Our work

Please note this list is intended to provide a summary of the Childers Group activities to-date, and is not a complete list of all the work we do.

2017

  • A Disappointing end to 2016 The announcement (five days before Christmas) of a 66% reduction in 2017 Project Funding for arts projects rocked the arts community. An extensive advocacy program resulted. Michael Sollis (convenor) along with 40 artists and members of the Childers Group met at the Street Theatre on 22nd December and arranged a delegation to meet with the Minister. Coming out of that meeting a letter signed by 60 independent artists was sent to Minister Ramsay.
  • The Childers Group also wrote to Minister Ramsay and the Chief Minister. In it we said “The Childers group believes it is essential that individual artists and groups continue to receive an appropriate level of ACT Government funding if we are to see innovative, professional and engaging arts flourish in, and add considerable value to, Australia’s national capital. This reduction in funding is unfathomable and unwise. It runs counter to all the positive goals the government is striving for in our region. Please consider an urgent review of this decision.
  • A Positive outcome to the Funding cut : The Childers Group met with the Minister in late January and overall it was a constructive meeting. Many issues were covered. He made a strong commitment to honour the Labor election promises, so we can expect to see the $750k in this year’s budget. On the 1st February the Minister announced a further $230,000 had been allocated to the Project Funding Round. There is no doubt that the action taken by the ACT Arts Community has led to this outcome. We congratulate all those concerned. Also congratulations to Minister Ramsay for making this positive step forward in his new portfolio.
  • As part of our general arts advocacy program for this year the Childers Group is planning to meet with all the new Assembly MLA’s over the first half of this year. We have had positive meetings already with Vicki Dunne ( Liberal ) and Caroline Le Couteur ( Greens), Alistair Coe ( Liberal Opposition Leader), Tara Cheyne, Suzanne Orr, Bec Cody, Michael Petterson, Chris Steel ( Labor ), Andrew Leigh ( Federal Labor) and Katy Gallagher ( Federal Labor)
  • In June members of the Childers Group appeared before the ACT Assembly Budget Estimates Committee. Our budget submission can be seen at : http://www.childersgroup.com.au/act-budget-submission-what-we-think-should-happen-in-2016-2017/
  • In July in conjunction with the Cultural Facilities Corporation we held a very successful Arts Value Forum. Over 100 attendees heard inspiring talks from some of our local and national Arts Leaders.
  • The work by the Childers Group will continue as no doubt, will the strong advocacy of independent artists and arts workers across the ACT and our region.

2016

  • As 2016 was an Election year the Childers Group held a very successful Election Forum at Gorman House in February. Representative from all major parties attended.
  • The Childers Group lodged its Budget Submission for 2016-2017.
  • The Childers Group had put together an analysis of the past 12 years of arts grants in the ACT and the trends within different funding types. This analysis shows that over this time stretching over three full electoral cycles, there has been a significant decline in ACT arts grants on a per capita basis, and as a proportion of funds available to Government. This analysis is drawn from over 1,500 grant entries in ACT Government annual reports, copied and sorted by grant type. The full analysis and notes are available for download in excel format here– we invite any corrections or further contributions, comments below, or contact us on childersgroup@gmail.com or through Facebook. On Friday 17 June, Childers Group members Jack Lloyd and Michael White appeared in front of the ACT Legislative Assembly Select Committee on Estimates 2016-17 to deliver this analysis. We have requested an immediate increase of $500,000 in new funding to the project grant round to arrest the significant decline in this area, and we urge the ACT Government and all parties seeking representation in the Assembly in the 2016 Election to commit to a restoration of arts grant funds to previous effective levels.
  • In October, The Childers Group coordinator, Jack Lloyd, posed 5 questions to 3 of the potential candidates for the Arts portfolio in the ACT Election. Their responses are available for viewing on our public Facebook page.
  • Throughout the year the Childers Group continued to advocate on behalf of the Arts on a local and national level.

