Executive Director Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts

Lydia Miller Photo: Dean Golja 

Lydia Miller

I was just a young actress, a very green actress, probably about twenty-three and it was the first National Black Playwrights’ Conference. We were in the company of Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Brian Syron,  Bob Maza, Justine Saunders, Jack Davis, Maureen Watson, Jimmy Everett and Kevin Gilbert and others and they made these resolutions about the future. They wanted a national Aboriginal theatre company and they wanted all the young people to organize it. Basically, we were chartered to set it up.

Our generation was the Rhoda Roberts’, the Vivian Walkers' the Michael Johnson’s and the Suzanne Ingrams’,  I can still see us now, sitting down with the lawyers: we’re these twenty-somethings and we’re going ‘Now what? Okay, so we’re writing a constitution!” It was fantastic. This was the moment that I started assuming responsibility.

We did everything that had to be done: administration, lobbying, marketing, performing and in doing it, we became slicker and faster. We wanted change and we went after it.

In my life I’ve had very, very good tutelage about art and culture and place. And what it achieves. I see it as a legacy: an absolute cultural legacy. I’ve learnt that creativity creates a space that enables people to tell their stories: to draw out their epic, grand narratives and begin the conversations that we have to have. Every generation will have its own priorities, its own conversations.

As an adult, I feel no different to that young person of twenty-three. No different at all.

Lydia Miller is a Kuku Yalanji woman. She  joined the ATSIA Board in July 2005 with over twenty years experience as a performer, artistic director, producer, administrator and advocate. Lydia has held many Council, Board and Committee positions. 
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