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Live.

VOICE-OVER: Today at the

National Press Club, a report

on the future for Indigenous

Australians in the business and

administration side of the

arts. Presenting the report is Aden Ridgeway, the former

Democrat Senator, now a

consultant on Indigenous

affairs. With him is Ron

Radford, the dror of the National Gallery of Australia

who'll announce the gallery's

response to the report. From

the National Press Club in

Canberra.

(Bell rings)

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome

to the National Press Club and today's National Australia Bank

address. We're very pleased

today to have two distinguished

speakers. Closest to me on the

left, Aden Ridgeway, he's probably best remembered in

Canberra terms as a former

Senator and Ron Radford,

Director of the National

Gallery of Australia for the

past five years. They've been

involved in the development of

an art initiative aimed at

providing opportunities for

Aboriginal people in leadership

positions in the arts in

Australia. The disadvantage in

many respects of Indigenous

Australians has been stressed

over the years and particularly

the last few years and while

Indigenous art has become

almost an international

commodity in recent times, the

opportunity is for Indigenous people in the management and

the entrepreneurial side of

that industry have not been

nearly so great. Today, we'll

be hearing about an initiative

that is aimed at overcoming

that problem. Aden will speak

first and he was responsible in

large part for the production

of this report which forms the

basis of the initiative that's

being outlined to you today and

after that, Ron Radford who's

had a long career in the management side of the art

industry, not only as the Director of the National

Gallery here but for 13 years

before that managing art

galleries in Australia. Aden

will speak first and talk about

how this all came about and Ron

Radford will follow up with

indications about how it will

happen. Please welcome them

both, but first, Aden Ridgeway. APPLAUSE

First of all, I'd like to

thank Ken for that very kind

introduction and let me say how

honoured I am to be here at the National Press Club. I'd also

like to begin by acknowledging

the traditional owners of the

land we stand on the Ngunnawal

people. I pay my respects to

the elders past and present and

I ask them for their blessing

as I take on a task which I

managed to avoid during my six

years in Parliament, an address

to the National Press Club. I

want to talk to you today about

the journey I took on behalf of the National Gallery of

Australia and Wesfarmers as

they sought to develop a

professional program for

Indigenous Australians in the

visual arts. Now, this was not

about the sexy side of the arts

where if you have a paint brush

in one hand people are madly

trying to shake the other, or

where people only refer to you

only by your last name or your

first if you happen to be

Emily, or having your work hung

on the walls of some of the

most gracious homes in the

country, despite them having

been created on the floor of a

tin shed. Now our job was to

find out why there aren't more

Aboriginal and Torres Strait

islander people in the other

side of the arts, the ones who

are responsible for restoring

magnificent possum skin coats

for example, or who decide how

to light and hang glorious

works of art. Those whose

primary responsibility is

making sure that artists are

recognised and paid and their

work is treated with the

respect that it deserves. Our

purpose was essentially about

investigating the gap between

the incredible number of

Indigenous Australians creating

wonderful art and those who

make sure we know all about it.

For all of the escapades which

have taken place on the hill,

of which there have been no

shortage in the last week, the Government's closing the gap

agenda is perhaps one of the

most definitive national

policies of recent times. Not

because the program

because the program s delivered

as part of the agenda have been run away success stories or

because it has delivered a cure

for Indigenous disadvantage,

because in many ways it has

stamped out the disability of

Indigenous disadvantage on our national psyche and made

everyone stop and think. And

this new paradigm has also, I

think, moved responsibility for

closing the gap from resting

solely on the shoulders of

government to become our

national responsibility, and

since the apology, many

Australian individuals and

organisations have considered

what role they might play in

being able to close this gap.

For most people, closing the

gap can be about small every

day actions. It is about

taking up an opportunity

otherwise missed, but I want to

share a quick story with you

about how a Sydney businessman

failed to play his part in

closing the gap. One of my

colleagues - and I was hoping

he was going to be here today -

was standing in the taxi queue

at Sydney Airport and as most

of you know, that queue is

notoriously long and miserable

and to top it off, we were

enjoying one of those grey

Sydney days. In front of the

queue was a suited and booted

businessman. Clearly intent on

going about his very important

work. From the back of the

queue, and there was a cheeky

voice that rang out trying to

entice our businessman to share

his nice warm cab into the city

and when the businessman turned

around along with everyone else

in the queue he saw the voice

belonged to an Aboriginal man

and very quickly he mumbled

something about it not being

fair for others to jump into

the next available taxi,

slammed the door and drove off.

But the cheeky voice belonged

to a young Indigenous man from

Cairns. In fact, a member of

the arts fraternity, and he

called out to the man and all

of those in the queue "Hey

brother, how about closing the gap on Indigenous access

gap on Indigenous access to

cabs?" Now, clearly I don't

want you all to go out and

share cabs with strangers, but

it does show that we all have

assets we can deploy to help

close the gap and this is

exactly what the National

Gallery of Australia and

Wesfarmers have done. They've

formed a relevant and progressive partnership

progressive partnership which

draws on their strengths to

bring about practical change

for Indigenous Australians.

