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Australia Council announces new Chief Executive

Australia Council announces new Chief Executive
October 12, 2018

The Australia Council for the Arts has today announced the appointment of Adrian Collette as its next Chief Executive.

Currently employed as the Vice-Principal (Engagement) at the University of Melbourne, Collette's career has also included a 16 year stint as Opera Australia's Chief Executive and 10 years in the publishing sector.

Announcing the appointment, Australia Council Chair, Sam Walsh advised “Adrian is an outstanding leader who brings a wealth of experience and unwavering passion for the arts to this role. He also brings deep knowledge of the Council through his valuable contribution as a Council Board member.

“We are very confident that Adrian will deftly steer the Australia Council through its next exciting chapter, ensuring the Council’s ongoing commitment to the arts enriching the lives of all Australians.”

Collette was appointed by a selection panel following a recruitment process involving an external executive recruitment agency.

Welcoming his new role, Collette advised “I am honoured to take the reins of this exceptional organisation with which I have had a close connection for decades. I acknowledge the great achievements of those in whose footsteps I follow, not least Tony Grybowski who has taken the Council through its most significant transformation in its 50 year history.

“I am looking forward to working with the Council Executive and staff to continue our important work of championing and investing in the arts so that the great benefits of the arts may be experienced by all Australians.

“Creative endeavour is increasingly being recognised as essential to more vibrant, prosperous and inclusive societies. I believe we need to listen to all our communities and respond with fresh approaches to supporting Australian arts and culture. This means opening doors to support for new forms, diverse practice and celebrating our extraordinary First Nations arts.”

Collette's current role at the University of Melbourne includes the oversight of the University’s museums and galleries and its many arts sector partnerships. His recent achievements and work in building the University’s civic engagement will be an excellent foundation to further the Council’s ongoing advocacy for the public value of the arts and their place in the lives of all Australians.

He has developed a close collaboration with the University’s indigenous leaders and scholars, particularly around the development of the University’s partnership with indigenous communities. His experience as a member of the Australia Council Board since 1st July 2013 and as Chair of the Major Performing Arts Panel will also provide significant advantages in his new role.

He was made a member of the Order of Australia in 2008 for service to the performing arts particularly through executive roles with Opera Australia, as a mentor to young artists, to publishing and to the community.

Commenting on the appointment, Nicole Beyer, Executive Director of Theatre Network Australia told ArtsHub “Theatre Network Australia is keen to see how Adrian will live and breathe the Australia Council’s goals: supporting touring and exchange, supporting artists, making the arts accessible to all, and most importantly, putting First People first.

“We hope that Adrian’s number one job is to remove the $300,000 cap on four-year funded organisations, and return project grant funding to 2012/13 levels.”

Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) Chief Executive Paul Murphy added “MEAA looks forward to engaging with the new CEO of the Australia Council to ensure that both small and large companies and projects receive appropriate arts funding.

“The last few years have been tumultuous for the arts community following the slashing of the Australia Council’s budget in 2015, which forced some small companies out of operation, and the creation of the shortlived Catalyst Fund in the office of the Arts Minister.

“Confidence in the sector has been slowly rebuilt over the past two years, but the upcoming review of funding for major performing arts companies has created further uncertainty.

“MEAA will be making strong representations to the review on behalf of our members who work for the state symphony orchestras, Opera Australia, and other MPAs.”

Related Articles

24th September 2018 - Australia Council backs arts and disability with significant new funding

15th May 2018 - Australia Council supports more than 200 diverse arts projects and national tours

4th May 2018 - Philanthropist Sam Walsh announced as new Chair for Australia Council Board

13th August 2017 - 2018 Australia Council Awards and National Indigenous Arts Awards open for nominations

10th May 2017 - Federal Budget confirms return of Australia Council arts funds

18th October 2016 - Research reveals alarming findings about mental health of Australian entertainment industry workers

31st August 2016 - Indigenous performances shunned by arts sector

13th May 2016 - CAST calls on Federal Government to reinstate Australia Council funds

10th May 2016 - Australia Council announces $11.2 million backing for artists and arts projects

1st April 2016 - Australia Council invests in a new generation of arts leaders

30th September 2015 - Australia Council report highlights the value of international arts investment

21st May 2015 - Australia Council begins cuts to programs following the Federal Budget

18th May 2015 - Artists campaign against Government’s Australia Council funding change

20th January 2015 - Australia Council announces new Directors

25th June 2014 - Australia Council promotes disability leadership in the arts

14th March 2013 - Australia Council receives major funding boost under National Cultural Policy

23rd November 2012 - Australia Council Chief Executive to step down


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