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 Australia Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts programs support all artforms, including music, dance, theatre and storytelling, visual arts and crafts, writing, new media, community development, international activity and arts infrastructure.
The Council 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 Council 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 and cultural vibrancy are a key focus of the work done by Indigenous arts organisations. Read more
Image: John Mawurndjul at the musee du quai Branly Photo:Alastair Miller
AUSTRALIA COUNCIL AND INDIGENOUS IDENTITY
The Australia Council understands and appreciates the sensitivities around matters of cultural identity, especially in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts programs confirmation of Indigenous identity eligibility requirement has been reviewed in consultation with Indigenous communities across the country. Applicants to Indigenous specific funding programs are asked to identify that they are Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander individuals, groups or organisations at the time they make their funding application. Applications do not need to provide confirmations of Indigenous identity.
The eligibility requirement was not intended to cause offense. Rather, it is to ensure that dedicated funding supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.
The Australia Council will continue to protect the resources dedicated for Indigenous people.
Council will work to protect those resources in a way that is sensitive to current realities. It has changed the application process and funding contracts for people groups and organisations funded by the Australia Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs.
The Australia Council is steadfast that it has no role in deciding who is and who is not Indigenous.
In relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity, the Council will continue to respect the three step process of identity, descent and acceptance historically used by Indigenous communities to demonstrate that people are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: 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.
The Australia Council for the arts respects that these lands and waters are the location of the longest continuing cultures and civilisations in the world. At the time of European arrival this place was and is home to some 500 distinct nations and each have their own name. Therefore we acknowledge the right of all peoples to claim, control and enhance their cultural inheritance and the names by which they are known. Operating across these nations the Australia Council uses the words Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, first nations people and Indigenous arts respecting the true diversity of the original peoples in these lands and waters. We also understand that some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not comfortable with some of these words. The Australia Council means only respect when we use these words.
INDIGENOUS ARTS SECTOR STRATEGIC FRAMEWORKS
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Panel and Division develop Indigenous Arts Sector Strategic Frameworks which are built on priorities for action by artists in artform sectors.
The evidence base for our strategies comes from a number of sources. Initiatives evolved from recommendations of the Creating Pathways conference for dance (2005), the Senate Inquiry into Indigenous visual arts (2006), Making Solid Ground: Indigenous infrastructure and key organisations review (2008), the development of the Indigenous Australian Commercial Code of Conduct for the visual arts (2009), Song Cycles: An audit of support infrastructure for Indigenous music in Australia (2010), Indigenous Cultural Festivals: evaluating impact on community health and well-being (2010), the National Indigenous Theatre Forum (2010 and 2011) the National Aboriginal Writers’ Festival “Guwanyi” (2011) the Yellamundie National Playwrights Festival and the First Nations Australia Writers Workshop (9,10 May 2013) to name a few.
The Board, Panel and Division experience is that artform development works when people and organisations in that sector have developed and taken ownership of their priorities for action.
Latest News and Projects
The Australia Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board is proud to announce the recipients of the National Indigenous Arts Awards.
Read more >
- Lee-Ann Buckskin, Chair, South Australia
Our next closing date is 19 November 2014
Projects, closing date 19 November 2014, application form coming soon!
Skills and Arts Development - Organisations, closing date 19 November 2014, application form coming soon!
Skills and Arts Development - Individuals and groups, closing date 19 November 2014, application form coming soon!
National Indigenous Arts Infrastructure Program
More information to come.
Our team and contacts
Frank Trotman-Golden, Program Manager
Email or call on (02) 9215 9167
Melodie Gibson, Program Officer - Strategy
Email or call on (02) 9215 9058