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'I allow myself a mini-wallow': how to handle rejection in the arts

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ACT announces Minister's Creative Council to advise on arts and music policy

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The ACT government has responded to feedback from the local arts and music sector and set up a ministerial advisory body

Last year the government conducted an online survey, which received 79 submissions and four roundtables which drew 57 people.

It has set up the Minister’s Creative Council to provide advice and test ideas.

It will be made up of up to 12 members of Canberra’s arts community, who must have demonstrated experience in such areas as music, visual arts and craft, dance, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and cultures, theatre, circus, literature, and community arts and cultural development.

It is calling on those from multicultural backgrounds, representatives from LGBTQI+ communities, and people who identify as a person with a disability or have lived experience of mental illness.

According to a statement from the minister for the arts and community events Gordon Ramsay, the Council “is a positive, solutions-focused, Ministerial advisory body for the arts in Canberra.

“The MCC is a two-way conduit of information and provides strategic advice to the ACT Government on the arts and sector issues

“The MCC assists the Government to develop arts policies in order to promote and advance the arts across government and community, reflecting the importance of the arts to all.

“The minister for the arts and community events will use the MCC in its capacity as an advisory body to explore and test ideas.

“The MCC will provide advice on matters referred to the council directly by the minister.”

Expressions of interest are now open until August 24 at the Arts ACT website.

At last year’s roundtables, among the reasons given for an advisory body were that it would develop a better understanding of the arts community, and its needs in order to establish priorities and create a focused arts policy like a strategic five-year plan including measurable targets.

Such a body would generate greater communicate between the territory’s arts bodies, work on the need for funding, be a lobby group, keep up with trends, identify issues, and represent as diverse as possible the creative sector.

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Arts NMPs contribute significantly to S'pore

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Many in the arts community are worried that a new Nominated Member of Parliament representing the arts sector will not be appointed after incumbent Kok Heng Leun steps down next month.

We at Arts Engage, a group concerned with the arts policies of the Government, believe that the absence of an arts NMP would be a big loss. This is because Mr Kok and his two predecessors played a role that was important not just for the arts, but also for wider Singapore.

First, the three arts NMPs to date have made significant contributions in Parliament not just on the ever-growing arts, culture and heritage sectors, but also on other matters of national concern.

For instance, Mr Kok, during his two years, filed more than 50 parliamentary questions on issues ranging from education to foreign workers, suicide, child welfare, public order, national service and the disadvantaged.

Similarly, Ms Audrey Wong, who served from 2009 to 2011, and Ms Janice Koh, from 2012 to 2014, also gave voice to a wide spectrum of national issues. For example, Ms Koh highlighted the importance of literature as an O-level subject and tuition, which sparked extensive debates on the education system.

It is our view that arts NMPs have always been among the most engaged, forthright, independent and incisive of the NMPs, fulfilling the scheme’s aim of bringing in alternative views to legislature.

Second, the grassroots manner in which the arts NMPs were chosen by their “constituencies” is unique among NMPs.

It is not done behind the scenes but by an open, transparent and democratic process before fellow artists, and is endorsed by voting.

To be sure, an arts NMP does not represent the whole arts community.

But the ground-up process involving active, engaged citizens ensures that they speak with a part of the sector behind them.

That Parliament has so far appointed the three candidates supported by the arts community shows that it, too, believes in their legitimacy. Unfortunately, Parliament in 2014 did not appoint an arts NMP between the terms of Ms Koh and Mr Kok.

This time around, two candidates came forward at a town hall meeting of artists in June: Dr Woon Tien Wei and Dr Felicia Low. We hope that the Special Select Committee will appoint one of them.

Jonathan Heng

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Photos: Piedmont Park Arts Festival

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  1. Photos: Piedmont Park Arts Festival  Atlanta Journal Constitution
  2. Full coverage



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