British Council announces 2015 ACCELERATE Recipients

British Council ACCELERATE 2015Five outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts professionals have been announced as the 2015 participants of the British Council’s annual ACCELERATE leadership skills development programme.

In its sixth successful year, ACCELERATE provides Indigenous Australians working within the creative industries with the skills and networks to generate, take up and excel in leadership positions. The programme is aimed at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from across Australia who have at least five years’ experience in the creative industries and can demonstrate a bold vision for where they want to take their career and their community.

The participants announced for the 2015 ACCELERATE programme are: Marcus Corowa – a musician from New South Wales; Carly Sheppard – a dancer and choreographer from Victoria; Emma Loban – a visual arts and museums curator from Queensland; Teegan Cowlishaw – a fashion designer from Western Australia; and Angela Flynn – a producer and arts manager from South Australia.

ACCELERATE has been instrumental in discovering a pool of talent deep and wide in Indigenous culture as a new generation of leaders comes to the fore in Australia. This year, the selection panel has identified five mid-career professionals ready to move in to senior leadership roles across the arts and creative industries.

The five participants were selected from a nation-wide call for applications and were announced as part of a special celebration held at Sydney’s Carriageworks on Tuesday 1 September 2015. The event, hosted by NITV’s Natalie Ahmat, featured a live musical performance from one of this year’s ACCELERATE participants, Marcus Corowa, and a thought-provoking address on leadership from IndigenousX creator Luke Pearson.

Pearson discussed not only the immediate opportunities provided through ACCELERATE, but also the potential it has longer-term through knowledge sharing and creating career pathways for the next generation.

“I believe that with opportunity comes responsibility,” said Pearson. “I see the ACCELERATE recipients as links in a chain – they have a great opportunity to go out and develop their skills on a global level but it is also important for them to then support the others that will follow them. After all, that’s what true leadership is about.”

The five ACCELERATE participants will progress to the first stage of the 2015 programme, where they will take part in three days of facilitated workshops to explore their understanding of leadership before traveling to the United Kingdom for their bespoke professional placements and mentoring designed to develop their chosen creative vocation.

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Image: Carly Sheppard, Angela Flynn, Marcus Corowa, Emma Loban, Teegan Cowlishaw – photo by Barbara McGrady