The Wesfarmers Arts Indigenous

Fellowship is about practical

reconciliation and while the

Government likes to focus on

health and welfare reform,

employment and training helps

Aboriginal people lead longer,

healthier and more fulfilling

lives. So in

lives. So in providing

opportunities for Indigenous

people to engage with the

economy, I believe is an

important part of

reconciliation. When the

National Gallery came to me and

my firm Cox Inall Ridgeway 12

months ago, I was pretty excited about being involved

with this project, because I

saw its potential in helping

close the gap. I was also pleased that

pleased that the National

Gallery and Wesfarmers wanted

to listen first to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians

in the visual arts sector and

then develop the program. Too

often I think we see programs

and opportunities developed for Aboriginal people without

asking first whether it's what

they need and we often trumpet

the economic value of

Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander art to the Australian economy, but

economy, but we do have to ask

the questions about the benefit

to the Indigenous community,

where is the wealth being

created, how do we define

wealth? In the last 40 years,

the broader Australian

population and indeed the world

has no doubt fallen under the

spell of Aboriginal and Torres

Strait islander artists and

these artists, I think, have

given us a unique insight into

given us a unique insight into

their land and their culture.

The Australia that we live in

today is enriched by the

generous sharing of those

stories, but before Indigenous

art ever became an industry it

was much more important than

that. For thousands of years,

artists were custodians of

their culture and part of the

rich networks of responsibility

which kept the stories of

which kept the stories of our

land and our culture alive. It was only when there were

cultural obligations when they

became art that this art began

to contribute to the prosperity

of this country, that they

became economically

significant, and as their

recognition and their economic

value grew, more voices

emerged, and demanded greater involvement of Indigenous

Australians in bringing this

Australians in bringing this

art to Australians and to the

world. Many of you would

recall in 2007 and in 2008 two

key reports were delivered.

The Making Solid Ground review

from the Australia Council and

Indigenous Art, Securing the

Future from the Senate standing

committee. Now both of those reports acknowledge the

reports acknowledge the gaping

need in Australia's visual arts

sector for greater involvement

and more professional support

by Indigenous Australians.

They helped in many ways to

pave the way for the

conversations we needed to have

with the sector about how to

help deliver that professional

support, but I think more

significant to this project was

the incredible relationship

between two key

between two key women, Dr

Brenda Croft who's not with us

today and Ellen -- Helen from

Wesfarmers. They had discussed

the ways to create

opportunities for the business

side of the ashts by bringing

together two key organisations,

the National Gallery and

Wesfarmers. Now the National

Gallery is Australia's leading visual arts institution and

Wesfarmers one of Australia's

oldest companies with a

footprint that extend s from

the west to the east. The National Gallery is committed

through its charter to the

cultural enrichment of all

Australians through access to

their national art collection.

Wesfarmers, of course, holds

one of the finest collections

of Australian art and regularly lends pieces

lends pieces to galleries

across the country, but I think

significant was that both

organisations wanted to create new opportunities for

Indigenous people to become

more involved in the management

and administration of

Indigenous visual arts, and so

today, this marriage of two

iconic Australian organisations

begins. I want to personally commend Wesfarmers and the National Gallery for putting

National Gallery for putting

their money where their mouths

are, and starting the journey

to create the Wesfarmers' arts

Indigenous fellowship. Some

might say that it's been 60,000

years in the making, and this

is the point where Cox Inall

Ridgeway joined the journey,

tasked with seeking the views

of Indigenous artists and the

industry that surrounds them.

So it was a privilege to be

able to be asked to do this

work, because quite frankly I

got to sit down and listen to

people working as practitioners

and as managers from the cities

to the remote and to art

galleries to our bigger

cultural institutions.

Importantly, we wanted to hear

from Indigenous professionals

in the arts industries, those

who are established like Brenda

Croft, Francesca Kabilo and

those who've chartered their

journey more recently like

Keith Munroe. We needed to

hear what had contributed to

their success and they had

learnt from their own

individual journeys. We wanted

to create a fellowship that

would smooth the journeys of

those who come next. It was a

process of collective sharing

and learning and over seven

months we held a series of

workshops to start a

conversation about the idea of

the Wesfarmers arts Indigenous

fellowship. Ten workshops were

held across seven States and

Territories. We contacted over

500 individuals from the visual

arts sector. The broader

Indigenous arts and the

education sector, and by the

time we had finished, 130

people had attended our

workshops and a further 93

offered to provide their input.