2015:

  • advocacy to the Australian Government and Federal Opposition about the budget cuts to the arts and the proposed ‘National Programme for Excellence in the Arts’ and the implications for the broader sector
  • participation in the ACT Government’s Arts Policy Review Reference Group, and we are continuing to advocate for importance of this review including consultations with the arts community in general as well as the broader community
  • advocacy to the ACT Government about opportunities for cultural tourism in the ‘CBR Region’
  • advocacy to the ACT Government about the importance of ‘arts service organisations’
  • two networking forums held

2014:

  • we held our fourth public forum, ‘Arts Leadership 2015’, in partnership with the Cultural Facilities Corporation – with a wide range of presenters and well over 100 participants engaged across an afternoon and evening, this was our biggest forum to-date
  • collaborated with the Cultural Facilities Corporation on ‘The Board Launch and Conversation’, with author, arts strategist and board expert David Fishel; and Director, National Museum of Australia Dr Mathew Trinca, as well as collaborated on the accompanying board workshop
  • prepared advocacy about the Australian Government’s Budget 2014/2015 and the missed opportunities/negative consequences for the arts
  • advocated for the ACT Book of the Year award to continue to include writers who live in regional NSW communities and can demonstrate a contribution to the ACT
  • provided a submission on the 2015/2016 ACT Budget consultation process, advocating for a range of policy ideas and actions, and presented this material through the Estimates process, ACT Legislative Assembly
  • met with the board of the Cultural Facilities Corporation

2013:

  • held our third forum, ‘The Role of the Arts Critic’, Gorman House Arts Centre, attended by 85 people
  • provided a submission to the NSW Government’s development of its arts and cultural policy, advocating for a range of policy ideas and actions
  • provided a submission on the 2014/2015 ACT Budget consultation process, advocating for a range of policy ideas and actions
  • advocacy for the retention of the ACT Book of the Year Award
  • published an article with ArtsHub about the importance of arts advocacy in the lead-up to the 2013 federal election
  • met with the ACT Government regarding the importance of arts and cultural tourism

2012:

  • held our second forum, which provided an opportunity for the three main political parties in the ACT to present their respective arts policies, with questions from the various art-form sectors; held at the Canberra Museum and Gallery
  • advocated for Writing Australia to continue to have its headquarters in the ACT, including through correspondence to the Australia Council for the arts and the ACT Cultural Council
  • provided a submission on the 2012/2013 ACT Budget consultation process, advocating for a range of policy ideas and actions
  • provided a submission on artsACT’s draft Arts Policy Framework
  • held our first forum, ‘Burning Issues and Radical Ideas’, which was attended by approximately 150 people, including Robyn Archer, Creative Director of the Centenary of Canberra, and two members of the ACT Legislative Assembly; held at the Street Theatre
  • wrote a 1200-word opinion piece highlighting the importance of celebrating the ACT region’s artistic and cultural achievements, which was published by The Canberra Times in May 2012
  • released our ‘Vision for the Kingston Arts Precinct’ document
  • advocated for the ACT Government’s new Events ACT website to make reference to all art-forms
  • meetings with the board of the Cultural Facilities Corporation and the Canberra Business Council’s Small Business Taskforce
  • met with The Canberra Times about the importance of employing professional arts journalists, including retention of the literary editor position
  • released our ‘Six Key Opportunities for the ACT region’ document, which included the Kingston Arts Precinct, the ANU School of Music, a dance hub, arts-in-education including an ACT-wide poetry slam program, and a world-class artist-in-residence program
  • twice met with MLAs representing the three main political parties in the ACT in the lead-up to the 2012 ACT Legislative Assembly election
  • advocated for the appropriate and sustainable funding of fine-art courses provided through NSW TAFE
  • distributed a variety of media releases, including on Geoffrey Rush being named Australian of the Year and Caroline Stacey being named ACT Artist of the Year

2011:

  • announced the formation of the Childers Group
  • various media interviews about the announcement

Ongoing:

  • meetings with a range of ACT Legislative Assembly members about the arts
  • various communications and updates via Facebook and Twitter
  • our members also write arts-related articles for various publications, including the Canberra Times (and related Fairfax Media newspapers) and ArtsHub.

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