Our work aims to strengthen the Australian arts and cultural sector’s international engagement, reputation, vital relationships and collaborations; and expand international opportunities for Australian artists through initiatives that support connection and engagement without physical mobility.
- To support a diverse and inclusive global art making practice that actively prioritises First Nations, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD), disability, ageing and young people-focused practices.
- To build capacity and increase growth for Australian arts in established markets, while responding to emerging trends, inter-regional relationships and new markets.
- To build the capacity of the Australian arts sector to engage and participate internationally.
- To showcase Australian art and artists internationally and here in Australia to international taste makers.
- To provide opportunities for cultural exchange, skills and creative development within a global context.
Our International Arts Strategy
The Australia Council is the leading public funder of international arts and cultural activity in Australia, investing in international mobility and exchange through strategic and grants programs for over 30 years. Our investment over the long-term has strengthened the financial stability and artistic development of the arts and cultural sector and contributed to Australia’s reputation as a sophisticated and creative nation with a confident, outward-looking and future focused arts sector.
A post-COVID-19 environment requires significant reconsideration of what international engagement looks like. The International Art Strategy 2015-2020 has been retired and will be replaced with a new strategy incorporating international engagement, mobility and exchange. See our international announcement from August 2020 for further information.
Artists and organisations seeking funding for viable international engagement can apply to the Arts Projects grant categories closing Tuesday 2 March 2021 for projects starting after 1 June 2021.
A program of engagement without physical mobility will be implemented in the interim to support artists and organisations to stay connected, ensuring the continuation of vital relationships, collaborations and influence with peers, that in turn lead to future opportunities for Australian artists. Over 2020-2021 our work will focus on:
- Supporting the arts sector to continue connections through market intelligence, digital peer-to-peer exchange, activating partnerships, and testing and supporting hybrid models for collaboration and reaching audiences and influencers.
- Maintenance of a small number of contracted international initiatives and sunsetting initiatives that will not carry forward into the next phase of the International Arts Strategy.
- Delivery of Venice Biennale project including activation of supporting professional development program (development year).
- Evaluation of the International Arts Strategy 2015 – 2020.
- Transitioning strategic international investment into a holistic program of engagement with the Sector Development team.
- Going beyond a regional focus and identifying umbrella priorities for international engagement, mobility and exchange aligned with Sector Development priorities and Council’s Corporate Plan. For example: our neighbourhood (Asia Pacific); First Nations first; Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people (CaLD); people with disability; children and young people; and regional and remote artists and audiences for Australian work.
- Research and development of the next phase of the International Arts Strategy within the Sector Development framework and in consultation with the sector.
Australian artists reach audiences in Japan, through remote instruction and collaboration
The 7th Yokohama Triennale Afterglow was the first major international contemporary art exhibition to launch following the outbreak of the global pandemic, opening its doors to Japanese audiences in July, shortly after the re-opening of the Biennale of Sydney, NIRIN in June.
As Sydney audiences learnt about Sinuye, the traditional tattooing practice for Ainu women through the work of Hokkaido-based artist Mayunkiki in NIRIN, in Yokohama, Brisbane-based artist Robert Andrew’s kinetic installation A Connective Reveal–Nagula (2020) draws attention to the importance of the revival of First Nations languages.
Image caption: Make or Break, Care for Bridges, 2020, Installation view of Yokohama Triennale 2020. ©Make or Break. Photo: Otsuka Keita. Photo courtesy of the organising committee for the Yokohama Triennale.
Looking back to look forward: Jacob Boehme
In this bonus episode we chat with First Nations artist, curator and writer Jacob Boehme. Jacob has worked across North America, Europe, North Asia, South East Asia and South Asia, and we chat to Jacob on the wisdom of ancestors and elders on country, the need for intergenerational processes and taking a deep pause so we can learn from the long history of this land in catalysing alternate futures.
Image credit: image courtesy of the artist.
Audiences Won't Forget Us - Kamini Ramachandran
As a storyteller, Kamini Ramachandran's tools of trade are her voice, her body and her vast knowledge of oral traditions from Southeast Asia.
In this strange new world we live in today, she finds that she and her other artists friends have to adapt their practices, but yet, solidarity and support for one another never waver.
Kamini talks about how she keeps her audiences engaged and making sure that they don't forget the arts.
Image credit: In Search of the Gelam Tree. Credit: Arts House Limited.
