National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Policy

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Policy is a blueprint for the implementation of vital policy and programs promoting the artistic and cultural expression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this country.

The Australia Council has a long history of supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture and consults widely on developing new policies and appropriate programs of assistance. The Australia Council is regarded as the primary funding agency for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts.

As the Australian Government's major arts funding and advisory body, the Australia Council supports cultural diversity and inter-cultural activity through policies which reflect the goals and aspirations outlined in its Corporate Plan. These include the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Policy and Arts for a Multicultural Australia.

Objectives

The objectives of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Policy are to:

  • Ensure that all decisions related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts within the Australia Council are guided by the Policy
  • Identify and implement the Australia Council's priorities for development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts
  • Develop better ways to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and arts organisations
  • Build links with other key stakeholders
  • Maintain and improve networking opportunities
  • Monitor and report on the level of support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts activities.

Principles

The Australia Council endorses the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Policy principles of:

Respect

We acknowledge and respect the Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders of Australia as the traditional owners and custodians of Australia and its territories.

We acknowledge and respect the essential connection between the arts, culture, heritage, land, sea and (customary) law in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander society.

We will encourage the awareness and maintenance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural protocols throughout the arts.

Authority

We recognise that Indigenous authority and self-determination are essential in relation to the arts.

We recognise the rights of Indigenous people to claim, control and enhance their cultural development and cultural maintenance through the arts.

We endorse the right of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders to own and control their cultural and intellectual property.

Rights and responsibilities

We endorse the rights of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders to fully express their spirituality, integrity and authority through the arts.

We accept the responsibility of representing the rights and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and artsworkers.

Diversity

We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural diversity and cultural pluralism.

We acknowledge Australia's cultural diversity and embrace cultural cooperation.

Policy priorities

In using The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Policy a framework for action may help thinking about all the areas in which people and organisations may make a contribution has incorporated the priorities identified by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission’ s Cultural Policy Framework. This framework's priorities encompass many elements that are not core business for the Australia Council. However, the Framework ensures integrity of arts and cultural expression and practice. It also highlights the relationship between these areas for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts.

National oversight and strategic coordination

The Council considers national oversight and strategic coordination a policy priority to ensure the identification, development and administration of strategies and outcomes of the Policy. This may include improved data collection, research, consultation and negotiation, consultative arrangements, governance, representation, policy and strategy formulation, coordination, implementation, accountability, monitoring and evaluation.

Arts development

The Council considers arts development a policy priority to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, organisations and communities to realise their right to participate in a cultural life and to determine their participation within the wider arena of arts and commercial industries at a national and international level. Assisting Indigenous artists to develop professionally is seen as the responsibility of all sections of the Australia Council including the ATSIAB and all funding divisions.

Regional cultural development

The Council considers regional cultural development a policy priority and recognises arts practice as a means of enriching community life and accordingly sees support of artists and arts organisations at the community level as essential to ensure long term arts development in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The Council sees the development of regional arts strategies and cultural plans as an essential part of regional cultural development.

Infrastructure

The Council considers infrastructure to be a policy priority supporting the development of a strategic group of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander arts organisations in conjunction with other funding bodies. This will form the basis for improved access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and communities to arts projects and services on a regional, state or multi-state basis.

Industry development

The Council considers industry development to be a policy priority in recognising Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders determining and managing their economic development through the arts to enhance opportunities and resources. Council recognises and supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in the cultural industries as legitimate employment and productive economic activity. Industry development is seen as a responsibility across all of Council.

Distribution, promotion and market development

The Council considers distribution, promotion and market development a policy priority in achieving increased exposure of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts in local, regional, national and international markets.

Communication and strategic promotion

The Council considers communication and strategic promotion a policy priority in achieving a greater understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture as expressed through the arts.

Copyright, intellectual property and moral rights

The Council considers copyright, intellectual property and moral rights a policy priority in safeguarding the integrity and ownership of Indigenous cultural property in a manner which recognises the particular features of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ownership, including perpetual and communal rights.

Broadcast media, multimedia and information technologies

The Council considers broadcast media, multimedia and information technologies a policy priority in achieving increased access of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders to information and new technologies in order to enhance control and assist development in local, regional, national and international markets.

Cultural heritage

The Council considers cultural heritage a policy priority in recognising the importance of cultural heritage as philosophically underpinning the cultural integrity of arts practice.

Cultural heritage and cultural resource management

The Council considers cultural heritage and cultural resource management a policy priority as it impacts on the integrity of arts and cultural practice.

Cultural and environmental tourism

The Council considers cultural and environmental tourism a policy priority to enhance opportunities for the arts.

Resources

We produce a range of publications for people and organisations who wish to seek financial and other support from the Australia Council. Most can be downloaded from this website.

For further information:

Tel: (02) 9215 9000
Toll-free: 1800 226 912
Fax: (02) 9215 9111

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