Selling Yarns 2

Innovation for sustainability



More than Money

Session: Museums as drivers for innovative practice Saturday 7 March 2009 9:05 - 10:30am

Trish Barnard

Senior Curator, Indigenous Studies, Queensland Museum


The arts and crafts produced by Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, are the embodiment of creative expression, particularly in Queensland where they reflect the States uniqueness and geographic diversity. Queensland is the only state to have two distinct Indigenous cultural groups, and includes the unparalleled cultures from the rainforest groups of north Queensland.

The Queensland Government is currently developing the 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Strategy' to encourage and support the arts industry and promote cultural retention. In Queensland, more Indigenous people have an occupation in the visual arts or crafts than any other state or territory, and 30 percent live in remote areas. This Strategy will play an integral role in developing and promoting community identity and is committed to providing opportunities.

'More than Money' focuses on concerns from an Indigenous perspective, and how the success of the strategy will be evaluated. Although the strategy was developed in consultation with representatives from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups with significant experience in the arts industry, questions remain about the 'life after' funded projects. What role will the art and craft centres play in the community? What type of networking and partnerships are envisaged? How will young and emerging artists and arts workers be supported and what skills, training or education will be implemented? What direction will Indigenous arts and crafts take, and what is the potential for enterprise and continuity to achieve sustainability?

In response to these questions, a comparative overview will be presented on two art centres in North Queensland and Cape York and respond to these questions. In this process it is essential to understand that each art and craft centre identifies different needs and therefore often difficult to apply blanket strategies. Fundamentally, the key component for the success of these initiates is the culture of the community and ownership of the direction their art and craft production takes.

See also: Trish Barnard's biography