2020 : What a year and forward into 2021: Childers Group Report

2020 will no doubt go down as one of the most difficult for Canberra and Region arts workers. Covid-19 virtually closed down our sector locally and nationally. Many lost not only their “arts jobs” but also their “other jobs” they might work in to help pay the bills.

Canberra Artists Action Group (CAAG) reformed during this period and weekly zoom meetings were held to give advice and assistance to artsworkers. This was extremely helpful for the sector and Childers members played an active role in those meetings.

Childers also lobbied and advocated for the arts to our local ACT Arts Minister, our federal local politicians and took part in national meetings of various arts advocacy bodies. One of the best outcomes was the introduction of the Homefront Arts Grants ($500k) by the ACT Government and the Arts Minister. ACT was one of the first governments to produce an arts rescue package as part of their overall economic plan ($1.5million) and for that quick response the sector was extremely grateful. They also offered considerable support to our Key Arts Organisations. Childers would also like to thank staff at artsACT for all the fantastic work they did during 2020.

In the lead up to the ACT election Childers Group organised its traditional arts election forum. We have done this for the past 3 elections. It was held via Zoom and was extremely well attended ( over 100 people ) and gave members of Labor, the Greens and Canberra Liberals an opportunity to propose their election platforms.

As a result of the election, the Arts Minister for the previous Assembly, Gordon Ramsay was not re-elected. Childers believes that Gordon did a fantastic job in his arts portfolio and we will miss our regular meetings with him. We thank him for his service and for his strong advocacy for the arts over the past 4 years.

We welcome new Arts Minister Tara Cheyne and look forward to building a strong relationship with her. ( We have already met with her in early December and had a very positive meeting.)

Childers has already begun our advocacy work with the new assembly members and have had meetings with Jo Clay and Jonathan Davis (Greens), Nicole Lawder (Shadow Arts Minister), Mark Parton and Peter Cain ( Canberra Liberals ) and Michael Pettersson (Labor). Our advocacy plan for the first part of 2021 is to meet with all the new Assembly members.

Childers will also continue advocacy with our Federal Parliamentary members. There is a desperate need to develop a National Cultural Policy.

Childers is also planning an arts forum this year in conjunction with the Cultural Facilities Corporation. More on that to come.

Many challenges lie ahead for the arts sector as we slowly emerge from Covid19. If anyone has thoughts, ideas, suggestions then please contact Childers on :