Advocacy, policy and action for an Australian arts sector that's ambitious and fair

Exhale.

After the massive month we’ve all just been through, take the time to reflect on you this month. The season is cool and rewards cosy self-care. It’s so important. 

What a massive month we’ve all just been through.  We’ve listened to political candidates trying to win us over with rigorous policy, emotive appeal, grand vision, bland attack or just blatant lies. We’ve watched organisations focused on the public good trying their best to put forward the case for urgent action on First Nations voice and culture, the climate emergency, public health and education, infrastructure, and of course the arts.  

We’ve all done our best to contribute to the public discussion in small ways and big.  

And we’ve done all that on top of dedication to a practice, having to justify its value, and just getting by and making do in the best ways we know how. 

Ok. Deep breath.  

Exhale.  

Time to focus on care for the self with just as much dedication and care as all of that.  

How do you make the time to examine your practice critically, carefully and honestly? 

Where is your practice at? Are you struggling to find the time or headspace to get to that place of deep focus? Or are you too immersed in it to step away and see what others are making and showing? 

Did you get some good exercise today? Are you eating well? Did you get the chance to talk to someone about that thing that’s been troubling you? 

Who are your peers? What is your network? How do you draw strength from one another? How do you make it ok to take solitude when you need it? 

Each year I make myself a critical practice retreat – I need it, I crave it and I draw a great deal of strength from it – and while that week is private with little outward communication, I’ve written quite a bit about these retreats, and with thanks to WritingWA, I’ll be speaking about them at the WA Writing and Publishing Sector Forum on 20-21 June. See you there? 

Ahead of that, First Nations artists and arts practitioners are invited to join Georgia Mokak, our First Nations Engagement Coordinator, for  SHARE. EAT. CONNECT. as part of the public program for OK Democracy, We Need to Talk at Campbelltown Arts Centre. This is a day of First Nations led dialogues and workshops about self-advocacy and self-care, and how to navigate this as a practicing artist today. Registration is free and First Nations peoples are invited to book here as spaces are limited

Speaking of reflecting. This week NAVA held our Annual General Meeting: our formal reflection on the year that was, and our board member elections and appointments where vacancies exist. This year we’re so thrilled to welcome Genevieve Grieves and Wesley Enoch. It’s also a deeply grateful farewell to Amala Groom, Peter White and Terry Wu – we’re so thankful for everything you’ve contributed across your years on the board. Huge, huge thanks from all of us. 

This week we also welcomed Peter Fletcher as the Australian Government’s new Minister for the Arts. Peter comes to the role with a long history at Parliament House, including as chief of staff to a former arts minister and parliamentary secretary to a former communications minister. Peter believes in evidence-based policy, his partner is a jeweller, and he’s already announced how much he’s looking forward to working with “Australia’s vibrant and critically important arts sector”

So why not take a moment to introduce Minister Fletcher to your practice? We’ve updated the NAVA Advocacy Toolkit with an introductory letter to get you on your way. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook and send a greeting there. There’s guidance in the Toolkit on how to go about that.  

Most importantly: take the time to reflect on you this month. The season is cool and rewards cosy self-care. It’s so important. 

There’s so much to do together this year, so rest up, recharge, and be ready to join in as little or as much as you’d like.  

Nighty night…

Image: Tony Albert, Wesley Enoch and Esther Anatolitis in conversation at NAVA's Political Confusion, Artistic Courage at UTS Gallery, 19 March 2019 as part of Art Month Sydney. Photo by Tanja Bruckner.