Culture strengthening culture
Applications are now closed.
Applications open: 18 September 2019
Applications close: 4 November 2019 11:59pm (AEDT).
Unearthing First Nations leadership by developing different ways of knowing, being and doing. Connecting legacy between past and future generations. The Custodianship program is designed by First Nations leaders for First Nations leaders to transform sustainability in culture, practice, community and the arts.
Gathering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts leaders from across Australia, the Custodianship program transforms people. Cultural practitioners, artists and arts workers from across art forms and career levels will explore what custodianship and leadership means in diverse contexts. They will learn from self, from others and with peers. Designed by First Nations people, participants are guided by role models, cultural teachers and an Elder in Residence.
6–11 February 2020
30 January 2020
On country learning
An opportunity to learn
Across artforms, career
Engage in a diverse cohort
For more details about the program, including key dates and requirements, please see our FAQ.
The Custodianship program is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, arts workers and cultural practitioners from across art forms and Australia. The program will encourage participants who are at various stages of their careers and are ready to reflect on their skills, capabilities and what custodianship and leadership may mean to them.
The program attracts learners who are open to new ideas, able to learn in a group situation and willing to share knowledge and insights with others. Participants who have roots with their custodianship responsibilities and want to learn more about enacting a vision for their communities.
How to submit an application
You can submit your application via our online application system. If you have access requirements, please get in touch so we can assist you.
Your application should include a short introductory video, four questions responding to the selection criteria as well as your CV as support material.
- Introduce yourself, tell us where you from? Why you do what you do? And why is it important to your cultural identity? (3-minute video).
- Why would you like to join this program and why now?
- How have you explored and developed your leadership so far?
- How do you engage with diverse ways of learning and connect with others?
- How do you see your role as an advocate for the arts?
- Timeliness and relevance of the program to the applicant’s professional and cultural development.
- An active and reflective approach to leadership development.
- Ability to engage with diverse ways of learning and connecting with others.
- Commitment to the advocacy and improving the sustainability and wellbeing of the arts sector.
For more details on the selection process and Australia Council policy, please see our FAQ section
Diversity and access: Leadership program
The Australia Council encourages applications from people who identify as First Nations, from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people with disability, and people living in regional and remote areas.
We actively work with individuals to support access needs – including childcare, cultural practices, financial and/or learning access needs as required. We encourage applicants to contact us via phone or email to discuss further. Learn more about diversity in leadership.
For questions about the program, including costs, travel requirements, eligibility and our international program, please see our FAQ section.
If you can’t find an answer, please send us an email at I.email@example.com or call us toll-free on 1800 226 912.
The Custodianship Program Core Facilitator: Mark Yettica-Paulson
An Indigenous leader from the South East Queensland and North East NSW regions, Mark Yettica-Paulson is from the Birrah, Gamilaroi and Bundjalung peoples. He is the founder and Chief of Super Native Unlimited, specialising in creative and cultural leadership development. Mark brings decades of wisdom from his career in leadership development and community education across the corporate and government sectors.
Mark is currently the Deep Collaboration Lead for Collaboration for Impact, Australasia’s leading capacity building & learning network for responding to complexity through effective collaboration. He has facilitated leadership programs and advised organisations such as NAB, the AFL, Medibank Australia, Australia Post and The Foundation for Young Australians. He was Joint Campaign Director for Recognise, the recent campaign for a National Referendum to amend the Australian Constitution to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and remove discrimination.
Elder in Residence: Henrietta Marrie AM
Henrietta Marrie AM (Masters in Environmental and Local Government Law; Dip. T; Grad. Dip. of Arts [Indigenous Studies]) is an Elder of the Gimuy Walubara clan of the Yidinji people and Traditional Owner of the land on which the City of Cairns and southern suburbs are now located.
Henrietta was born in Yarrabah on her mother’s Gunggandji country and spent her early years growing up there until her family moved to Palm Island in the mid 1960s. Henrietta has wide experience in Indigenous cultural and natural resource management and impact assessment, intellectual and cultural property law, heritage legislation and philanthropy. As an academic she has published over 50 papers in books and journals. In the 1980’s and 1990s, Henrietta wrote extensively on issues related to Indigenous arts and the repatriation of cultural property from museums. She served for 6 years with the UN Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal, before becoming the Program Officer/Manager for North Australia with The Christensen Fund, a California-based private philanthropic fund, a position in which she served for nine years.
