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Australian arts managers look to NZ for answers

Thu, 21 Oct 2004

Creative New Zealand Press Release

Australian arts managers look to New Zealand for answers

Australian arts managers are looking to New Zealand for lessons for success in the arts.

Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Elizabeth Kerr chaired a panel discussion at the Australian Institute of Arts Management (AIAM) symposium: The Art of Possibility: {Enabling} Art in an Age of Anxiety in Melbourne this week.

The AIAM hopes to consider lessons offered by New Zealand. The session chaired by Miss Kerr, Lessons from New Zealand - Imagination, Economic Development and Why Size Doesn't Matter will share some New Zealand arts success stories. Other New Zealanders in the panel discussion were the Director of the World of Wearable Art Awards, Suzie Moncrief and the awards' Chief Executive Gabrielle Hervey, playwright Briar Grace Smith and Mike Chun, Chief Executive of the Play it Strange Trust.

"Australia seems very interested in New Zealand and the way it is positioning itself through its arts and innovative work," says Ms Kerr.

The AIAM leads debate and discussion on trends and issues in arts management and produces a biennial symposium, which features speakers from across the Australian and the international community.

Featuring some of Australia and New Zealand's managers, promoters, curators and creators of art/cultural work, this year's symposium wants to find new ways to encourage government, business, the media, presenters and audiences to support innovative art.

"Rather than giving lessons, I see this as an exciting opportunity to be able to share some of New Zealand's success stories," Miss Kerr said of her presentation at the symposium.

"New Zealand artists need international markets and audiences. With a small population of only 4 million our domestic markets are constrained by size. In recent years, Creative New Zealand has been increasing its investment in audience and market development projects."

"We have a strong relationship with our Australian colleagues and are working co-operatively with the Australia Council in our market development initiatives, particularly in international strategies."

Miss Kerr told the Australian audience that in New Zealand an attitudinal change towards the arts had taken place in the past five years, and that other sectors such as science, conservation, economic development, trade, education and others now looked to the creative sector to enrich their work.

Miss Kerr also told delegates that while New Zealanders are well aware of global trends they also feel somewhat removed from global anxiety, and that many tourists view New Zealand as a safe haven.

"But safety is only one factor. Tourism New Zealand acknowledges that our cultural offerings are an important point of difference, our unique identity in the global community," says Miss Kerr.

As part of her presentation Miss Kerr displayed images of the work of New Zealand artists such as Neil Dawson, Raewyn Hill, Indian Ink, Black Grace, Manos Nathan, Erenora Puketapu-Hetet and King Kapisi. Briar Grace-Smith read from her recent writings, Mike Chun played excerpts of songs by teenage songwriters and the World of Wearable Arts leaders told the story of the WOW phenomenon since its beginnings in the 1980s.


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