Federal Government announces expert panels to inform National Cultural Policy

AAR-The-Hon-Tony-Burke-MPSome of Australia’s finest artistic and creative minds will help guide the development of the Federal Government’s landmark National Cultural Policy.

Fifteen acclaimed writers, musicians, painters, producers, directors and industry professionals have agreed to be part of five expert review panels that will help shape the National Cultural Policy in the months ahead.

The purpose of each Review Panel is to advise the Minister for the Arts, the Hon Tony Burke MP, about the key issues and themes raised in the submissions.

Their perspectives and feedback will inform a comprehensive roadmap to guide the skills and resources required to transform and safeguard a vibrant and sustainable arts, entertainment and cultural sector for the decade ahead.

“A National Cultural Policy should draw on as many voices as possible,” said Minister Burke. “That’s why I’m asking every Australian who cares about arts and culture to make a submission.”

“And it’s why I’m drawing on the expertise of these diverse creative sector professionals to help me drive this. Together, we can bring new direction and vision to a critical sector that does so much to enrich Australians’ lives,” said Minister Burke.

The Review Panels will also identify any gaps captured in submissions. There is a panel dedicated to each of the five key pillars.

  • First Nations first: recognising and respecting the crucial place of these stories at the centre of our arts and culture.
  • A place for every story: reflecting the diversity of our stories and the contribution of all Australians as the creators of culture.
  • The centrality of the artist: supporting the artist as worker and celebrating their role as the creators of culture.
  • Strong institutions: providing support across the spectrum of institutions which sustain our arts and culture.
  • Reaching the audience: ensuring our stories reach the right people at home and abroad.

Announced earlier this week, each panelist has skills and experience relevant to a specific pillar as outlined below.

First Nations first:

  • Ms Claire Coleman (VIC) is a Noongar woman who writes fiction, essays, poetry and art criticism. Her debut novel Terra Nullius won the Norma K Hemming Award in 2018.
  • Mr Wesley Enoch AM (NSW) is a Quandamooka man from Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island), an internationally acclaimed playwright and artistic director and current Indigenous Chair of Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology.
  • Ms Rachael Maza AM (VIC) is a Yidinji and Meriam woman who is the Artistic Director of Ilbijerri Theatre Company, and an accomplished actress and director.

A place for every story:

  • Ms Caroline Bowditch (VIC) is Chief Executive Officer and Artistic Director of Arts Access Victoria. She is an accomplished international performer and choreographer with a commitment to cultural equity.
  • Professor Deborah Cheetham AO (VIC), Yorta Yorta woman, soprano, composer and Artistic Director of Short Black Opera, has been a leader and pioneer in the Australian arts landscape for more than 30 years.
  • Mr Khoa Do (SA) is an award-winning film director and screenwriter who has worked across the spectrum of film, television and community theatre. His films have won awards at various festivals worldwide.

The centrality of the artist:

  • Mr Matthew Chesher (NSW) is Director of Legal and Policy for the Media, Entertainment and the Arts Alliance, the largest union of Australian creative professionals.
  • Mr Michael Hohnen (NT) is an ARIA-winning musician and producer, and co-founder of the local music label Skinnyfish Music.
  • Ms Deena Lynch (QLD) is a singer-songwriter, musician, photographer, visual artist, director and designer, best known by her stage name Jaguar Jonze.

Strong institutions:

  • Ms Kerri Glasscock (NSW) is Festival Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Sydney Fringe Festival, and is a founding Board Member and Deputy Chair of the Night Time Industries Association.
  • Ms Karen Quinlan AM (ACT) is the Director of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia, and was previously the Director of Bendigo Art Gallery and a curatorial assistant at the National Gallery of Victoria.
  • Mr Kim Walker (NSW) is the Chief Executive Officer of (NAISDA) Dance College, Australia’s foremost training Institute for First Nations students and a former principal dancer of the Sydney Dance Company and Artistic Director of the Flying Fruit Fly Circus.

Reaching the audience:

  • Ms Kate Ben-Tovim (WA) has over 20 years’ experience in the cultural sector and has lived and worked in Indonesia, India, PNG, China, UK and across Australia.  She has produced a number of large-scale music productions for festivals that have received Helpmann and Deadly Awards
  • Mr Fintan Magee (QLD) is internationally known for his large-scale murals in galleries and street art festivals around the world.
  • Mr Emile Sherman (NSW) is a television and film producer, best known for producing The King’s Speech which won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Picture.

The Labor Government has a proud history of support for the arts. Both the Keating and Gillard Governments developed cultural policies – which were then torn up by subsequent Liberal and National governments and replaced by nothing.

As a result, Australia’s arts and cultural sector has just endured a decade of policy drift and neglect that left it vulnerable to constant Coalition cuts. The arts, entertainment and cultural sector is important to who we are as Australians and plans a vital role in the economy.

The Government is keen to hear from community members and stakeholders to inform the National Cultural Policy. Public submissions are now open and close 22 August 2022. For more information, visit: www.arts.gov.au for details.

Image: Minister for the Arts, The Hon Tony Burke MP (sourced)