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Rupert Myer – 2014 Accelerate

Speeches and Opinions
Sep 08, 2014

Rupert Myer AM, Chair of the Australia Council, 2014 ACCELERATE Announcement Event, Thursday 4 September 2014.

Thank you Helen and on behalf of the Australia Council I congratulate you on your recent appointment as Country Director of the British Council Australia.

Thank you to Aunty Carolyn Briggs for performing the Welcome to Country.

I would also like to pay my respects to the Elders both past and present of the Eora Nation and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders present today.

Ladies and gentlemen, since 2009 the Australia Council has been very pleased to partner with the British Council in the delivery of ACCELERATE – a tailored leadership programme for outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and leaders in creative industries.

The program marries cultural ambition with the professional skills and support networks needed to achieve bold creative visions.

It invests in our emerging leaders – providing invaluable mentoring and leadership resources to help them to realise the full extent of their skills and capacities.

ACCELERATE has already empowered alumni who are shaping our cultural future as we speak.

People like Peter White and Tina Baum who are not only working internationally but who support each other and the emerging leaders that we are here to announce and celebrate today.

They have and will become the voices that challenge us, imagine and create our future and provide us with new cultural perspectives.

What is particularly pleasing from an Australia Council perspective is the that the ACCELERATE program in its fostering and support role for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership – so strongly represents the four priority goals of our new strategic plan:

Australian arts are without borders

Australia is known for great art and artists

The arts enrich daily life for all; and

Australian cherish Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and cultures.

Our rich heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists working regionally and internationally appreciated by so many in so many forums are a true embodiment of these goals.

Investing in our future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders is vital to our creative future and the continuation and evolution of this tradition.

As a result I am very pleased to announce the extension of funding support from the Australia Council – a total of $355,700 over three years – for the ACCELERATE program to deliver in three areas:

An international leadership symposium in 2015 and 2016, led by ACCELERATE Alumni, that includes Indigenous arts leaders from other First Nations. This will open up the conversation on what ‘leadership’ means to a wider public. It will place Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and arts managers at the centre of this [in a time when traditional modes of Western leadership are being tested.]

Financial support for ACCELERATE alumni to continue artistic collaboration with the UK because, as we know, leadership through artistic practice is immensely powerful and cuts across international borders; and

Increased support for mentors and leadership development for ACCELERATE participants to foster leadership.

I congratulate this year’s ACCELERATE program recipients – our future cultural and civic leaders – and very much look forward to the directions your ambitions take us in.

Thank you.