Things will have to wait: Judith Hamann & James Batchelor
What does it mean to be under a stay at home order when you’re far from home? In this podcast we speak to two international artists, dancer and choreographer, James Batchelor, and composer and musician, Judith Hamann.
Both artists in residence, James speaks from lockdown at the Cité internationale des arts in Paris and Judith calls in from Helsinki International Artist Programme (HIAP), located on a small island 20 minutes from the city.
Embarking on their respective residencies at the beginning of March, each artist experienced a swift and dramatic change of circumstance. Here they discuss the gap between their original ambitions – for live performance, for choirs and collaboration, for networking and sightseeing – and their new, circumscribed reality. Connection is still possible, “thank God for Wi-Fi”, but we might observe that isolation breeds introspection. Is there something almost utopian about a residency truly cut off in space and time? What conditions for creation can be maintained in isolation, and what will have to wait?
Image credit: Judith Hamann
It’s a little early: Elena Knox
For Tokyo-based Elena Knox, an artist who in recent years has sustained her creative practice exhibiting internationally, what is the way forward from here?
Across her music, performance, video and installation work, Elena has worked with other artists, science labs and premier cultural institutions, including Mori Art Museum, Tokyo and the upcoming Yokohama Triennale, AFTERGLOW, curated by Raqs Media Collective, set to open in July.
It might be a little early to tell, but art with technology - Elena’s longstanding area of inquiry - will play an important role moving forward. Meanwhile, the current pause in presentation commitments offers space to reflect on the realities of living and working as an ‘outsider’ in Japan, and a timely appreciation of the small gatherings that the Tokyo music and art scenes have always approached with integrity.
Featured in this episode is Elena Knox’s music, as part of electric pop duo Actual Russian Brides, This Haus. Courtesy Brigade Music Berlin
Image credit: Elena Knox, Comfortable and Alive, 2014, video still. Courtesy the artist.
Showing up for each other: Samara Hersch
Listen as Samara Hersch asks and answers questions about the difference between digital and live experiences, the way time moves on the web and how we can keep showing up for each other during this time.
Theatre-maker Samara Hersch was pitching her work We all know what’s happening made with collaborator and friend Lara Thoms at the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) in February this year. Samara had flown in from Amsterdam, where she now lives, for her first ever APAM pitch. En route back, she was to make a pitstop at Singapore to work with The Theatre Practice and facilitate conversations with young people there as part of her ongoing work Body of knowledge, supported by Australia Council and the National Arts Council, Singapore. Alas, COVID-19 hit, borders closed, flights halted and Samara is currently stuck in Melbourne. She shares how she facilitated the conversation with young people anyway, from her bedroom!
Image credit: Samara Hersch, We all know what's happening. Credit: Byrony Jackson
Looking horizontally: Rainbow Chan
Hear tips from artist Rainbow Chan, about the importance of listening to the room, slowing down, and looking horizontally – as strategies for both working interculturally, and getting through this global crisis.
This Hong Kong spring, interdisciplinary artist Rainbow Chan was supposed to be on residency at West Kowloon Cultural District, an exchange with Performance Space, and at Art Central Hong Kong, presented by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. She would have been developing work in collaboration with her Weitou elders, sharing their folksongs and female narratives, as one of Hong Kong’s first peoples. With national borders now closed, and generations physically isolating from each other, Rainbow is at home in Sydney, making music for her audiences online, and writing about counterfeit cultures (real fakes and fake reals).
Image credit: Rainbow Chan, Pillar (2019) digital and vinyl LP. Written, recorded and produced by Rainbow Chan. Photo by Hyun Lee. Cover design by Craig Stubbs-Race. Image courtesy of the artist.
The Future is Now: Jeff Khan & Ron Berry
Join two of the world’s leading performing arts curators for reflections on the creation of Fusebox Festival 2020: Virtual Edition (April 24-26).
Ron Berry from Fusebox Festival (Austin, Texas) invited Jeff Khan from Performance Space (Sydney) to collaborate on a program of work for his renowned annual arts festival. Three years of dialogue and exchange would culminate in a showcase of experimental works by Australian and Asia-Pacific artists in the upcoming festival in April 2020. However, due to the impacts of COVID-19, it became clear just one month out that an in-person, live version would not be possible. Would they cancel, postpone, or perhaps re-imagine and re-design a wholly new online version?
Image credit: Guadalupe Maravilla, Fusebox Festival 2017. Credit: Christopher Shea