Ian RT Colless: First Nations Capacity Building Project Officer
Ian is a from the Dharabuladh (Therabluat) clan of the Gundungurra people, and a mixture of Irish and Walsh heritage. He is the Grandson of the late Aunty Dawn Colless who made many milestones, awarded the Australian Centenary Medal (a Federal award to honour people who have made a contribution to Australian society or government), and chosen to be a torchbearer for the 2000, XXVII Olympiad in the Blue Mountains.
Ian is a graduate of Newtown High School of the Performing Arts (NHSPA). He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Creative Industries. A Bachelor of Arts (1st Class Honours) from Edith Cowan University’s, Western Australian Academy of the Performing Arts (WAAPA), and a Masters of Arts from New York University’s (NYU), Steinhardt School of Culture Education and Human Development. At NYU Ian completed an Independent Study and designed a curriculum, through full-time study, coursework and participation with the American Ballet Theatre (America’s National Ballet Company) and observation of The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School (NYC).
Elverina Johnson: Residential one Co-facilitator
Elverina (Bunya Badjil – good woman) is a Kunganji Gurugulu Woman of Yarrabah on her Grandfather’s linage and Idinji Gimuy on her Grandmother’s linage. She is a direct descendant of King Menmuny of the Gunganji Nation of Yarrabah and a direct descendant of King Yinnie of Cairns. Yarrabah Aboriginal community is located 60km SE of Cairns and situated between the rainforest and the ocean with a population of over 4000 people. Elverina has been involved in the arts and creative industry for over 25 years as an artist in visual and performing arts and as a manager. She is also a performing artist in her own right and has performed as a singer for various projects including Yarrabah the Musical by Opera Australia (OA), Yarrabah Brass Band Festival by Qld Music Festival, and many more. She has been instrumental in bringing to life the history of the Yarrabah Brass Bands which became a major exhibition for the Qld Performing Arts Centre.
Linc Walker: Residential one Co-facilitator
Linc is an Eastern Kuku Yalanji descendant from the “Walker family” with traditional land connection from Pretty Beach to Annan River in Far North Queensland (QLD) Australia.
Attended Saint Augustine primary school in Mossman and Saint Augustine’s College Cairns. Linc attended university of Central Queensland in Rockhampton studying teaching and began working for the universities “Uni Rural Link project “, to increase Indigenous youth attendance at university.
Returned to Mossman and worked for Marine Parks and National Parks as a ranger. Then began writing grants to establish a Kuku Yalanji Community Marine Ranger position at the Mossman Gorge to develop the Kuku Yalanji Marine Hunting Management with a plan to protect traditional hunting rights.
Currently owner/operator in partnership of Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours P/L in Mossman QLD.
Janina Harding: Residential one Co-facilitator
Janina is a proud Meriam (Erub/Mer) woman, the first generation to be born on mainland Australia, from the Eastern Torres Strait Islands. Her mother, Eleanor Harding (nee Adelaide Pitt Nain) arrived in Melbourne 1959, determined to raise her children free and not subject to the Queensland Aboriginal Protection (and Restrictions of the Sale of Opium) Act 1897. Janina has over thirty years of experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts, through cultural projects, employment programs, public broadcasting, event management and arts management.
Janina served two terms on the Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council, as well as two
terms on the Torres Strait Islander Advisory Board for the Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and was Secretary for the Victorian
Wongai Torres Strait Islander Corporation for twenty years. From 2001- 2015,
Janina worked at the City of Melbourne, managing the Indigenous Arts Program,
where she established, curated and produced the Indigenous Film Festival Blak
Nite Cinema and the Melbourne Indigenous Arts Festival.
Carl Fourmile: Residential one Co-facilitator
Minjil means “spark from a fire.”Fire is very important in Aboriginal culture as it brings people and communities together. Artistic Director of Minjil and company owner, Carl Fourmile is a Yidinji man from the land of Gimuy in Far North Queensland (QLD).
A cultural performer, practitioner and local leader in Indigenous arts, Carl has strong roots in dance, lore and education. He is a cultural performer, ceremonial practitioner, cultural practitioner and local leader in Indigenous arts in Cairns, Far North Queensland. His passion for the arts, his people and their history extends to mentoring youth and those who want a greater connection and understanding of Aboriginal culture.
