Sunday, December 18, 2011

Multicultural Arts Forum 2012 is a space for inclusive dialogue and networking for artists, arts workers, researchers and cultural policy decision-makers of all backgrounds to take action in constructive discourse on how we can reap the benefit of the enormous untapped cultural resources in Australia’s most culturally diverse state, NSW.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Michael Ebeid spoke to a full room about the future of SBS, simultaneously claiming that the broadcaster desperately needs more money from the next triennial round, and insisting that SBS is open for business right now. 

The very fact that Michael Ebeid, the CEO of SBS spoke at all is significant. Normally, the guidelines romp is left to the director of television – a position soon to be filled but open for the usual search. He provided a chance to reveal himself and his style to this audience, and add gravitas to the argument. 

He claimed that SBS has had a good year, with Immigration Nation and Go Back to Where You Came Fromclaiming the national debate, and the soccer and the Tour de France hooking its audience and providing those valuable changes for cross promotion. As Jane Roscoe, head of programming, said later, they provide the (fuzzily defined) impact which is the SBS metric beyond simple ratings. 

They are also expecting to do well with The Family, the fly-on-the wall format from the UK being tidied up by Shine for release at the end of November. Also before Xmas, reflecting the counter cyclic strategy SBS has always used over the holidays, Danger 5 will release the web-only prequel which will set the series up for its February release. That in turn reflects Ebeid’s determination to build more decent online content, and build it into the SBS broadcasting strategies. 

Behind Ebeid’s appearance is a ghost – the slouching monster of Pudding SBS, when it cheerily tried to broaden its base and build mainstream audiences. With garlic and silver stake, Michael stated firmly that “SBS really needs to understand who we are and what we stand for in this crowded marketplace. I will take you through what that means a little later. But also really focuses on our distinctiveness, and that is the key word we are really focusing on at the moment, how we stand out from the clutter.”

That is about core values, returning to charter, creating a distinctive identity as a multicultural broadcaster which reflects the realities of today’s Australia. Was this a narrowing of identity, which could exclude audiences?

“No, we need to be distinctive,” he said, “to be clear about who we are, so that all Australians can explore our multicultural world, our diverse world.”

Inside this framework, he delivered a fairly conventional rundown of the current guidelines, which have been clearly rethought to accommodate this new determination about core charter. As you can find on the website, the commissioning values are now to provoke debate, push boundaries, surprise audiences and inspire change. You would have to be mean to ask how soccer and cycling do any of these things, but the audience was too civilised to ask the question. 

What did come out, which was slightly uncivilised, was the cancellation of Dusty, because SBS simply could not afford to mount the production. Developed for some years, completely supported by the broadcaster, it was abandoned in favour of plugging a budget hole created by the downturn in advertising, and a shorter drama production. Sue Masters, the producer, pointed out that the cancellation was unexpected and heartbreaking – she had lined up five different partners, and had the show fully financed. While she said it came from nowhere, Ebeid glanced down and said that his understanding was that she had been given some warning.

But the story does illustrate the direness of the financial situation. Ebeid pointed out that the current triennial negotiations are crucial, and called for the industry support he must know privately is forthcoming. 

SBS may be close to broke now, but Ebeid is still planning for the future. “We are still a major network, which reaches over eight million people each week,” he said. “There are talented people at SBS who will work with you to create high quality content with great results.

“We are still actively commissioning in all genres. We still have sizeable budgets next year, and the year after. That money has not gone away.

“While we take a temporary pause in commissioning exciting Australian drama, we still want to continue to develop one or two of our short drama works that are on the radar at the moment.”

They are still looking for comedy talent, are building on the food strand, are looking for cross-platform and online-only projects, and want a major light entertainment series to showcase new multicultural talent.

If they get their triennial bid, they expect to treble the amount of Australian content on SBS. We know you would like that.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

National Cultural Policy

In August 2011, the Australian Government released a discussion paper for a National Cultural Policy so that organisations, community groups and individuals could contribute their suggestions and feedback.


GROUNDSWELL strongly supports a National Cultural Policy that reflects and expresses a collective vision for Australia’s cultural and arts sector. 

