Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Boosting Indigenous participation in arts management

Boosting Indigenous participation in arts management
September 21, 2012

The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra is aiming to ensure that more Indigenous people are involved in professional roles in the art world.

The NGA recently invited a group of artistically-minded Indigenous people from around the country to learn how things work at the top end of town, including Indigenous artist Robert Fielding who travelled from Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands in far north-west South Australia to the Capital to take part in the NGA's Indigenous leadership program, sponsored by Wesfarmers Arts.

Fielding explained "I live in a remote community and it's about leaving family, but it's up to the individual to want to go away.

"There's a lot of good people out there who can do these sorts of jobs, but they have to leave their families which is the hardest part".

Fielding is now part of a group of art enthusiasts - who are involved in either curating, creating or educating about art - who were selected for the annual program.

The 10 day program, now in its third year, is designed to show participants where working in artistic fields can lead giving participants an insight into the behind the scenes running of the NGA and career guidance from experienced arts professionals.

Fielding says the program allows Aboriginal artists to "take control (in order) to get understanding of how we can better ourselves in visual arts and to come and work in galleries of Australia."

This year, an artist from Boggabilla in New South Wales, a curator at the Koori Heritage Trust in Melbourne, an artist and tutor from Launceston and a digital officer at the State Library of Queensland are among those involved in the program.

One of last year's students has already leapt to new heights.

Brad Harkin became interested in art installation because it allowed him to blend his trade background with his interest in visual arts.

Harkin joined the leadership program in 2011, befriended the NGA's installers, and ended up helping to install an exhibition of Renaissance art last summer.

He explained "you're learning from some of the top installation people in the country.

"The learning curve is quite steep but they're very welcoming and keen to pass on that information and experience."

Harkin recently returned ton Canberra to encourage the new intake, and to undertake a year-long fellowship at the NGA, worth $50,000.

He is planning to open a studio gallery business back home in Adelaide one day - and to focus on Indigenous professional development, to help other Aboriginal art workers just as the NGA's programs have helped him.

Together, the leadership program and the longer fellowships are designed to boost the number of Indigenous people working in the arts - not only as artists but also in the business side of the industry.

Past participants have gone on to gain professional roles in cultural heritage and the arts, to study arts-related fields at university and one has even set up her own communications business.

For more information go to

Image shows the Aboriginal Memorial at the National Gallery of Australia.

Related Articles

28th March 2012 - Inaugural indigenous tourism conference starts

7th July 2011 - ATEC welcomes extra support for indigenous tourism

21st October 2010 - Extension opening launches new era for National Gallery of Australia

22nd July 2010 - ‘New Look’ National Gallery of Australia Set to Open

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Recreation Management Software for managing all your program registrations, facility bookings, membership pass sales and Point of Sale; including detailed reporting, automated customer communication…

read more

Access / Billing / Finance / Marketing / Technology



SICO is at the forefront in innovative mobile folding and rolling, space efficient tables, stages, dance floors and many other products which help our customers optimise their use of space. Image…

read more

Entertainment / Events / Venues



ICP is an Australian-based company focused on indoor climbing. ICP will manage your project from initial design to completion and beyond, whether you're building an international-level climbing…

read more

Attractions / Fitness / Recreation



Digonex is a leading provider of customised dynamic pricing solutions to clients in arts and entertainment, sport, attractions, cultural institutions and retail sectors. Digonex’s technology is…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Sport / Technology / Ticketing



Solarwise NSW / Dolphin Tech were the first and are the largest Dolphin dealer in NSW with a full service facility and full range of spare parts "on the shelf". We also provide on site…

read more

Aquatics / Venues



Hidroplay welcomes you to the exciting world of children's Playscapes, waterslide's and Water Attractions. Appealing to families, Hidroplay increases patronage in your facility during those…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Recreation


Centaman Entrance Control

Turnstile Entry Systems and Access Control Centaman Entrance Controls’ Award Winning Range of Access Control Systems includes tripod & triarm turnstiles, speedgates, full height…

read more

Access / Entertainment / Sport / Ticketing / Venues


Enta Australasia

As of the 1st July 2018, Enta Australasia Pty Ltd/Best Union has been rebranded as VIVATICKET Pty Ltd.  Click here to view the VIVATICKET Pty Ltd listing.  19th July 2018 - ENTA…

read more

Technology / Ticketing / Venues


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business