INTERSECT is a British Council Australia and Diversity Arts Australia led knowledge exchange supported by Creative Victoria.
INTERSECT, a new initiative led by the British Council and Diversity Arts Australia kicked off this month. The programme aims to strengthen international connections between those who are changing whose work is seen, what is seen, how it is seen and who sees it.
Both the UK and Australia are multi-ethnic societies, but diverse voices are underrepresented in our arts and cultural sectors. INTERSECT is addressing the balance of representation on our stages, in our art galleries and on screen by focusing on programming decision makers in the arts and cultural sectors.
Six outstanding UK and Australian based curators, producers and artistic directors – Adelaide Bannerman, Jacob Boehme, Candy Bowers, Natalie Ibu, Abdul Shayek and Mikala Tai – have been selected to share their experiences, their knowledge and best practice in developing the cultural sectors in both nations.
“It’s exciting to be working with the British Council for INTERSECT, to look at how the UK and Australia can develop cultural infrastructure that is inclusive and accessible,” said 2018 participant Mikala Tai, Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in Sydney.
The three Australian participants travelled to the UK this month, where they took part in a knowledge exchange programme designed by the UK cohort. Abdul Shayek, Adelaide Bannerman and Natalie Ibu introduced the Australian visitors to their working context, key colleagues and collaborators.
During the programme, the cohort travelled to Wales to meet with key members of the creative community in Cardiff, including Rabab Ghazoul the Founder and Co-Director of Gentle/Radical whose artist-led social change organisation is dedicated to organising accessible screenings, socially-engaged arts projects, installations, performances and networking forums for the diverse community in Wales.
In London, the cohort’s meetings focussed on access to, and equality in arts programming with a diverse range of arts professionals. Meeting with Balin House Project’s Eduardo Padilha who is creating access and opportunity for his local Estate residents to experience contemporary art from his flat in Tabard Gardens North Estate; and Tobi Kyeremateng from Black Ticket Project, an initiative creating greater accessibility to the arts for young Black people.
By linking programming decision makers, INTERSECT is developing a knowledge exchange between the UK and Australia to promote best practice and greater diversity and inclusion in the arts.
“I want to connect up with other culturally diverse creative practitioners and activists to reenergise my battle cry, provide a bit of context and distance from my own sector so I can see it anew, with fresh eyes and inspiring me with other stories, perspectives and tactics”, said 2018 participant Natalie Ibu, Artistic Director and CEO of tiata fahodzi.
Throughout the programme, the INTERSECT participants also took part in a bespoke programme of one-on-one meetings to support their vision. Together they met with:
- British Council’s Head of Global Equality, Fiona Bartels-Ellis, who has been instrumental in implementing a global diversity and equality strategy;
- Clore Leadership Programme Director, Hilary Carty, who is working to strengthen cultural leadership;
- Director of Autograph ABP, Mark Sealy MBE, whose work focuses on the relationship between photography and social change, identity politics and human rights;
- Director of Connecting Dots, Nike Jonah, an advocate and consultant for diversity in creative spaces;
- Abid Hussain Arts Council England’s Director, Diversity, who is passionate about giving a voice to underrepresented communities and audiences;
- Dramaturg Ola Animashawun at the National Theatre, Euphoric Ink and Artistic Associate of the Royal Court, who has been instrumental in creating opportunities for black and minority ethnic writers;
- Founder and Artistic Director of Eclipse Theatre Company, Dawn Walton, creator of the ground-breaking Revolution Mix programme of new plays inspired by 500 years of black British history presented in regional theatres; and
- Executive Director, Deborah Williams, who through her organisation Creative Diversity Network is bringing together organisations across the UK television industry to promote, celebrate and share good practice around the diversity agenda.
The INTERSECT participants will continue to support each other over the next nine months, working together on their individual and shared goals in a peer mentoring programme. In February 2019, the participants will come together again for a knowledge exchange based in Australia.
Meet the INTERSECT Participants 2018:
- Project Manager and Curator, Adelaide Bannerman;
- Creative Director of YIRRAMBOI Festival, Jacob Boehme;
- Producer and Theatre-maker, Candy Bowers;
- Artistic Director and CEO of tiata fahodzi, Natalie Ibu;
- Artistic Director of Fio, Abdul Shayek;
- Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Mikala Tai.