Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts
The arts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reflect the unique cultural heritage of the world’s oldest living culture.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts make a rich contribution to world culture and Australia’s diverse contemporary culture and national identity.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board supports all artforms, including music, dance, theatre and storytelling, visual arts and crafts, writing, new media, community development, international activity and arts infrastructure.
The board recognises the integral links between art, culture, language, heritage, land and sea, as well as customary law and the importance of developing and growing the Indigenous arts sector and its industries by supporting the creation, development, production, distribution and dissemination of artistic and creative works.
The board also acknowledges the need for artists, communities and arts organisations to conserve and preserve traditional and contemporary artistic expressions for future generations to appreciate, learn from and understand their cultural inheritance and identity as Indigenous peoples. Artistic vibrancy and cultural maintenance are a key focus of the work done by Indigenous arts organisations. Read more
AUSTRALIA COUNCIL CONFIRMATION OF INDIGENOUS IDENTITY ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENT
The Australia Council understands and appreciates the sensitivities around matters of cultural identity, especially in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts (ATSIA) Board’s confirmation of Indigenous identity eligibility requirement has been regularly reviewed since it was established in 1997. The ATSIA Board, which consists of leading Indigenous artists and community representatives, regularly reviews this requirement in consultation with Indigenous communities across the country.
The eligibility requirement is not intended to cause offense. Rather, it is in place to ensure that dedicated funding supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.
Under this requirement, applicants to the ATSIA Board are all asked to provide a letter confirming their Indigenous identity from a Lands Council or Indigenous organisation registered under the relevant legislation, including Link Up.
The ATSIA Board has not made exceptions to this because it is not appropriate for a government agency to undertake the function of determining a person’s cultural identity.
The resources of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board are dedicated to the benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, groups, organisations and cultural practices. It is a matter of fact that over many years non Indigenous parties have passed themselves off in order to claim some of the limited resources dedicated to benefit Indigenous people. The Board criterion has been implemented to deal with people claiming something about themselves that is not true.
Since 1 January 2005, confirmations received by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board staff have been recorded and securely maintained by Indigenous staff. This means that applicants who have previously registered are not required to provide re-confirmation in new funding applications.
In defining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity, the Board uses a definition that combines three elements: descent, identification and acceptance. An Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander is defined as someone who is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, identifies as an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander, and is accepted as such in the communities where he or she lives or comes from.
Confirmations can only be counted when they are from Indigenous run organisations ie
an organisation registered under the Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act 1976, or since July 2007, registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006, or an Indigenous land council or relevant legislation.
This criterion has been based on the philosophy that:
- it is an individual's responsibility to provide confirmation of identity (from the relevant organisations with authority to give that confirmation) and
- it is not the role of government agencies to determine Indigenous identity but to acknowledge and recognise the organisations that endorse the confirmation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity.
Therefore the Australia Council does not accept confirmations from state government departments. Confirmations are made by an Indigenous organisation making a formal decision which removes the possibility of Indigenous identity being inferred or assumed.
Latest News and Projects
The $60,000 Australia Council Don Banks Music Award – the nation’s most valuable individual music award – is today presented to singer, storyteller, activist and artist, Kev Carmody, for his outstanding contribution to Australian music. Read more >
Rupert Myer AM, Chair of the Australia Council for the Arts has today welcomed the launch of the National Cultural Policy and response to the recommendations of the Australia Council review. Read more >
Acclaimed Indigenous dancer Gary Lang has been named the recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts Dance Board Fellowship: a prestigious $100,000, two-year grant.
Indigenous writer, poet and story teller Herb Wharton has been awarded the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature; a $50,000 award that recognises the achievements of eminent writers who have made outstanding and lifelong contributions to Australian literature.
Our board members
- Lee-Ann Buckskin, Chair, South Australia
- Melissa Lucashenko, New South Wales
- Jeanette James, Tasmania
- Rachael Maza, Victoria
- Monica Stevens, Queensland
Print-ready forms for to apply for our grants and initiatives or to nominate for the Red Ochre Award are available here:
- ATSIA Fellowship application (Coming soon)
- ATSIA New Work application (Coming soon)
- ATSIA Presentation and Promotion application (Coming soon)
- ATSIA Red Ochre nomination (Coming soon)
- ATSIA Skills and Arts Development - Individuals applications (Coming soon)
- ATSIA Skills and Arts Development - Organisations application (Coming soon)
- Skills and Arts Development - 16 July 2013
- New Work - 16 July 2013
- Presentation and Promotion - 16 July 2013
- Indigenous Arts Workers' Program - 16 July 2013
- The Red Ochre Award - 19 November 2013
- The Dreaming Award - 19 November 2013
- Presentation and Promotion - 19 November 2013
- Fellowships - 19 November 2013
- Skills and Arts Development - 19 November 2013
- New Work - 19 November 2013
Our team and contacts
Frank Trotman-Golden, Program Officer
Email or call on (02) 9215 9167
Luke Briscoe, Program Officer
Email or call on (02) 9215 9058
Michelle Wong, Program Officer
Email or call on (02) 9215 9171
Sigrid Langker, Division Administrator
Email or call on (02) 9215 9144
Suzie Cubillo, Administration Officer
Email or call on (02) 9215 9067