A National Cultural Policy is a timely venture for two reasons, one, because of the consistent strive for a national identity that seeks ‘Australianess’ that can embrace Australia’s ongoing shifting identity with its equally consistent influx of immigrant waves that challenge the every day person and artist alike to redefine who we are as individuals and as a nation, and two, because the whole world faces the unstoppable process of globalisation whereby production and consumption of arts and culture are pushed to the forefront as any other commodity and so now more than ever before we have the potential to rework the map of our times.

The demand for ‘Australian’ arts and culture (whatever that can be) is shaped by new lines of reasoning that link Eurocentricism to emerging societies previously referred to as Third World cultures. Similarly, the relationship between high and low arts, commonly known as folk or ethnic arts, are equally complicated now, they are almost seem indiscernible, and yet our Australian cultural identity - and therefore policy - must reflect the modern world and move with the times to not only to keep up, but to capitalise on this burgeoning market that is now without borders or limits.

3.           What are your views about each of the four goals?

GOAL 1: To ensure that what the Government supports — and how this support is provided — reflects the diversity of a 21st century Australia, and protects and supports Indigenous culture
We celebrate that Australia has ratified the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and we see this policy as an affirmative step in implementing the Convention’s principles and objectives.
Based on the above, we believe that Goal 1 should not be only a goal by itself, but is a crosswise dimension to the policy. New migrant communities have added to the rich mix of cultures that already existed by Indigenous peoples and the more established migrant communities. We are a multicultural society that changes and evolves in dynamic ways.
By recognising and validating the diverse cultural expressions that shape our nation, we have the invaluable opportunity to ensure that all Australians enjoy their right to access and participate in the thriving cultural life of the country.  

GOAL 2: To encourage the use of emerging technologies and new ideas that support the development of new artworks and the creative industries, and that enable more people to access and participate in arts and culture
Access is a key word that we need to reflect on. Increasing access to emerging technologies makes sense from an all-inclusive perspective, where all Australians, irrespective of their cultural, linguistic, socio-economic or educational background have the opportunity to engage with technology in meaningful and creative ways.

GOAL 3: To support excellence and world-class endeavour, and strengthen the role that the arts play in telling Australian stories both here and overseas
Excellence needs to be nurtured from the base, including supporting artistic education for children and young artists as well as amateur and community arts practice. Appropriate and accessible arts education and arts training need to play a substantial role here if we are to achieve this goal. Excellence must be valued and re-conceived from a diverse cultural practice perspective. Notions on ‘excellence’ have previously excluded those professionals working in non-dominant forms or with limited access to mainstream opportunities for training and career pathways.

GOAL 4: To increase and strengthen the capacity of the arts to contribute to our society and economy
We want to draw attention into the huge opportunity that Australia has, as a culturally diverse nation, in leading the way as a key player in the world’s creative economy. Having a diverse arts scene not only will attract local audiences; embracing diversity as our competitive advantage could also strengthen our asset as a major tourism destination in the world. Developing and presenting new cultural product and diverse cultural experiences will make our country more attractive, to local and overseas visitors. This not only will have a direct positive effect on positioning the cultural and arts sector itself, but on the whole local tourism industry and, in consequence, driving economic growth.

4.           What strategies do you think we could use to achieve each of the four goals?
  • Creation and development of arts organisations, programs and networks that   support multicultural arts practice
  • Encouraging artists and arts companies to develop cross-cultural work through national funding initiatives that allow its production, presentation and distribution to the wider community. This needs to be complemented with equal support to the maintenance and custodianship of traditional cultural expressions
  • Promoting international and local creative exchange through the funding of collaborative work and knowledge sharing between local and visiting artists
  • Contributing to a greater multicultural awareness through school curricula in order to increase young Australians´ knowledge and understanding of the diverse cultural expressions that make up Australia, its history, traditions, peoples and institutions; and their appreciation for Australia’s Indigenous cultures and languages
  • Diversification of the sector’s workforce and leadership through ongoing professional development programs with an emphasis on Indigenous and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse artists and arts workers
  •  Building partnerships with arts and social organisations to encourage and enable a higher level of participation in the arts of professional and community artists from recent migrant communities. This can be done, for example, through career pathways and mentorship programs
  • Championing arts organisations that reflect in their programming the rich diversity of Australia’s society
  • Mainstream presenters and broadcasters are encouraged to diversify its programming and curation processes
  • Working collaboratively with media and cultural institutions for building audiences and reaching people whom engagement in the arts is low
  •  Long–term collaborations across all levels of government and between Government agencies