I think more importantly the

workshops gave us numerous

insights and stories, but the

clearest message that was given

to us is that there is no

straight pathway for Indigenous

people to pursue a career in

the arts. We also found that

the partnership between the

National Gallery and Wesfarmers

was warm ly received primarily

due to the commitment both have

due to the commitment both have

shown to the Indigenous visual

arts sector. People considered

that the fellowship program would be a unique opportunity for Indigenous people in the

arts, perhaps to gain

unprecedented access to

Australia's national visual

arts institution, but that the

gallery would also benefit from

a closer relationship with the

Indigenous visual artists it

displays. Finally from that

report, the workshops told us that

that the fellowship would

present an important

opportunity to finalise and

grow the network of indigenous professionals in the visual

arts. Consulting, I think,

with the industry confirmed the

need for more professional

development opportunities and I

think that goes without saying.

But more challenging was the

task to harness their passion

and present a report which

could truly reflect our

national conversation. But after many hours sorting through the comments and

reports and testing our

thoughts with industry leaders,

we came up with a series of

recommendations for the

National Gallery and Wesfarmers

to consider. I think one of

the key things that came

through for me was that what

people wanted most of all was

the fellowship and a leadership

program needed to be

aspirational and play to

people's sophistication, be

brave and resist the temptation

to try to be everything to

everyone. To take the plunge,

to create a foundation and to

grow the number of people

working in visual arts

management and administration.

Be adaptive, and flexible and

give people the chance to

tailor make their opportunity

and have a hand in their future

given the varying circumstances

that people would come from.

Help create a strong network of

Indigenous Australians in the

arts and grow a critical mass

of professionals across the

country. Offer improved

pathways and linkages to

encourage more of the

partnerships to develop and

provide those opportunities.

And allow people to value-add

to their existing skill base

and knowledge as a 2way

learning process and offer accreditational qualification

to recognise formal and

informal learning as well as

making a long-term investment

and support the fellows over a

2-year period and finally, I

think, what was telling about

this was that not all of the

Indigenous artists or those involved in these things just

wanted to stay working in

Indigenous arts. It was about

encouraging a blue sky approach

and not limiting Indigenous

professionals to the Indigenous

visual arts alone. Thinking

about the international stage

and so on. And these

recommendations form the heart

of the report we presented to

the National Gallery and Wesfarmers, which is available

to everyone here today. But to

the people who participated in

our workshops, I want to say

thanks to them for giving their

time and knowledge so

generously and giving from

their heart and I hope that we

captured in this report, what

we've captured accurately

reflects what they gave us and

no doubt we'll hear from them

if it doesn't. So I think the

leadership shown by the

National Gallery and Wesfarmers

on this journey so far is to be

commended. It sets the

benchmark and I hope that it

paves the way for many others

to follow. It's also

refreshing that in the pursuit

of reconciliation, one of our

most venerable arts

institutions has joined hands

with a company sprung from the

wheat fields of the west. And

if we get this right, we will

have created the path for a new

wave of talented indigenous

Australians to lead and grow

this industry into the future.

The current funding model

preferred, of course, by States

and Territories for the visual

arts sector still leaves much

to be desired. A more

consistent approach would allow sustainable industry to

develop, but with the path I

believe that will be blazed by

these two organisations, and I

hope other governments,

businesses and institutions are

inspired to form new and

exciting partnerships to take

up this challenge. For now,

the immediate challenge lies

with the National Gallery and Wesfarmers and

Wesfarmers and I look forward

to seeing what the future

holds, and I'm pleased on this

occasion to be able to share

the conversation from the

workshops that were held and

the consultation report and I

commend this to the National

Gallery and Wesfarmers and to

all here present. Thank you. APPLAUSE thank you very much Aden

Ridgeway. To talk about the

other half of the equation, I'd

like you to welcome now, Ron

Radford. APPLAUSE

Thank you Ken and thank you

Aden. I'd also like to begin

by acknowledging the

traditional owners of this land

the null awall people. Now the

initiative we are launching

today represents an important

step forward in providing

greater equity and expanded

opportunities for Indigenous

Australians in the visual arts

sector of this nation. It's

also a significant step for the National Gallery of Australia.

It's significant because the

initiative is part of the gallery's long-standing

commitment to provide a

stronger process on the art of

Indigenous Australia.

Indigenous art is as we know

stimulating and highly visible.

It is in great demand around

the world, but today we are

turning our attention to something that is not so

obvious in this country and

that is the lack of

participation by Indigenous

Australians in the management

roles in the visual arts. This initiative would have

initiative would have been,

certainly would not have been

possible without the

enthusiastic and general

support of Wesfarmers Limited. Now the commitment to

Australian art both Indigenous

and non-Indigenous is, of

course, very much a guiding

principle of the National

Gallery of Australia. It is

clearly reflected in the

prominent place that Indigenous art occupies in the national

collection, which I'm proud to

say is the largest and most significant collection of

Aboriginal and Torres Strait

island art in the world. It is

clearly also reflected by the

vision statement for the

gallery and clearly reflected

in our plans for the immediate

future which I'll touch on a

little later. Australia has

always had a strong visual arts

tradition, and of course, the

tradition of the visual arts on

the Australian continent can be

traced back over tens of

thousands of years. It is

intrinsic to the world's oldest

surviving culture. We are very fortunate indeed that the

diverse, distinctive and

innovative visual expression of

that culture still thrives.

