Joshua Allen: Future Leaders Program

    15 March 2019

    Leadership in the arts should first and foremost be connected to empowering culturally diverse and First Nations communities and that means creating significant change within our arts sector.

    Josh is a producer and writer working in contemporary performance as a queer person of colour. He develops new work while prioritising diversity and accessibility across art forms.

      

    What attracted you to the Leadership Program?

    I’m tired of waiting for change, and for a long time I’ve wanted the skills and acknowledgment from arts and cultural gatekeepers to give me a seat at the table. It’s only more recently that I realise what I actually want is the support to galvanise my own communities and the ability to create new opportunities and spaces for underrepresented artists.

    I’ve mostly learned about leadership in an informal way, by forging an early-career in the arts as a marketer and infiltrating arts organisations and learning how decisions are made. I’ve seen, again and again, artists and audiences from similar backgrounds participating in the arts. While most of our arts and cultural institutions continue to fail at diversity and access, the Future Leaders Program is a significant opportunity for me at a burgeoning stage in my career to develop my own artistic and leadership frameworks.

    What does leadership in the arts mean to you?

    Leadership in the arts should first and foremost be connected to empowering culturally diverse and First Nations communities and that means creating significant change within our arts sector. A priority of arts leadership should be facilitating decolonisation through community consultation and disrupting what’s already been done before. How can we decentre whiteness and colonial ways of working? We should have some active responses by now in 2019.

    In a nutshell, leaders should be interrogating the governance structures of our arts sector, be actively involved in audience development plans, and be building the capacity of the next generation of artists.

    Why do you think it is important to develop Arts Leaders?

    We’re in a politically, socially and environmentally unstable era – and I feel that those leading our arts sector are slow to critique and respond to the challenges younger generations are facing. It's crucial that we nurture the next generation while learning from our mistakes and understanding the wider context of our nation's brutal history. I think young people are more aware of this than previous generations.

    If we don't nurture young, culturally diverse and First Nations leaders going forward, I wouldn't be surprised if audience numbers at our arts and cultural institutions drastically decrease over the next several years.

    Learn more about the Future Leaders Program.
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