5.  How can you, your organisation or sector contribute to the goals and strategies of the National Cultural Policy?
        GROUNDSWELL can contribute in a number of ways;
  • Participate in further reviews and discussions
  • Provide further information about the multicultural arts sector in NSW
  • Continue to develop its own goals and strategies in line with a National Cultural Policy
  • Continue to see the ongoing formation of a NSW peak or service body that will develop policies in line with a National Cultural Policy
  • Present and promote the National Cultural Policy at its upcoming public events and industry conferences in 2012

©GroundswellCTCS 2011

Arts NSW Research Update

Arts NSW will not be progressing with the Scoping Study for a NSW peak body for multicultural arts. Arts NSW is investigating the feasibility of a research project to ‘scan’ the landscape of current CALD professional arts practice in NSW and will provide further advice on this project in due course. They will be meeting with Groundswell to re-map the project. For everyone who registered for the research during May and June, please stay tuned we aim to utilise the February forum to collect further data and information on the sector needs. 

Thank you again for your incredible responses and support, we will keep you posted as news comes to hand!

Groundswell Fundraiser at La Sala!

The event kicked off with Oscar Jimenez (Watussi) and Angela Rosero (Hispanic Artistic Expression) performing live at La Sala yesterday at Groundswell's fundraising event for NSW Multicultural Forum on 24-25 February 2012.

We raised seed funds for our advertising and promotion and connected with some new people coming on board to support Groundswell's campaign!

Thanks to everyone for your support and stay tuned....

Angela and Oscar at La Sala  29-10-2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

19th July 2011 Committee meeting summary

Groundswell committee meeting summary
Date: 19th July 2011
Location: Musica Viva Australia/Café Carnivale, Surry Hills

With the special participation of Victoria (Vic) Keighery as guest speaker, Groundswell committee met to discuss about its ongoing and future projects.

The following is a summary of the meeting and its outcomes.

1.     Groundswell matters/projects

ARTS NSW RESEARCH: A short update on the process was presented based on the information provided by Arts NSW. At the time of writing, Groundswell has been advised that an open tender process is currently undergoing approval in order to engage an independent consultant to undertake the scoping study.

MULTICULTURAL ARTS FORUM: A potential collaboration between CarriageWorks and Groundswell is underway to present a multicultural arts forum at the CarriageWorks premises on 28 and 29 November 2011. Inputs from attendees & committee members were discussed.  A planning session will be held in August with CarriageWorks’s CEO Lisa Havilah.

2.     Guest Speaker: Victoria (Vic) Keighery

Victoria (Vic) Keighery has worked in the arts since 1977 including positions with the Crafts Councils of Australia and NSW, Australia Council, NSW Community Arts Association, Creative Cultures in Western Sydney and Arts Training Australia. Prior to taking up her current position of Executive Officer for the Dictionary of Sydney, she held the position of CEO for Community Cultural Development NSW, CEO for Regional Arts NSW and the Cultural Policy Officer for the City of Sydney. Based on her extensive experience and knowledge, Vic presented her views on topics such as audiences, funding, sustainability, and needed skills/profile for the development of peak bodies for the arts.

A short paper on the main points arisen by Vic Keighley’s presentation will be posted on this blog shortly. Stay tuned!


Monday, July 4, 2011

June 15 2011 Committee Meeting Summary

Groundswell committee meeting summary
Date: 15th June 2011
Hosted by La Sala, Rozelle

With the support of La Sala - Hispanic Artistic namely Angela Rosero and Alex Palacio, Groundswell committee gathered to review the group’s strategies, develop an action plan and discuss a temporary organisational structure for the upcoming months.