The evidence is plentiful.

Consider for a moment the

number of Indigenous Australians engaged in the

visual arts. It's estimated

that now almost 50% of

Australian artists are

Indigenous. A remarkable

figure given that Indigenous

Australians represent only 2.7

of the Australian population as

a whole. Consider also the

scale eof the economic

contribution that Indigenous

art makes to the Australian

economy. The value of

Indigenous visual arts produced

each year has been estimated at

nearly 500 million a year.

Once again, a remarkable

figure. Yet, apart from the

number of artists and the economic contribution of

Indigenous visual arts, think

for a moment about the defining

role that Indigenous art plays

in the cultural life of the

nation, and our sense of

identity. Indigenous and

non-Indigenous Australians have

long, have long prized the

visual arts. The visual arts

stimulates our imagination, it

inspires us, and it moves us.

But it also plays an important

role in projecting Australia's

culture to the rest of the

world. But while Indigenous

Australians play a prominent

role in the creation of the

visual arts, they are not similarly represented in the

management of the visual arts

in this country. Today's

announcement is intended to

remedy that situation. There

are currently only 16

Indigenous Australians working

in managed positions in State

or national visual arts

organisation. Less than 20

years ago there was none.

Those positions today are

largely involved in curatorial

areas of Indigenous art

collections. The lack of

Indigenous participation in the

visual arts management roles

has been clearly identified and

documented over recent years

and Aden has mentioned the 2007

and Aden has mentioned the 2007

report, the Indigenous art

securing the future, which

emphasised the role of education and professional

development ensuring the sustainability and

profitability of the Indigenous

visual arts sector. That

sentiment was also echoed in

the 2008 Australia Council for

the Arts review, Making

the Arts review, Making Solid

Ground. Now the National

Gallery of Australia has

recognised these needs and

responded to them by establishing a traditional

supporting, a tradition of

supporting Indigenous visual

arts professionals through a

mentoring system, through

mentoring, through traineeships

and through internships. A

number of Indigenous

Australians have participated

in these programs have gone on

to assume professional roles in

the visual arts organisations

such as the State galleries of

Victoria and Western Australia.

This commitment to the

developing skills provided the

impetus last year for the

National Gallery of Australia

to enter into a formal 5-year

partnership with Wesfarmers

Limited. Now the aim of the

partnership is a long-term

development of training and

mentoring of Indigenous

mentoring of Indigenous people

in management careers in the

visual arts. Today, it gives

me great pleasure on behalf of

the National Gallery of

Australia, to announce the

launch of the Wesfarmers' Arts

Indigenous Fellowship and the

Indigenous Arts Leadership

Programs. The fellowship is a high-level professional development opportunity for two

Indigenous fellows to work on a Indigenous fellows to work on a

major Indigenous projects at

the National Gallery, who will work alongside professional

staff at the gallery and with

members of our Aboriginal and

Torres Strait islander art

department acting as their

mentors. The fellowship will

be offered to two Indigenous

Australians every two years.

Each fellowship grant will be

valued at $50,000. As many of you would you would know, we have major

projects directly connected

with Indigenous visual arts,

either currently under way or

planned at the gallery for the

future. Now over 1.5 million visitors to the National

Gallery of Australia over the

past two years could not have

failed to notice the

construction work at the south

end of the gallery. This is

Stage 1 of our building

redevelopment program. Stage 1

will include a new ground floor

entrance and new facilities,

but most importantly, 11 new

display galleries for

Indigenous Australian art.

These will be the first

galleries in Australia designed

specifically to display the

different kinds of Aboriginal

and Torres Strait islander and Torres Strait islander art.

This Stage 1 building will be

completed in only a couple of

months time and will provide

the first additional display

space for the permanent

collection of the National

Gallery since the gallery

building was largely designed

as early as 1969. These new

galleries represent the largest

Aboriginal and Torres Strait

island display in the world.

When visitors arrive through

the new main entrance, the

first work they will see will

be the Aboriginal memorial of

1988. An installation of 200

hollow log coffins commissioned by the National Gallery of

Australia for the commemoration

of Indigenous people displaced

over 200 years since European

invasion. Upstairs, 10 new

galleries and visitors will

experience the rich and

diversity of Aboriginal

culture. The opening of Stage

1 provides many opportunities

for projects to be undertaken

by the winners of the

fellowships that we announce

today. There is scope to

research and document the

Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander art collection for

publications either in print or

online. Similarly, there's an

opportunity to create an

education program to help

children and adults learn about

Indigenous art in the national

collection and to do this in

conjunction with the gallery's Education Department. There is

no doubt that projects of this

sort will benefit from both the

cultural knowledge and

connectedness of Aboriginal

Australians and which in turn,

will enhance the experience of

people visiting the collection.

