Support for international cooperation and engagement
All levels of government in Australia provide support for international cooperation in the field of culture.
The Australian Government engages in cultural exchange and cultural diplomacy, and supports activities which build awareness and understanding of Australian arts and culture overseas, activities which promote awareness and understanding of the arts and culture of other countries within Australia, and projects and partnerships that build the capacity of Australian artists and arts organisations and their counterparts in other countries. Support is provided to developing countries through cultural diplomacy-related grants and through aid programs.
The Australian Government supports a diverse range of artists and arts organisations to engage internationally. This support is provided through grants and programs that enable artists and arts organisations to develop and tour their work overseas and to undertake professional development opportunities through residencies, fellowships and participation in international arts and cultural fora, festivals and markets. Grants and programs are also established to bring in works and artists from overseas for activities such as exhibitions, participation in festivals, and professional development.
State and territory governments encourage international cultural cooperation and cultural exchange through a variety of similar and complementary programs at the state and territory level, which are administered by a number of government agencies. This includes agencies with responsibility for the arts and culture, major events, business development and tourism.
Local governments may also provide targeted support for international cooperation activities.
Measures are implemented through a range of complementary policies and programs across government, at local, state and federal levels.
In addition to being party to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Australia is party to the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The Ministry for the Arts administers movable cultural property legislation to implement the Convention, which regulates the export of Australia's significant cultural property and protects foreign cultural property by allowing foreign governments to request the return of cultural property that has been illegally taken from their country and imported into Australia.
The Ministry for the Arts undertakes a range of international cultural engagement initiatives, including cultural diplomacy programs and negotiating agreements to support international engagement in arts and culture.
- Through the Ministry for the Arts the Government of Australia negotiates international agreements which facilitate greater cooperation in the fields of arts and culture. Recent agreements include a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of India to enhance cooperation in areas of arts, culture and heritage, which was signed in November 2014. In November 2014, Australia also agreed to negotiate a new three-yearly Implementation Plan with China (from 2016-18) under the Agreement on Cultural Co-operation between the Government of Australia and the Government of the People’s Republic of China (29 April 1981).
- The Ministry for the Arts provides one-off grants to support international initiatives.
- The Ministry for the Arts administers the Australian Government International Exhibitions Insurance Program, which provides funding to support insurance costs for major international touring exhibitions. Since the Program was introduced in 2009-10, it has contributed to the insurance costs for 18 touring exhibitions.
- The Ministry for the Arts assesses potential co-production partner countries and negotiates treaties and less-than-treaty arrangements in consultation with government and industry stakeholders under the Australian International Co-Production Program (part of the Australian Government's Audio-visual Program). The program is administered by Screen Australia. The objective of audio-visual co-production treaties and less-than-treaty arrangements is to foster cultural development and cultural exchange by facilitating international audio-visual co-productions. Under the International Co-production Program, Australia has entered into film and audio-visual co-production agreements with twelve countries: Canada, China, France, Germany, the Republic of Korea, Ireland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
- The Australian Government has contributed $500,000 towards an education program which will be developed by the Islamic Museum of Australia. The education resources will endeavour to promote an understanding about Islam in Australia and will be based on the Museum’s collection of art and cultural material. The education programme will showcase the contribution that has been made by Muslims in Australia and across the world to the development of civilisation and in particular to the development of the multicultural fabric of Australia. This education programme will help to build stronger communities by promoting understanding of different cultural beliefs and traditions, and developing a stronger appreciation of the positive contribution different cultures have made to Australian society.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) delivers numerous international cultural engagement initiatives, including cultural diplomacy programs which aim to engage overseas audiences through the delivery of high-quality and innovative arts and cultural promotions to increase their understanding of Australia's contemporary identity, values, interests and policies.
- Directly supporting the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, DFAT administers grants for activities which foster cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue through the Australian National Commission for UNESCO grants scheme.
- DFAT provides grants to foster professional, community and institutional linkages between Australia and its partners on contemporary issues of shared interest, including the arts, media, education, science, technology and social development initiatives, such as health and sport. DFAT supports a range of bilateral and regional foundations, councils and institutes, which manage the majority of these grants. These bodies include the Australia-India Council, the Council for Australian-Arab Relations and the Australia Japan Foundation.
- DFAT runs country-specific cultural programs which aim to strengthen and deepen ties through integrated events and activities in the performing arts, visual arts, literature and film. In recent years, country specific cultural programs have been held in China (2010), Korea (2011), India (2012), Vietnam (2013) and Indonesia (2014). Future programs will be held in Turkey (2015) and Brazil (2016).
The Australia Council, the Australian Government's principal arts funding body, provides grants for artists to support international engagement activities, including for arts practice, residencies, fellowships, professional development and the presentation and promotion of work internationally. Examples of recent international activities supported by the Australia Council include Australia's representation at the Venice Biennale, and the unveiling of a work by Aboriginal artist Lena Nyadbi, entitled 'Dayiwul Lirlmim' (Barramundi Scales) on the rooftop of the Musée du quai Branly in Paris.
Austrade is the Australian Government’s international trade, education and investment promotion agency. It administers a Creative Industries Export Program, which provides assistance to artists and arts businesses to export their cultural content to various forums and trade fairs overseas. Examples include supporting Australian musicians to attend and showcase their music at industry events such as the South by SouthWest Music Fair in the US, and supporting visual artists to showcase their art through Australian art galleries at the Korean International Art Fair. Austrade also administers the Export Market Development Grants scheme, which provides financial assistance to aspiring and current Australian exporters.
The Sounds Australia initiative delivers a range of high quality events at key international music markets to showcase and build the profile of Australian artists and the music industry. Similarly, Ausfilm connects the international film community with Australia’s screen incentives, talent and facilities, and manages annual events such as Ausfilm Week in London and Los Angeles. Sounds Australia and Ausfilm are funded by the Australian Government in partnership with state governments and industry.
State and territory governments encourage international cultural cooperation and cultural exchange through a variety of complementary programs at the state and territory level, which are administered by a number of government agencies. This includes agencies with responsibility for the arts and culture, major events, business development and tourism.
Local governments may also provide targeted support for international cultural cooperation and exchange.
One challenge is in coordinating the international activities that are being delivered by different government agencies to ensure resources are allocated effectively and outcomes are maximised.
Monitoring and evaluation is commonly conducted on determining the efficacy of policies and programs in Australia. A range of monitoring and reporting mechanisms are used.