Showcasing Creativity: Programming and Presenting First Nations Performing Arts

    01 September 2016


    Showcasing Creativity reports on the level and types of First Nations performing arts programming in Australia’s mainstream venues and festivals; the presenting of works to audiences; and the motivations and obstacles for presenters and producers.

    It aims to promote and inform discussion about what is needed to achieve a culturally ambitious nation that cherishes First Nations arts.

    What is in the report?

    Showcasing Creativity provides an opportunity and evidence base for the broader arts sector to examine decision making processes about programming, presenting and marketing First Nations works to Australian audiences.

    National mapping of the programs of 135 Australian presenters found that First Nations performing arts are under-represented in Australia’s mainstream venues and festivals. They comprised around 2% of the almost 6000 works programmed in 2015 seasons.

    There is a need to build sector capacity for cross-cultural engagement both ways; between mainstream presenters, and First Nations artists and communities.

    Through this research, presenters and producers called for:

    • proactive initiatives, long-term planning and support to build First Nations representation across the sector and in programming; and
    • personal, organisational and sector-wide leadership and commitment to an important two-way cultural conversation.

    Download the Showcasing Creativity summary fact sheet

    Download the Showcasing Creativity report

    Download the Accessible version 

    Download the media release 

    Related research

    Showcasing Creativity is the latest study in a series commissioned by the Australia Council for the Arts with the aim of connecting more Australians to First Nations arts experiences and increasing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.


    Building Audiences: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts

    Arts Participation Survey

    Related resources and initiatives

    Hear Ilbijerri's Artistic Director Rachael Maza discuss the Showcasing Creativity research on Radio National's AWAYE! program – Performance anxiety: why venues don't stage Indigenous theatre

    Indigenous Cultural Protocols and the Arts – A book of case studies by Terri Janke and Company that are based around the Australia Council’s protocols. The case studies represent best practice when working with Indigenous Australians on arts projects. 

    Protocols for working with Indigenous artists – Australia Council’s protocol guides.

    Performing Lines Indigenous community engagement pilot evaluation – an evaluation by Denise Wilson and Tandi Williams, of the Indigenous Community Engagement Coordinator role.

    Performing Arts Touring Needs Analysis – this report on an APACA survey of performing art centres’ touring needs, and other resources can be downloaded from the APACA website.

    Community Relevance Guide - the Australia Council for the Arts developed the Community Relevance Guide to support arts organisations to create meaningful connections with communities.

    Artistic Vibrancy – an e-book by the Australia Council for the Arts that provides a way for organisations to talk about artistic impact.

    Artists in the Black – a rich source of information from Arts Law on a range of issues including Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP).

    Promoting diversity of cultural expression in arts in Australia – a case study report by Phillip Marr and Ien Ang.

    UK Case study on Engaging Black and Minority Ethnic audiences– a UK case study by Plenty Productions with findings applicable to community engagement in Australia.

    Spreading Like Bushfire – Jacob Boehme speaks out about underrepresentation, cultural responsibility and allowing First Nations voices to be heard (UK ArtsProfessional article). Jacob Boehme is a First Nations artist, collaborator and Creative Director of the YIRRAMBOI First Nations Arts Festival.

    YIRRAMBOI delegation – the Australia Council for the Arts is offering presenters and programmers an opportunity to join a delegation to the 2017 YIRRAMBOI First Nations Arts Festival.


    Community Engagement - The Basics

    Speakers:  Jade Lillie, Narelle Lewis, Denise Wilson
    This session from the 2016 APACA conference is all about community engagement.



    Getting it Right: Cultural Protocols for Presenting Work
    Speakers: Rhoda Roberts AO, Lee-Ann Buckskin, introduced by Karilyn Brown,
    Rhoda Roberts and Lee-Ann Buckskin provide advice and suggestions on how you can cultivate Indigenous cultural protocols at this session from the 2016 APACA conference.


    Showcasing Creativity - Presenting First Nations Work
    Speakers: Mandy Whitford, Jackie Bailey, Hung-Yen Yang, Lydia Miller, introduced by John Knell
    The Australia Council for the Arts presents findings from research about  programming and presenting First Nations Performing Arts at the 2016 APACA conference.


    The Australia Council will continue to build on this list of resources – watch this space.

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