Similarly, there are opportunities for fellowship

winners to participate in

projects associated with our

second Indigenous arts trienial

to open in April next year.

The trienial was established by

the National Gallery of

Australia in 2007 to survey

contemporary Aboriginal and

Torres Strait Islander art.

The first entitled cultural

warriors was timed to mark the

25th anniversary of the

gallery. It opened to much

critical acclaim and

enthusiastic crowds, both here

in Canberra before it then

toured the State galleries and

then travelled to Washington

DC, where it again received

rapturous, a very rapturous

welcome. These opportunities

include working with our

publications department to

produce an audio or video

presentation for the trien ial or working with staff members

to develop programs for the

event. These projects have the

potential in turn to lead to

job opportunities in the visual

arts sector which can range from administration,

conservation and curatorial

work to education, exhibition

design and facility management.

I would now like to turn to the

second professional development

initiative being announced

today, and that is the

Indigenous arts leadership

program. Now this separate

program will provide an

opportunity annually for up to

10 Indigenous Australians to

come to the National Gallery of Australia in

Australia in Canberra to gain first-hand knowledge and

experience of the visual arts

and museum sector over a period

of 10 days. Participants will

take part in an accredited Certificate 2 Indigenous

leadership course presented by

the Australian Indigenous

leaders' centre in Canberra.

They will also have the

opportunity to maintain a

continuing connection with both

the gallery and the leadership

centre. Both the program and

individual participants will be

supported by an advisory

committee of notable

professionals and community

members from all round

Australia. Many of those

committee members have joined

us for day's gathering. We

believe the fellowship and the

leadership program provide a unique opportunity for

professional development for Indigenous people in the Australian visual arts sector.

Applicants are open today and

details are available on the

National Gallery's website from

today. At this point I would

like to acknowledge the

constructive contribution that Australian Indigenous

communities have made to the

development of both the fellowship and leadership

programs. Aden Ridgeway has already described and

nationwide consultation

project, which he and his

colleague Fiona Dewar have led

and which provided invaluable

guidance on how the fellowship

and leadership program could be

structured and operated. Their

work has been vital in the

development of this initiative

and I want to congratulate Wesfarmers on their vision and

look forward to working with

them in this great partnership.

