original sources, such as pictures, manuscripts, maps, music and oral histories, in any way they choose.

The Fellowship offers a grant of $10,000 to undertake a minimum one-month residency at the Library to work towards a new art-work or body of work or to develop an artistic concept for future elaboration. The 2015 Creative Arts Fellow must complete their residency by June 30, 2015.

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AWME 2014

Established in 2008, AWME has cemented itself as the Southern Hemisphere’s premier roots music industry conference and showcase event, held in Melbourne over four days each November. Check out the AWME website for more information.


Equity 75: A Summit of Creativity and Diversity

OCTOBER 26 & 27 

This two-day conference will bring together producers, directors, writers, performers, casting directors, agents, artistic directors,  broadcast executives, digital strategists, filmmakers and many others for some fascinating debates and discussions about our industry.

During panels, workshops, in conversations and key notes we will explore topics as varied as building your brand and nailing the art of the audition through to the role of the producer and women in theatre.

This event will also be an invaluable opportunity to get together as industry and talk about how we can better represent our wonderfully diverse country on our screens and stages.

http://www.equity75.org.au/conference/equity-75-a-summit-of-creativity-and-diversity

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