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The Australia Council for the Arts welcomes today’s release of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, by the Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the Lowy Institute.

The paper calls on all Australians to boost their understanding of our region’s history, culture and customs and urges a boost for Asian languages in Australia’s schools and universities. It lays out a series of pathways for Australian arts, artists and cultural institutions to play a pivotal role in building our relationships and networks across our region.

“The Australia Council’s engagement with Asia must increasingly build deep cultural interconnections between our nation and our neighbours,” says Rupert Myer, Chair of the Australia Council. “It is our view that the presence of Australian arts in Asia is a compelling sometimes underutilised asset that makes a substantial contribution to strengthening Australia’s economic, political and cultural objectives.”

“The Australia Council works to build strong two way relationships over the long term ­- the Council’s relationships across the incredibly diverse region of Asia require sustained effort and investment,” says Rupert. “More and more, Australian artists are working with peers in Asia and we envisage new artistic collaborations and experiences.”

The foundations have been well laid for the exchanges of artistic and cultural traditions between Australian and Asian artists and organisations, bolstered by investments in touring and artist residencies by the Australia Council and Asialink Arts among other agencies.

Australia’s artists and arts companies – across the performing arts, visual arts and literature – have made strong inroads into the region’s cultural markets and have developed an impressive network of relationships.

Kathy Keele, CEO of the Australia Council says, “The opportunities for the arts and culture in Asia are not only for immediate market-driven outcomes but also enduring relationships grounded on reciprocity, cultural exchange and a sharing of aesthetic traditions and practices.”

“We welcome Arts Minister Crean’s initiatives to lead even closer collaboration between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australia International Cultural Council, Screen Australia and other agencies to ensure we have a coordinated, highly visible impact across our region,” says Kathy.

Rupert Myer concludes, “Australia’s arts and cultural sector will continue to deepen its connections with Asia’s arts communities and audiences, and its large and expanding market. With established in-roads and growing expertise, the Australia Council welcomes the Government’s focus on Asia and stands ready to contribute to the nation’s objectives in the Asian Century.”

The Asian Century White Paper is available at:

Media contacts

Brendan Wall
02 9215 9166 | 0427 689 910

Cameron Woods
02 9215 9030 | 0412 686 548



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