Wesfarmers has provided $1.2

million over a 5-year period to

fund this national program. I

think they're to be applauded

for this. The National Gallery

of Australia is strongly

committed to Australian

Indigenous art. We believe

this fellowship program will

help to provide a greater

equity and participation of

Indigenous Australians in the

management of the visual arts

of this country. And I'm

hoping that this will

eventually lead to an

Indigenous director of the

National Gallery of Australia,

perhaps not just yet, but very

soon. APPLAUSE

thank you very much, Ron

Radford. We have our usual

period of questions. My

question is to you Ron. Our former Prime Minister Kevin

Rudd was criticised by some in

the arts sector for repeatedly

turning down invitations to

arts events. Just wondering do

you think... would you like to

see Julia Gillard take more of

an active role and how do you

rate our Arts Minister Peter Garrett's performance in the

job over the last three

years? Well, we've been very

fortunate that the former Prime

Minister Rudd has been involved

in opening exhibitions at the

National Gallery and visiting

with his wife Therese who's

also opened exhibitions. We're

fortunate too that our current minister has been very much

engaged in opening our

exhibitions including Culture

Warriors in Washington, and

we're also fortunate that Julia

Gillard is a regular visitor

and her partner Tim to the National Gallery of Australia,

and has dined with us. So

we're very grateful to the three of them. LAUGHTER

The next question. I'm just

wondering when you did your

report, what did you identify

as the main obstacles so far to

Indigenous participation in

this side of the arts? Look, I

think the first thing that came

through from many of those that

attended and workshops was that

it was clear that for those

that wanted to work on the management or administration

side of arts that there wasn't

a formal or straight pathway of

getting there. That's not to

say that there aren't programs

out there. There are a raft of

general programs, but I think

what clearly came through was

people often ended up in their

positions more by default. It

wasn't because they'd made a

conscious decision or set out a

career plan that that's where

they wanted to be. In a lot of

cases some might have ended up

there as a result of community development employment programs

or partnered with TAFE

initiatives. But I think

overall what they were saying

was that the main obstacle was

the lack of recognition of the

needs as they identified them

to be able to access in a more

formal way professional

development opportunities and

training opportunities to at

least get exposure to

institutions like the National

Gallery. What we tried to do

through the whole process was

to look at how we could develop

something that could be taken

on board to cover the differing

circumstances, whether you're

living in a remote location or

living in an urban location,

and I think that will be a

challenge, but that doesn't

exclude people. I think what

we're trying to do here is

encourage and support those who

do have aspirations, that have

a clear idea of where they want

to go and hopefully the fellowship and the leadership program will provide the

support in being able to

service their needs. Mr

Ridgeway, we've heard from Mr

Radford that a disappointing

figure of a mere 16 people are

working, currently working in

administrative positions

within, I believe he said

visual arts organisations or

galleries in Australia at the

State and national level. I

wondered what your parameters

were, what kinds of

institutions did you canvass in

your research, and would they

have included museums or don't

they count as visual arts

institutions? Good question. I

think the best way of answering

that is to say that people

didn't necessarily proclued the

idea of museums being included

in the sorts of opportunities

that they saw as being

available to them . In

canvassing the issues, we spoke

to people from State and

regional and local museums and

galleries, as well as private

galleries and the artists and

those working in remote art

centres. So I think we

canvassed a broad range of

people in trying to identify

what were those issues. What

was surprising about that was

the consistency of the voice that was coming through and

that is that people thought

that this was important. But

also recognising that even in

this sector there's always

going to be a ceiling in terms

of how many opportunities you

can provide, particularly if

one of the outcomes might be

about employment as an outcome.

So it wasn't so much focusing

on that, it was more about

looking at the opportunities to

get the professional

development and the support to

be able to assist people in

expanding the range of

opportunities available to

them. There's always room, I

think, for many States and

Territories public

institutions, the private ones

to look at providing more opportunity for Indigenous

Australians to be employed and

I'd certainly encourage that.

But I think what we're focussed

on is making sure that the

first part of the process where

for many years the focus has

been about supporting artists,

this is about supporting art

managers and giving them a

chance to be able to support

and protect the stories in how

they're told, but also I think

become part of that business

activity within communities

which has been a gaping hole

now for many years. That's

what we're focussed on and, I

think, the National Gallery is

best placed to support that

process in conjunction with

Wesfarmers. Aden, clearly it's

a lucrative industry. There's

a lot of people, non-Indigenous

Australians that are involved

in this administrative side.

How long is it going to take for Indigenous Australians to

break through and really break

that grip that non-Australians

do have on that industry at the moment? Look, I don't know

whether you'll ever get to a point where you can break that

grip. I think it's more of a

case of recognising that

there's always going to be

those that maybe unethical in

the way they go about their

business activities, but I

think that this coupled with

many of the things over the

recent years, everything from

the code of conduct for the

arts industry through to even

initiatives like the Resale

Royalties Scheme, all send a

message combined about looking

at more ethical standards and

better business practices. So

for me it's not so much about

trying to intervene in such a

way that you're pushing aside.

What you're doing is trying to

expand the space, but also

improve the circumstances or

the conditions in which the

activity takes place.

Ultimately, the goal is about

if we make sure that we have

enough well-trained and

professional Indigenous people

working in this place, they're

the ones that will guide and

direct how the business is

conducted and I think that will

eventually displace. But the

focus isn't about displacing

those people at the moment,

it's about training up and

equipping people to be able to

fill the space that is a gaping

hole at the moment. A question

for you Aden, during your

research - and you spoke to

many people - did you identify

people who had the knowledge

and the ambition to take on

these kind of roles? To be

curators of the future and

maybe even directors of

galleries? The answer is yes.

What we discovered from this

was that there are a whole

range of people out there with

a passion and commitment for Indigenous visual arts.

They're already working in a

space in some form. If they're

not, what tends to happen is

that people that perhaps might

work in larger public cultural

institutions often get lost to

then working back in community

on things like community

development employment

programs, and I think that

where you do have people like

that, this is a great

opportunity for them to build

on the work that they've done

within existing public

institutions. We also found

stories about people that had

decided to focus on the visual

arts or fine arts, but played

Rugby League in order to

finance their ability to meet

the fees to become an artist.