The following is a summary of the meeting and its outcomes.

1. Main strategies and action plan

-   Supporting Arts NSW Scope Study
Groundswell will continue advocating for a multicultural arts policy and peak body by accompanying Arts NSW’s independent research into the sector. At the time of writing, the researcher is still to be appointed.

-   Building and developing Groundswell networks
Groundswell committee members will continue working together with artists and arts organisations in NSW and Australia in building a strong and visible multicultural arts sector across all art-forms. Some projects discussed to implement this strategy are:

  • SAMAG seminar on multicultural arts policy (currently in review by SAMAG committee)
  • 2-3 day forum in October/November hosted by CarriageWorks addressing topics such as vision for the sector, audiences, programming, community/professional practice, etc
  • Fundraising event aiming to raise some funds that allow Groundswell to expand and promote its advocacy activities across the wider community

2.  Temporary organisational structure

Groundswell’s organisational structure will operate transitionally until the research outcomes are known.  The Groundswell Committee is made up of artists, arts workers and organisations that work together to provide advice, direction and actual support in relation to Groundswell’s objectives and strategies. A steering committee will work in conjunction with action groups in developing those strategies and will remain open to new members and ideas.  

Upcoming committee meeting:
Date: Tuesday 19th July
Time: 6.00PM – 8.00PM
Location: Musica Viva Australia (Board room) 120 Chalmers St, Surry Hills (2 min walk from Central station)
Please RSVP to by Monday 18th July. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

ARTS HUB article MONDAY 16 May 2011

Groundswell researching NSW multicultural arts


Following the work of GROUNDSWELL, Arts NSW has approved a Scoping Study to research the need for a peak body and the development of an arts policy for the multicultural arts sector for NSW.
Unlike other states in Australia, NSW is sadly lacking in support for multicultural professional arts practice. While there is a lot of support for emerging artists and communities, says GROUNDSWELL initiator, Annalouise Paul, ‘Where are they going to emerge to?’ There is a need to put a strategic plan in place, so that those who are mid-career now can mentor and support a broadening professional arts practice for those working in the multicultural arts area.
GROUNDSWELL is a sector-driven forum for the ongoing dialogue, promotion, advocacy and development of cultural diversity within professional arts practice in Australian arts and media. They are working with Communities Arts NSW for the establishment of a 'peak advocacy body' and multicultural arts policy.
‘NSW has suffered from a 10 year gap,’ says Paul, falling behind other states. Those who were once involved in advocacy have been burnt out, it had just become 'too hard', and the previous programs such as the Multicultural Arts Alliance and Carnavale have been dismantled. Many of us working in the sector had been doing our own thing without knowing that there were others feeling a similar need for support, says Paul. It needed new blood and serendipitously multicultural arts seems to be back in favour.
The project was initiated thanks to a year of work by Annalouise Paul; with GROUNDSWELL’S first public forum being held last October entitled ‘Creative Thinkers Creative Solutions’. The forum attracted over 50 participants from a wide variety of backgrounds, including artists, arts workers, arts companies and organisations, federal, state and local government authorities. Speakers included Lyndon Terracini, Artistic Director of Opera Australia, Jill Morgan, Executive Officer, Multicultural Arts Victoria, Gary Paramanathan from Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) in Western Sydney that works with emerging and newly arrived communities, and Peter Mousaferiadis, founder and director of Cultural Infusion.
The outcomes of the forum were delivered as a report in November to Virginia Judge MP, then Minister for the Arts, Arts NSW and Australia Council for the Arts. Over the summer meetings were held with (former) Arts Minister MP Virginia Judge and Shadow Arts Minister, Anthony Roberts prior to the NSW election. It seemed the time was right as both political parties were supportive and enthusiastic, Paul says.
Following the submission of a proposal for seed funding to Arts NSW in March 2011, a research study into the needs and issues multicultural arts sector is about to be undertaken and will be conducted by an independent research consultant during June-July 2011.
As well as looking to NSW artists and arts organizations for their involvement the research hopes to study multicultural arts policy and models from around Australia to establish current issues and best practice in the sector.
Groundswell and Communities Arts are seeking the support of independent artists, arts workers and organisations both across metropolitan and regional NSW to participate in the research. People and organisations interested in being part of the research from other states are also welcome.
The committee members of GROUNDSWELL are Annalouise Paul, Zacha Rosen, Vimala Sarma, Monica Scagliarini and Carolina Triana.
The consultant researcher will soon be announced.
To express interest in participating in the research or to register for updates visit the GROUNDSWELL micro-(3 question)-survey click here .
For more info on Arts NSW Scoping Study go to

