My personal leadership views of the arts and the cultural sector in relation to First peoples and what strategies are needed for first peoples to secure and champion their own distinctive cultural futures are as follows:
There are issues impacting First Peoples within the broader sector, I understand that there are many issues and that these issues do not affect all and that this does not stop everyone. There is always exceptions to the rule. The issue I’d like to shine light on is Responsibility as artists.
When we speak of leadership views, strategies and championing our cultural future I hear Responsibility. I hear the word leaders and I no longer think as the arts as entertainment but a position.
I know that in our communities there are some positions filled by people who may not be the right person for the job. This is the case not just in the arts sector but in many sectors and organisations in our communities.
Most positions usually require for there to be a panel of people or a consensus or a vote which determine who will be the best person for the position.
As artists there is no selection criteria. No vote to see who is the best person for the job. It just comes down to whoever can do it. Does it.
Who can sing, dance, tell a yarn and don’t forget the jokes. We are the ones who can do these things. Lets make us the leaders and representatives.
We are artists and therefore we are put into positions where our voices are at times louder than most of our peoples. Having the stage to be heard when many of our people may never have that opportunity nor would many want that stage. This does not mean that they are not leaders, nor does it mean that they do not want to be heard.
I believe that we do not have the right to speak on behalf of the rest of our people without consulting with them. To do this is a cultural respect, it is an act of humility and a leadership step in the right direction.
I believe we should follow protocol. Artists could go through a process where they are introduced to the community and a request made to be accepted by community. These artists who wish to help should be those who understand and accept a role of leadership.
You know that there’s responsibility that lies on our shoulders as artists to be telling a story that represents our people, when we get asked to answer questions like identify opportunities for First Peoples to chart our own cultural futures.
or what are strategies that need to be employed,
Before we answer those questions I believe that we need to answer this question first: What are the leadership capabilities required. My answer to this question is: A leader who can be moved not only by communitarian goals but also by the search for personal growth.
There must be a commitment to help those of us who cannot help themselves.
We have the space to do it. We have the time. It is truly up to us.