Now I think that's a fantastic

thing when you hear stories

like that, it really says

something about the passion,

the sophistication, the drive

of people out there. There's

no shortage of them, and that's certainly what came through

from the workshops that we

held. What we've done is put

together a database and we

would hope that would then lead

to a network from the

leadership program and

fellowship program that there

would be an alumni and you

create a critical mass across

the country that supports

itself and each other. But there are these small

individual stories that might

sound have simple but at the

end of the day, they are

inspiring in terms of what

people are doing, what they're

saying and how they're getting

there and this is just trying

to provide an opportunity to

make that go further. My

question is for Ron. If you

have more Indigenous people

involved in the display and the

curating of Indigenous works

and the conservation of those

works, the cataloguing, the

writing up of them, the

research into them, how is that

going to change the way in

which the gallery is able to

display those works and present

them to the wider population? Well, we already

have Indigenous curators at the

National Gallery that recommend

the acquisitions and write the

reports and write the books and

write the labels as it is. But

we feel with more in the institution, perhaps

particularly in the education

area, I think that gives, and

the more we have I think the

better it will be to communicating Aboriginal

stories and Aboriginality if

you like, to the rest of

Australia. And to an

increasing number of Aboriginal

visitors to the National

Gallery. I just think there'll

be a greater connectedness than

there is now. Just as, I

think, now there's a greater

connectedness than there was

when we had no Aboriginal

curators in State galleries and

National Gallerys and regional

galleries. That raises interesting questions from both

of you. What do you think this

process might produce in the

long-term about the whole

Indigenous art system? On the

management side in terms of

value and acquisition and in

cultural terms? You've

mentioned yourself that there

are some very important

cultural issues involved in the

whole process. I don't know

which one of you would like to

go first. Look, it's a fairly

wide question and I think on

one hand there are those

cultural issues that perhaps

might need to be resolved,

particularly at an individual,

family or community level in

terms of how they share stories

and the means in which that's

done. The other side is then

looking at the ongoing issue of

commercialisation of product

itself. I don't think that

that in and of itself is a

problem for communities. I

think that people are reaping

some of those benefits and

perhaps see it as an

opportunity to build on that,

to become more directly

involved in looking at the arts

sector and particularly in

terms of being able to manage

how and where and why things

are sold in the way that they

are. What I would say, though,

about that is that we're

conscious, and I think this is

one of the things that the

National Gallery would be well

attuned to from the work

they've done over many years,

is perhaps dealing with some of

those cultural issues. The

protocols in dealing with story

and how that's shared, but I

think also resolving that at

the artist and clan or family

level. They're not easy things

and it will change from one

place to the other and as

YouGov would have seen in more

recent reports on TV about land

issues, there are always going to be diverse and differing

views about who has authority

for what. We don't see that as

an unhealthy thing, but if

anything we learn from the

process there has to be protocols addressing cultural issues and I have confidence in

the National Gallery they will

do it right and do it in the

right way correctly. I suppose

you do too. Great

confidence. What about at the

industry level? Will it change

the perception of Indigenous

art in the marketplace? That's

a difficult question. Perhaps it would give it greater

credibility, greater

authenticity, I suppose, but

that's difficult to sort of

gauge. But I want to even take

the argument a little bit even

further if you like. We had a

trainee from the Torres Strait

islander, a young woman who we

sent to Venice with a group of

our curators and she's so loved

European art, old master

European art which she hadn't

had much association before and

she wanted to be a curator of

European art and of course that

is nothing wrong with that.

That is the true sophistication

of the program when we get Aboriginal curators that don't

feel that they just have to be

curators of Aboriginal art, or

even work on Aboriginal art,

but be curators of European art

or Asian art. That's when we

really know we've succeeded...

of course, we really know when

we've succeeded when we have an Indigenous director of the

gallery. That's when we really

know, but I think we need to

think very broadly about this

and its future. I just have a question in regard to the

leadership program. I note

that 10 people each year will

be brought to Canberra for 10

days, which is a rather short

time if you come from even

Perth perhaps. I wonder how

you're going to ensure that

experience is followed up on

and that exceptional people who

come are identified in that

system are going to be given

some sort of extra hope. And I

note Ron referred to

encouraging other agencies and

bodies in that regard, and the

question's for Aden or Ron.

I'll answer that. I think

what came through surprisingly

from the consultations was that

when we spoke about the

possible alternatives or

options of longer periods of

time or on a more regular basis

in order to get some

consistency of opportunity to

get that sort of professional

development or training opportunity, was that

frequently people across the

country and particularly in the

more remote locations or

outside of the large urban

centres were saying they would

find it difficult to go to

Canberra even for two weeks.

It's probably no surprise to

you the first thing that came

up was the coldness of

Canberra. Everyone said that,

no matter where they were, but

I think separate to that, I

think people sort of looked at

it from their own personal

circumstance. Many of the

people that we're talking about

aren't necessarily young and

starting out for the first

time, although they are there.

Often these are people that are

already working in art centres

and working in conjunction with

some of the existing managers, so they're getting that

support, but it's about being

able to expand the opportunity

for that to go further. But

often they have children.

Often they have partners, often

they have another job and so

this is really more about recognising those circumstances

and being able to tailor that.

So after 10 days, it doesn't

mean that you wouldn't then

continue. I think one of the important things about this is

creating that alumni network, a

way of being able to keep

people in touch with each

other. Obviously there'll be

some challenges. There's the

advisory committee that's been

established and they'll need to

deal with a raft of issues and

that will be one of them about

dealing with the follow-up.

Now there are issues again

about do you deal with these

sort of alumni networks through

the form of Internet

technology, the fact that there

might be some sort of space on

MySpace, Facebook.

Surprisingly what we found on

that issue, even the remotest

communities even all have

mobile phones and access to the

Internet. There may be some technology problems that perhaps might need to be

addressed, but I think if

anything they were all ready to

make themselves available and

most are operating through art

centres, so they're already

engaged with local, regional

and national economic activity,

so it's not as if they're

coming out of isolation.

