The Hon Simon Crean MP
Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government
Minister for the Arts
UNESCO AND AUSTRALIA COUNCIL SIGN MOU FOR THE ASIA-PACIFIC
Arts Minister Simon Crean today welcomed a new agreement between the Australia Council and the United Nations to promote cultural diversity across the Asia-Pacific.
Mr Crean said the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) regional bureau in Bangkok will support the cultural exchange objectives of the recently released Australia in the Asian Century White Paper.
The MOU will build on strong cultural links that already exist with our Asia-Pacific neighbours by supporting new international collaborations between artists, partnerships and research, Mr Crean said.
Relationships built on cultural understanding and a shared appreciation of the arts and creativity are the basis for building economic, political, security and trade links and outcomes.
The memorandum will assist in the implementation of UNESCO’s 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression signed by Australia in 2009.
Australia is proud to be a signatory to an international agreement that seeks to ensure artists and citizens worldwide can create, produce, disseminate and enjoy a broad range of cultural goods, services and activities, Mr Crean said.
I applaud the Australia Council on this highly significant agreement, Mr Crean said.
Mr Rupert Myer, Chair of the Australia Council, said the agreement is a significant milestone, providing Australian artists and cultural leaders with a platform to collaborate with and support the work of the UNESCO in Asia.
We’re excited about the opportunities that will emerge from this partnership with the global body responsible for culture. We see this engagement as part of the Australia Council’s ongoing efforts to deepen cultural interconnections across our region, Mr Myer said.
The first project under the MOU is the Diversity of Cultural Expression Project in partnership with the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) at the University of Western Sydney and UNESCO Bangkok.
The project will research, analyse and promote up to six significant Australia Council funded projects exploring the intersection of diverse cultural expressions across a range of art forms and practices.
This opportunity allows Australian researchers and artists to be at the forefront of the debate on cultural diversity under the 2005 UNESCO Convention. We at the ICS look forward to understanding the dynamics of how critically acclaimed culturally diverse artworks are created in Australia, said Professor Ien Ang, Director of ICS at the University of Western Sydney.
The Australia Council supports the creation, presentation and appreciation of distinctive cultural works by providing assistance to Australian artists and making their works accessible to the public.