Carl has been a key facilitator in workshops, Welcome to Country ceremonies and local cultural tours for the past 15 years in Cairns (QLD) and Sydney (NSW). He is proud to be an ambassador for his people and to work with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities alike.
Our leadership programs
Creative Connections: an online learning series for the arts and creative sector
Learn. Adapt. Respond.
Creative Connections is an online webinar series for the cultural and arts sectors and will offer practical, accessible and useful content delivered by industry experts on key topics and emerging themes.
As a direct response to the current challenges faced by the arts sector, we acknowledge the isolation felt by artists and practitioners at this time, and the impact that temporary closure of many arts organisations is having on our collective wellbeing.
Watch now the recorded sessions.
What does leadership look like in 2020?
We are delighted to announce the next cohort of leaders to take part in our 2020 leadership programs. These individuals will transform their knowledge, skills and capabilities. 2020 also marks the first year of the Custodianship Program adding to our commitment to our First Nations people(s) as our cultural Elders and leaders.
Grounded in respect, generosity and listening, the programs tackle the big issues and opportunities faced by arts workers. Participants explore new ways of thinking and enact the potential of creativity for change.
The Australia Council Leadership Programs are dedicated to transforming our sector’s knowledge, skills and capabilities by supporting emerging and established leaders.
Diversity in Leadership
This information session was held in September 2019 for arts and cultural practitioners with disability to find out more about the Australia Council Leadership Program.
In this session, we hear from Future Leaders Alumni, Dan Graham, in conversation with Director of Capacity Building at Australia Council, Kevin du Preez. Dan talks about his experience of the Future Leaders Program, including what a residential looks like, how he approached the application process and where he did his secondment.
This session was developed in partnership with Accessible Arts, NSW peak arts and disability organisation.
Arts Governance program
The Arts Governance Program is a national opportunity for organisations to enhance their governance practices through a program tailored specifically to the arts. The program aims to enhance governance skills, supporting leaders to prosper and arts organisations to thrive.
The program is comprised of two components, an arts governance workshop series and webinar series, both of which are aimed at the leaders (including board members/chairs, as well as senior management and artistic staff) of small to medium arts organisations.
Unearthing First Nations leadership by developing different ways of knowing, being and doing. Connecting legacy between past and future generations. The Custodianship Program is designed by First Nations leaders for First Nations leaders to transform sustainability in culture, practice, community and the arts.
Gathering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts leaders from across Australia, the Custodianship Program transforms people. Cultural practitioners, artists and arts workers from across art forms and career levels will explore what custodianship and leadership means in diverse contexts. They will learn from self, from others and with peers. Designed by First Nations people, participants are guided by role models, cultural teachers and Elders.
Arts Leaders program
The Arts Leaders Program is designed to transform our sector’s knowledge by developing skills and capabilities of our established practitioners. The program brings together leaders from Australia and eligible Indo Pacific countries across artforms and career levels, to inspire and enhance arts leadership. The Arts Leaders Program is a personal and professional development opportunity – it will enhance your skills and capabilities, develop your networks and provide a platform for growth.
Applications are now closed.
Future Leaders program
The Future Leaders Program is designed to transform our sectors knowledge by developing skills and capabilities of our emerging practitioners. The program brings together a group of diverse leaders to engage with current and relevant themes affecting the future of the arts. Together, you will work through common challenges and opportunities faced within the sector today.
The Future Leaders Program is for emerging leaders within their first ten years’ experience in the sector. The program is open to arts leaders working independently, within organisations or the broader community.
Applications for the 2019 round are now closed.
International Leadership program (Indo-Pacific)
In partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the International Leadership Program invites applicants from nine eligible Indo-Pacific countries to apply for the Arts Leaders or Future Leaders programs in Australia.
Apply for a fully funded scholarship in one of our groundbreaking programs to transform your leadership and create impact for your organisation, practice or community.
Join colleagues from across our region to explore arts leadership through a different lens and learn through a range of experiences during your visits to Australia.
Applications for the 2019 round are now closed.
Who is the Custodianship program for?
The Custodianship program is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, arts workers and cultural practitioners from across art forms and Australia. The program will encourage participants who are at various stages of their careers and are ready to reflect on their skills, capabilities and what leadership and custodianship means to them. The program encourages learners who are open to new ideas, able to learn in a group situation and an ability to share knowledge and insights with others. Participants who have roots with their custodianship responsibilities and want to learn more about enacting a vision for their communities.