They're already making that contact. But you're according

to the leadership program of 10, but there is, of course,

the fellowships which are for

two years. Two for two years,

$50,000 a year. But then again

we didn't feel that we'd force

them to come to Canberra for a

non-stop 2-year period. We

hoped they would come and go

and we would send them to other

places around the nation to

learn and then come back to

Canberra, then go back to their

home, being at much more less

prescriptive and much more

flexible to their lifestyle.

Not that you have to come here

and you've got to stay here for

two years, but a much more

flexible situation. I hope it

makes Canberra a little less

daunting. I've just got a

question for Mr Ridgeway. I'm

wondering in relation to the

royalties scheme launched

earlier this month by Minister

Garrett, it looks like a scheme

that's a good idea in theory,

but in practice it looks like

it's going to be a real

nightmare to administer. How

effective do you think it is

going to be for Indigenous

artists, this scheme? Look, I

think it's probably too early

to say that it's been a success

or failure. I think the

intention is certainly right.

I think that the idea of a

resale royalty scheme is

certainly something that I

promoted during my time in

Parliament and looked at the

examples of people like Albert

Nam agerra. What had happened

in particular circumstance,

that no members of the family

were able to get any access to

any of the wealth that was

generated. So it's overcoming

some of those issues and I

think at the moment it's

perhaps something that might

need to be revisited. More, I

think, from the point of view

of making it workable, being

able to encourage and get that support more widely,

particularly from gallery

owners and operators and those

that purchase or that purchase or acquire art,

and looking at it so that it

strikes the right balance

between meeting the needs of

artists and families and

communities as well as those in

the business. I haven't been

following it closely, so I

can't say whether it struck the

right balance at the moment and

I think time will tell on that.

But I think we've got to

recognise it in a lot of times

we're talking about small

businesses, no larger than

medium. If you're placing an

impost upon them, then that

creates some problems. But

having said that, it is the

right sort of policy approach

and a resale royalties scheme

is something that ought to be

supported. Have you heard much

about that, Ron? I would have

thought that given the

importance of providence in the

arts industry, it shouldn't

have been so much of a problem

as it's been presented? That's right, although there are

plenty of complications in it,

but I think it's a step in the

right direction. A question to

each of you and firstly congratulations on the initiatives you've announced

today and Wesfarmers as well.

Aden, the consultations that you had in Indigenous

communities, I'm wondering what

sort of resentment if any you

picked up amongst artists about

the lack of Indigenous

involvement in arts administration and the wealth

of their industry being spread

around fairly. Was this really

a concern and is there anger

there at all about the way the

industry works at that level?

And for you Ron, you've

mentioned a couple of times

perhaps flippantly, but I think perhaps flippantly, but I think

seriously the prospect of an

Indigenous director of the

National Gallery, this week

we've been celebrating the

first female Prime Minister,

but when we look at Indigenous

leadership, Aden Ridgeway was,

I think, only the second

Federal parliamentary

Indigenous representative... I

think is that right, the

second? How important would it

be to have an Indigenous leader

of a national cultural

institution in Australia? I

think very important, but we

did have remember the first

director of the national museum

was Indigenous. As you may remember, and that's an

important institution. So it's

already happened. And so it

can easily happen again. An

Aboriginal woman, at that. Whom

I might add is still a director

but of the Powerhouse

Museum. Another important

cultural institution. And was the director of another institution in Western

Australia, so it's already happened. In relation to the

question about any sort of

resentment or animosity, I

certainly didn't pick that up.

That's not to say that

individuals or communities didn't have particular views

about perhaps organisations or individuals within community.

That's par for the course.

That's going to happen across

the board whether you're black

or white, so I don't think

there should be anything seen

into that. What I would say, though, is that for Indigenous

people that have been working

in this space, whilst there's

frustration, there's also a

hell of a lot of passion and

commitment and a generosity. I

think that is always shown to

be able to share the stories in

this form. It's probably been

a less controversial area of

Indigenous affairs in this

country and that having been

said, doesn't make it less

problematic. It has its share

of problems, but I think that

the people involved approached

things in a different manner and I think they recognise

there has been growth from an

rtist point of view, but there

also have been calls for more Indigenous involvement in the

management of the arts and that

voice is being heard and that's

certainly what's being listened

to. It's a question to both of

you if you wish to take it up,

really picking up on a point

David was making. I own a

reasonable amount of Indigenous

art, most of it brought through

galleries always represented by

a white face, well-dressed

body, expensive ly fitted out

gallery. It always worries me

I suppose in the back of my

mind as to the equity of this

in terms of the share of

profits that go. Do you see

this as potentially providing

through the private sector,

flowing through to the private

sector, providing not only a more effective representation but more equitable

representation in terms of the

industry? And indeed in terms

of the private sector, d