The collective aim of fostering greater cultural diversity in the arts and media will bring together artists, researchers and key policy-decision makers at this year’s Multicultural Arts Forum.
The Forum will take place on April 13 and 14 at Carriage Works in Eveleigh. It is hosted by Groundswell, a voluntary commitee run by people within the arts.
Chair and Founder of Groundswell, Annalouise Paul, said: “Having a forum is to source the information and find out what the sector wants and build an organisational structure to keep [multiculturalism] moving forward.”
Australia is known for being a cosmopolitan nation, but for Ms Paul there is very little representation of Australia’s cultural diversity within the arts today.
“Our arts and media do not reflect our contemporary society, they reflect a society that might have existed 50 years ago,” she said.
“The word ‘multiculturalism’ is a term that needs to bring us all together. We are all a part of the multicultural society.”
The event’s high profile speakers include Dr Ricardo Peach, Acting Director of Intern-Arts at the Australia Council for the Arts and Peter Mousaferiadis, Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Cultural Infusion.
Dr Peach asserts the forum “provides a great opportunity to engage with the arts sector both in NSW and nationally.”
To promote multiculturalism a different cultural mindset is a much-needed change, according to Mr Mousaferiadis. “We need to make sure the arts and culture will reflect the diverse population of Australia,” he said.
According to a recent report by the Australia Council, people born overseas in a non-English speaking country were less likely to creatively engage in the arts compared to the general population.
At the forum, Dr Peach will be speaking on the Australia Council’s strategies and initiatives targeting cultural indifference.
“[Australia Council] aims to ensure that opportunities to enjoy and participate in the arts are not constrained by an individual’s background,” he said.
Senator the Honourable Kate Lundy, who will also be speaking at this year’s forum, has stated that the government’s multicultural policy believes that “multiculturalism in Australia is about building a shared sense of nationhood forged through mutual respect and a commitment to fairness.”
Groundswell hopes attendees will leave the forum with a greater awareness of the current challenges in the industry and realise that multiculturalism should be incorporated into the mainstream arts platform.
There will be various umbrella topics at the forum, including Industry Development, Presentation Platforms & Diverse Programming, Audience Development and Arts Practice.
Groundswell is hoping to promote cultural diversity within Australian arts at the Multicultural Arts Forum 2012.
By Susan Moozar