The Childers Group, the only arts advocacy body for the ACT region, has joined ArtsPeak, the confederation of Australian peak arts organisations. This is an exciting opportunity for us. Since our establishment in 2011 we have found our feet and started to have a real impact on the development of the arts and cultural life of our region. However, joining ArtsPeak enables us to situate our advocacy in a broader national context.
The membership of ArtsPeak includes 30 key advocacy organisations, including the National Association for the Visual Arts, Regional Arts Australia, Ausdance, Young People and the Arts Australia – and now the Childers Group.
Joining ArtsPeak gives our advocacy a certain gravitas. This is particularly important as the ACT and region is currently celebrating significant milestones, including the Centenary of Canberra. The Childers Group is already starting to think about what happens next in our region and we’re thrilled to now be in a position to bounce ideas off our ArtsPeak colleagues and be a part of a connected, informed and energised national arts advocacy movement.
ArtsPeak’s priorities for the immediate future are:
- a long-term cultural framework and the necessity for adventurous arts policies that emphasise cross-departmental support for arts and culture – this will need a much greater funding commitment to sustain and grow arts infrastructure and to support the intrinsic and economic contribution of artists.
- the viability of creative practitioners’ careers with appropriate professional development and lifelong skills that contribute to the economic and cultural life of the community, with fair payment and ethical conditions supported by appropriate legislation and regulation.
- the importance of a good arts education from early childhood through school and into higher education, anticipated by the introduction of the Australian Curriculum for the Arts in 2014 – TAFE cuts to arts training and the gradual contraction of arts education options in universities are of major concern.
- greater need for better recognition of and support for the diversity of the arts, including Australia’s unique Indigenous culture, multicultural communities and people with disability across urban, regional and remote Australia – the importance of international engagement and exchange is strongly advocated.
- maintenance of the arm’s length and peer-assessment principles in the restructure of the Australia Council, and greater flexibility and responsiveness to developments in the arts sector – ArtsPeak strongly argues that art form expertise should be maintained.