Our reflections

What Respect Means To Me - reflections from Australia Council staff

Mathew Doyle and staff at the beginning of the smoking ceremony'The recent focus on respect has not only made me sharpen up my own attitudes and behaviours but also provided a context to focus the music board on how we are addressing it in our work. Obviously the ATSIA Board’s Song Cycles research has been essential to our artform specific understanding, but also in general the respect initiative has given us an organizational framework for things like introducing acknowledgement of country into all our official activities.
Those notions of acknowledgement and understanding are really important ones to take on board. Hopefully they’re behaviours we apply across the organisation but it’s been really important to focus on how we’re applying them in this specific and important area.'
Paul, Music

'Respect is acknowledging the footprints of someone else’s journey and accepting that the choice of path was theirs to make.'
Tija, Theatre

'Respect means treating each and every one of mother’s nature’s creatures with patience, tolerance, kindness, generosity and love. This involves acknowledging that we are not all born equal, that each one of us have had different experiences which influence our situation and beliefs. That these experiences are just different, not more or less important. To embrace the differences as they make up the colourful and interesting world we live in.'
Sigrid, ATSIA 

'Respect is something that begins at a personal level, but can then influence larger groups. So once we individually come to terms with the what we mean by respect it then feeds into our teams, into our daily work, and the organisation as a whole benefits. I think this is very true of the Respect exhibition. It got us talking across Council about the many high quality projects we have funded over the years that have involved collaboration with indigenous art/artists. Being able to promote this externally via the exhibition has been a positive message. I think respect involves all these key terms – understanding, acknowledgement and support. To me respect is about respect of Indigenous people, respect of Indigenous culture and respect of Indigenous art. Thinking about this makes you acknowledge the great contribution Indigenous art has made to Australian culture but also acknowledge the engagement the Australia Council has with Indigenous art. But most importantly it gets you thinking about how we can better engage with Indigenous art and culture.'
Peter, Music

'Acceptance with curiosity and humility of diversity of cultures and opinions'
Trish, Major Performing Arts Board

'For me, respect means acknowledging another person’s uniqueness. We do this by listening to, and attempting to understand, another’s point of view; acknowledging another’s place and way of living; accepting another’s difference from one’s self; and by being generally humble and realistic about the fallibility of one’s own beliefs.
I don’t think respect involves necessarily agreeing with, or accepting, another’s point of view or way of living – for example, we can respect our enemies. Rather, it involves accepting that we hold different views on life and reality. That, in itself, brings a degree of curiosity and tolerance.'
Andy, Music

'To us in Dance respect means:

  • setting up an environment that enables people to succeed
  • it starts with awareness of others
  • understanding is crucial, taking time to consider other peoples points of view, ideas, why we might have similar or different ways
  • acknowledging, celebrating and allowing space for differences
  • organizational standards and working culture will have some impact on the level, to which we can accommodate different peoples working styles
  • respect in the context of RAP learning should start at an early age, RAP should be given time and focus in the education system
  • the activities, events and particularly the RAP workshops were very helpful in developing further understanding.'
Dance Staff


'Respect is a test of personal character, respect is the ability for an individual to stop, listen and learn the thoughts or sentiments of someone else without passing judgment. Respect to me is not necessarily about having to agree with someone, but giving them the time to speak and to listen with open ears and with honesty.
Respect is being able to empathize, relating, thinking outside the square and challenging yourself to be better than you are.'
Thom, Community Partnerships 

Image credit: Mathew Doyle and staff at the beginning of the smoking ceremony. Photo by Sharon Hickey. 

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