First Nations Arts and Culture

Mary Katatjuku Pan from Amata (SA) with Punu Kutjara. 2016. Image by Rhett Hammerton. Copyright Tjanpi Desert Weavers, NPY Women’s Council

First Nations Arts and Culture are a rich contribution to the world’s culture, and to Australia’s diverse contemporary culture and national identity.

First Nations arts include classical, traditional and contemporary practice, including all new forms of cultural expression. This is applied across all art forms and in urban, regional and remote areas.

The Australia Council for the Arts regards First Nations cultures as living forces with their own strengths and influences, not as remnants of the past. We aim to make these cultural expressions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a source of pride for all Australians.

The value of First Nations activity to individuals, families and communities is significant culturally, socially and economically, and its potential is significant in all communities. Research by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and the Telstra Foundation about the role of First Nations festivals highlighted not only the economic benefits but improved well-being, as people reported that they had an increase in cultural pride and self-esteem stemming from a sense of inclusion and cultural identity.


Purrumpa

The Australia Council, together with the First Nations Strategy Panel, has officially launched Purrumpa – set to be the largest national gathering of First Nations arts and culture in 50 years.

Purrumpa will be held over five days on Kaurna Yerta at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 31 October to 4 November 2022.

Learn more about Purrumpa.


Protocols for using First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts.

First published in 2002 and revised in 2007, this protocol guide endorses the rights of Indigenous people to their cultural heritage and supports Indigenous creative practice. This protocol guide encourages self-determination and helps build a strong and diverse Indigenous arts sector. These are key goals and priority areas of the Australia Council for the Arts.

Creative practitioners who work with Indigenous artists or engage with Indigenous cultural heritage in projects, and are funded by Australia Council for the Arts grant assessment panels are required to comply with this protocol guide as a condition of funding.

Over the years, the principles and protocols contained in this protocol guide have also been applied nationally and internationally – educating readers and users on Indigenous Australian cultural heritage, and encouraging meaningful collaborations with Indigenous artists and creators.

Funding

Funding is dedicated to First Nations people, groups and organisations. This funding is assessed wholly by First Nations peers.

First Nations people, groups and organisations are welcome to make applications for activities with vibrancy in artistic and cultural expressions.

Need help with your application? Contact a Grants Officer now


Impacts of COVID-19 on First Nations arts and culture

This paper outlines the immediate and longer term needs, concerns and potentially catastrophic impacts for First Nations arts and culture in light of COVID-19. This includes potential for the most significant loss of arts, culture and language since the arrival of the First Fleet. Drawing on research and sector intelligence, the paper highlights opportunities for First Nations arts specific support and cross-portfolio advocacy and engagement.

Closing the Gap

The Australia Council’s submission to the Closing the Gap Refresh advocates for increased investment in First Nations arts and cultural expression, cultural maintenance, and First Nations-led culturally based solutions across portfolios. It draws on the growing body of evidence showing participation in arts and culture supports outcomes across the Closing the Gap framework.

Our submission was developed in collaboration with our First Nations stakeholders. First Nations peoples’ indivisible rights to culture and self-determination are central in our submission. For decades, First Nations peoples have advocated for the critical role of culture – as a necessary part of the solution to First Nations disadvantage, and for the healing and strengthening of individuals and communities. However, culture has been the missing element from the Closing the Gap framework to date. Funding for First Nations culture made up just 1% of total direct government expenditure for First Nations Australians in 2015–16, and cultural outcomes have not featured in the measurement framework.

Now is the moment to invest in the inherent value and foundational role of strong culture in the Closing the Gap agenda.

Click here to read more.


Mary Katatjuku Pan from Amata (SA) with Punu Kutjara. 2016. Image by Rhett Hammerton. Copyright Tjanpi Desert Weavers

Opportunities for First Nations Artists


Open

Arts Projects for Individuals and Groups

Closing Date:

September 6, 2022 3:00 pm (AEST)

$10,000 to $50,000

This program funds a range of activities that deliver benefits to the arts sector and wider public, including national and international audiences and communities.

View opportunity
Open

Arts Projects for Organisations

Closing Date:

September 6, 2022 3:00 pm (AEST)

$20,000 to $100,000

This program funds a range of activities that deliver benefits to the arts sector and wider public, including national and international audiences and communities. Organisations that undertake arts programs, projects, or that provide services to artists, are welcome to apply.

View opportunity
Open

Contemporary Music Touring Program

Closing Date:

September 6, 2022 3:00 pm (AEST)

$5,000 – $50,000

The Contemporary Music Touring Program (CMTP) supports national touring activity undertaken by Australian musicians performing original contemporary music.

View opportunity
Open

Fellowships

Closing Date:

September 6, 2022 3:00 pm (AEST)

$80,000

Australia Council Fellowships of $80,000 support outstanding, established artists’ or arts workers’ creative activity and professional development for a period of up to two years.

View opportunity
Open

CINARS 2022 Biennale

Closing Date:

September 6, 2022 3:00 pm (AEST)

Established in 1984, taking place every two years, CINARS is one of the most important international showcases and networking events attracting over 1900 performing arts professionals from around the globe.

View opportunity
Open

International Engagement Fund

Closing Date:

September 6, 2022 3:00 pm (AEST)

Our vision is for Australian arts, culture and creativity to be thriving and known globally for its innovation, sustainability and diversity.

View opportunity
Closed

Call for Digital Strategists

We are currently seeking proposals for digital strategists and creative technologists to consult with arts organisations on digital strategy and transformation.

View opportunity
Closed

Digital Transformation for the Creative Industries

Digital Transformation for the Creative Industries is an online short course designed specifically for artists and arts and creative workers it is best suited for those with a beginner or intermediate understanding of the digital space as it relates to the creative industries.

View opportunity

Open

Arts Projects for Individuals and Groups

$10,000 to $50,000

This program funds a range of activities that deliver benefits to the arts sector and wider public, including national and international audiences and communities.
Open

Arts Projects for Organisations

$20,000 to $100,000

This program funds a range of activities that deliver benefits to the arts sector and wider public, including national and international audiences and communities. Organisations that undertake arts programs, projects, or that provide services to artists, are welcome to apply.
Open

Contemporary Music Touring Program

$5,000 – $50,000

The Contemporary Music Touring Program (CMTP) supports national touring activity undertaken by Australian musicians performing original contemporary music.
Open

Fellowships

$80,000

Australia Council Fellowships of $80,000 support outstanding, established artists’ or arts workers’ creative activity and professional development for a period of up to two years.
Open

CINARS 2022 Biennale

Established in 1984, taking place every two years, CINARS is one of the most important international showcases and networking events attracting over 1900 performing arts professionals from around the globe.
Open

International Engagement Fund

Our vision is for Australian arts, culture and creativity to be thriving and known globally for its innovation, sustainability and diversity.
Closed

Call for Digital Strategists

We are currently seeking proposals for digital strategists and creative technologists to consult with arts organisations on digital strategy and transformation.
Closed

Digital Transformation for the Creative Industries

Digital Transformation for the Creative Industries is an online short course designed specifically for artists and arts and creative workers it is best suited for those with a beginner or intermediate understanding of the digital space as it relates to the creative industries.