Australia-Papua New Guinea Network
The Australia-Papua New Guinea Network is an initiative to build stronger people-to-people links between Australia and Papua New Guinea and raise awareness of the relationship between the two countries. The Network aims to strengthen existing connections across areas as diverse as arts, culture, business, civil society, sport, education, media, religion, and development. It also provides a point of contact for individuals and organisations wanting to learn about operating in either country, generating opportunities or simply wanting to find out more about Australia and Papua New Guinea. The Network is run by the Lowy Institute and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
The Network has been created to bring together as many different organisations interested in Australia and Papua New Guinea as possible. It can assist organisations and individuals to promote their work, connect with partners in Australia or Papua New Guinea and increase understanding of and interest in the relationship in both countries. The Network does this through a series of events, website and related social media platforms.
Connecting Papua New Guinea and Australia through the Arts
As part of the Australia-PNG Network program, the Lowy Institute hosted a workshop to strengthen ties between Indigenous artists in Australia and Papua New Guinea. The workshop brought together 20 participants from major cultural organisations, community organisations, art dealers, administrators, artists, and curators from both countries to explore co-operation in the arts sector in three main discussion sessions:
- Links between the two countries
- Experiences of Australian Indigenous artists and models that could be applied in PNG, including the protection of Indigenous artists’ intellectual and cultural property, and
- Measures to promote interest in PNG’s arts and culture and the need to protect traditional culture in PNG.
- Building people-to-people linkages
- Education and public awareness
- Promotion of international cooperation
- Enhancing cultural awareness
- Cultural sector development (specific to the Connecting Papua New Guinea and Australia through the Arts example).
- A$1 million (2017-2020) for the Australia-Papua New Guinea Network
The first phase of the program (2014-16) was evaluated in mid-2016 in order to provide input into the design of the second stage. The evaluation was an internal evaluation drawing on stakeholder reports of their engagement with the Network.
The main conclusions were that the Network was performing well, but that there would be more value in increasing the number and range of face-to-face events. There were also suggestions about improving the website, which resulted in a review and redesign of the website by Lowy.
With regard to the Connecting Papua New Guinea and Australia through the Arts workshop, participants committed to ongoing networking and communication to develop some of the ideas discussed. The ideas included how the indigenous arts centre model in Australia might be applied or supported in PNG, identifying and fostering arts administration and skills in PNG, increasing engagement in arts festivals and events in both countries, and the potential for exchanges or visits to build the links between artists and administrators.