Australia’s most culturally diverse state – WA – will be the focus of a new $600,000 multicultural arts initiative to be launched as part of Harmony Week in Perth today.
The Multicultural Arts Marketing Ambassadors Strategy (MAMAS) is a program that will enable arts organisations to reach out to and engage culturally diverse communities. It is co-funded by the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body, and the West Australian Department of Culture and the Arts.
The 12-week professional development initiative includes seminars and research presentations by expert speakers and provides arts organisations with in-depth knowledge and tips on how to make their programming and marketing more culturally inclusive.
Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests, the Hon Margaret Quirk MLA, who will launch the program today, said MAMAS reflected the government’s commitment to make Western Australia a better place to live by promoting diversity, developing skills and encouraging innovation.
‘The arts contribute to the development of a young community like ours, helping to shape our sense of identity and reflect on what makes us distinctly Western Australian.’
Chair of the Australia Council’s Multicultural Advisory Committee, Nicky Downer, said the promotion of culturally diverse arts is one of the Australia Council’s highest priorities.
‘The Australia Council for the Arts sees this is an important time for cross cultural dialogue in Australia and is keen to explore the widely acknowledged potential of the arts to build and maintain social harmony.
‘The arts provides opportunities for cultural expression that increase understanding between community groups and play a positive role in encouraging social cohesion,’ Mrs Downer said.
Western Australia has the highest proportion of people born overseas of all the states and territories. Almost half a million Western Australians or more than a quarter of the State’s population were born overseas.
‘The dynamic population growth and excellence of artistic expression across the state are key reasons for the initiative being developed and rolled out in WA ahead of the eastern states,’ Mrs Downer said.
The Australian Institute of Management and the University of Western Australia’s Integral Leadership Centre will deliver the program, which will commence in the second half of 2006.
The launch will take place at the Perth Concert Hall at 11am on 16 March 2006.