This Wednesday at The Street Theatre, from 5pm-7:30pm, the inaugural Childers Group Forum kicks off, providing a chance for all concerned members of the arts community such as yourselves to express your thoughts and opinions on Canberra’s arts scene as it is now, and offer ideas for its future. Yes there will be guest speakers and performers, but rather than a Q&A style set up, audience members can join panellists on stage and add their voice. To RSVP, call The Street Theatre 6247 1223. Confirmed audience members already indicate a jolly evening will be enjoyed. And yes, it is free.
The forum will be facilitated by ABC Radio’s Genevieve Jacobs, and will have Centenary of Canberra Director Robyn Archer, Liberal Shadow Minister for the Arts Vicki Dunne, Greens Spokesperson for Arts and Heritage Caroline Le Couteur, You Are Here Artistic Director Yolande Norris, Childers Group Spokesperson David Williams and a performance by poet/MC/author Omar Musa.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Childers Group, here’s a brief spiel. In November 2011 concerned ACT region arts leaders formed a new voice for the arts: the Childers Group – An Independent Arts Forum. The Childers Group’s advocacy is based on the principles of independence, objectivity, valuing the arts, and pride in Australia’s national capital city and the region that surrounds it. It’s committed to the long-term viability and vitality of the arts. A key part of its role is advocating support for the arts to governments at all levels, and to engage with the private sector, educators, the media and the broader community about the value of the arts and their role in the cultural sector. For more information you can head to www.childersgroups.com.au
The Childers Group gave us a rundown on how the night will work:
“The forum will be driven by a key question: In terms of the arts in the ACT region, what is your one burning issue and what is your one radical idea?
The Street Theatre will be set-up as a conversation pit with members of the public able to come and literally sit on the panel to give their five minute talk. The forum will be about what we can all do to further enliven the creativity of this region; it is not just about what the government can do. Whether you’re an artist, an audience member, a supporter, a philanthropist, a public servant, we all have a role to play; all issues are important, and all ideas are valid. We want a vibrant, brave discussion, but please be respectful of each other and the views expressed.
The conservation will be broken into five 20-minute blocks.
In each block, Genevieve will ask one of our five special guests to share their burning issue and radical idea – he/she will have five minutes maximum.
There will then be 15 minutes for the rest of those sitting at the table to either respond to the issue/idea raised, or to raise their own issue or idea.
At the end of the 15 minutes, Genevieve will ask for the general participants at the table to get up and make way for a new group of general participants.
You don’t have to join the table if you don’t want to, but the only way to engage with the conversation is to do so – Genevieve will not be taking questions from the floor.
Childers Group members will be recording the key points raised on the whiteboards. The notes will be typed up and made available via the Childers Group website and forwarded to policy-makers – government and otherwise. Above all, let’s have fun with this!”
Those details again:
DATE: Wednesday 18 April 2012
TIME: 5pm for a 5.30pm start/7.30pm finish
VENUE: The Street Theatre, 15 Childers Street, Canberra City
TO RSVP: Call 6247 1223
BIOS NOTES FOR THE SPECIAL GUESTS:
Robyn Archer AO
Robyn Archer AO is a singer, writer, director, artistic director, and public advocate of the arts, mainly in Australia though her reach is global. Many fans remember her from her stage successes; some know her only as one of the world's foremost exponents of German cabaret songs. She is known for her own writing, including political songs. Those who are just getting to know Robyn Archer may have only seen her as Artistic Director of arts festivals. Robyn Archer is one very energetic woman who still doing all the above and more, including – most importantly for us – being the Creative Director of the Centenary of Canberra.
Vicki Dunne MLA
Vicki is Shadow Minister for the Arts and Member for Ginninderra. Vicki was born in Lismore, NSW, and can trace her heritage back to the pioneering Italian families that settled near Lismore in the 1880s. For many years Vicki has been committed and active in community affairs. She has been involved in community radio for over thirty years, a commitment she keeps to this day as a weekend presenter for Canberra's Radio for the Print Handicapped, 1RPH.
Yolande Norris is an independent curator, writer, art school survivor and Canberra tragic. She has worked for the National Gallery of Australia and the Canberra Contemporary Art Space, was editor of BMA Magazine’s Exhibitionist, and now comments intermittently about the arts in Canberra at her blog Useless Lines. Currently, Yolande is co-director of Critical Animals, a creative research symposium taking place in Newcastle as a part of This Is Not Art, is on the board of CAPO (the Contemporary Arts Patrons Organisation) and is a co-producer of You Are Here, an annual cross-arts festival commissioned by the Centenary of Canberra.
Caroline Le Couteur MLA
Caroline is a member of the ACT Assembly and is the Greens’ spokesperson for the arts. Caroline has a long history of community involvement in environmental and social issues, including 17 years on the national council of the Australian Conservation Foundation. She grew up in Canberra and completed an economics degree at ANU. While living in northern NSW she was involved campaigns to save the local rainforest and worked to establish a community preschool and primary school. Since her return to Canberra 25 years ago, Caroline has worked in IT and renewable energy policy. From 1991 until her election, she was a director at Australian Ethical Investment.
Musa is a rapper, spoken-word performer, and poet, formerly of Queanbeyan but he now calls Melbourne home. In 2008 he won the Australian Poetry Slam in 2008 and in 2007 the British Council’s Realise Your Dream award. While living in London in 2008 he recorded with award-winning British rapper Akala. His first hip-hop record, The Massive EP, recorded in Seattle, was released in 2009 to critical acclaim. He has been a featured guest at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali, Singapore Writers Festival and the Sydney Writers Festival, as well as touring in Germany, Indonesia and around Australia. He also published his first book of poetry, The Clocks, in 2009, and has worked as an actor for the Bell Shakespeare Company. In 2010, he released his full-length album World Goes to Pieces. He’s just been to Berlin to perform, and we hear that Russell Crowe is a fan.