Original article at Artshub.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Groundswell Committee meeting Wednesday 18 May 2011

Groundswell Committee meeting is happening again this week hosted by UTS Shopfront Community Program. Please join us if you would like to get involved.  ALL WELCOME!

Groundswell Committee meeting
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
UTS Shopfront Community Program
Suite 17 (Rm 16.17), Level 16
UTS Tower Building (Building 1)
University of Technology, Sydney
15 Broadway
T : +61 2 9514 2902  (if you get lost)

For more information on the Arts NSW research and Groundswell go to

$10 Million for Arts Funding
FEDERAL ARTS BUDGET: The Gillard Government has delivered on its election commitment to provide $10 million over five years in new support for young and emerging artists, mid-career and culturally and linguistically diverse arts.



Industry showing + filming of her solo work WHO'S THAT CHIK? on Thursday 26 May. Images of Australian artists of colour are wanted. 

The vision will be projected over her poem "I wrote this show' (see blog for full lyrics) and also feature on the blog. For more details Email: 

Blog: Deadline: Friday May 20th

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Research begins for multicultural arts in NSW

Groundswell is now working with Communities Arts NSW for the establishment of a 'peak advocacy body', and arts policy covering Multicultural Arts. An independent researcher will be engaged to do the study and we are seeking the support of independent artists, arts workers and organisations to help make this happen.  

If you want to express interest in being contacted for the research — or just keep up with our activities and be on the mail list — please fill in our micro-survey, it's only 3 questions! 


Please pass it on to anyone you think might be interested!

Thank you!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

GROUNDSWELL March Meeting Delayed (UPDATED)

Groundswell's bimonthly meeting for March has been delayed one week to next Wednesday, the 9th of March. The location and time are still being arranged. (This post will get updated shortly with the new details.) Anyone interested in multicultural arts is very welcome at the committee meetings — for more information email us at or you can check out some of the speakers and ideas from the initial Groundswell public forum.
UPDATE 2: The start time on Wednesday has been pushed back a little to 5.30pm. All other details remain the same, as below.
Please RSVP for numbers:

UPDATE: The March Groundswell meeting will take place on Wednesday the 9th of March from 4-6pm 5.30pm, at UTS' Shopfront.
Suite 17 (Rm 16.17), Level 16 UTS Tower Building (Building 1) University of Technology, Sydney 15 Broadway Ultimo NSW 2007
For directions, click here.

Groundswell News

Research for multicultural arts sector
After several meetings with Groundswell, Arts NSW is now in discussion with Australia Council to co-fund a research phase to address issues in the multicultural arts sector.

Report and audio files from October forum at

Friday, January 21, 2011


After a very productive first meeting for the year, with a steering committee formed, the dates for continued action are set for 2011. Groundswell aims to lobby, consult and work with Government in the formation of a peak advocacy body for NSW and a multicultural arts policy across media and arts. We are meeting with key individuals and agencies in the upcoming months and will keep you posted. You are welcome to join us for any meetings at any time.
2011 Committee Meeting dates:

Wednesday, 9 March 2011
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
Wednesday, 2 November 2011

UPDATE: A quick photo from the January committee meeting.
Meeting photo square

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Groundswell Committee Meeting - Tuesday 18 January 2011

6.00PM for a 6.30PM start sharp!

6:00pm - 9:00pm
The Opera Centre (Opera Australia)
480 Elizabeth Street, Level 1 (boardroom)
Surry Hills, Australia

Mission statement/values
Sub committee reporting
Minister Judge meeting 
Discussion group meetings

And let's meet in the Clarendon after for a new years drink from 9.15pm!