British Council announces 2014 ACCELERATE Recipients

BCA_Jacob Boehme_Clotilde Bullen_Lucy Simpson_Carly Lane_photo by Casamento PhotographyThe British Council has announced the 2014 recipients of ACCELERATE – the annual leadership award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People at a special event at Melbourne Museum’s Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

The four recipients of this year’s programme are: Jacob Boehme – a dancer/choreographer, theatre-maker and writer from Victoria; Clotilde Bullen – a visual arts curator from Western Australia; Carly Lane – a visual arts curator and arts advocate from Western Australia; and Lucy Simpson – a designer of textiles and home wares from New South Wales.

The four recipients will now move on to the first stage of ACCELERATE 2014, where they will undertake an intensive weekend with visiting UK trainer, Mark Wright of People Create. During the intensive, they will explore their own leadership more deeply and will also be connected with individual mentors who will work with them as coaches over the programme.

After these sessions, the four will work in consultation with the British Council and UK-based arts consultant Nicola Turner to design their bespoke UK professional placements. The group travels to the UK for three weeks in November this year.

At the event, Chair of the Australia Council for the Arts Rupert Myer AM announced extended three-year support to expand the ACCELERATE programme from 2014-16, totaling $355,700, seeing: (1) an international leadership symposium led by ACCELERATE alumni in 2015 and 2016; (2) opportunity for ACCELERATE alumni to build artistic collaboration with the UK; and (3) increased mentoring and leadership training for ACCELERATE participants.

“An expanded ACCELERATE delivers across the spectrum of goals defined in our new Strategic Plan for a Culturally Ambitious Nation,” said Mr Myer.

“We recognise that supporting leaders of the future is critical to the continued development of vibrant and inspiring communities. ACCELERATE is an important platform for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts leaders to drive the dialogue on Australian arts, locally and internationally. The Australia Council is very pleased to support ACCELERATE and its work in cultural leadership development.”

The event was a celebration, hosted by NITV News presenter Natalie Ahmat and featuring a musical performance by Melbourne’s Skin Choir. Queensland Theatre Company Artistic Director and Chair of the Australia Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Strategy Panel Wesley Enoch delivered a rousing keynote speech, which built on issues raised in his recently published Platform Papers essay, Take Me to Your Leader: the Dilemma of Cultural Leadership.

In his speech, Enoch said that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people “…occupy a unique position in this country. We have both a moral authority gifted to us through our heritage, the history of injustice and continued connection with this landscape AND we have solutions that are based on the concept of putting the arts and cultural expression in the centre of society.”

“We express ourselves through our song, dance, storytelling, visual arts, music and craft. Our genealogy, geography, history, economy, legal system and sense of community come from expressing ourselves through the arts.”

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Image: Jacob Boehme, Clotilde Bullen, Lucy Simpson and Carly Lane – photo by Richard Timbury / Casamento Photography