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News September 28, 2020

New survey unearths motivations for First Nations musicians

New survey unearths motivations for First Nations musicians

A new survey of First Nations musicians has found that their primary motivation is to inspire other First Nations artists and to build bridges with non-First Nations people.

The survey was conducted by the Australia Council before COVID-generated challenges, with 79% revealing their mission was to inspire other First Nations artists.

Also of major importance, at 72%, was the opportunity to “educate, challenge and build understanding” with non-First Nations people.

Creating pathways for the next generation of First Nations talent also ranked high, at 69%.

Challenges identified by respondents included the lack of financial return (73%), lack of time to do creative work (56%) and lack of access to funding or financial support (52%).

The greatest needs were financial assistance (66%), recognition by the wider music industry (63%) and more networking opportunities (60%).

Australia Council’s executive director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts, Lydia Miller, said the survey provided a timely glimpse into the experience of First Nations musicians.

“The survey results provide insights to inform the music industry as it recovers, rebuilds and looks to the future – a future in which First Nations talent and artistry is nurtured, celebrated and central in the music industry and Australia’s culture,” she said.

Miller emphasised that First Nations music plays a critical role in Australian music.

“The future growth of the First Nations music sector requires First Nations artists to be at the centre of dialogue and decision-making, driving the creative vision and empowered to step into their role as custodians of the oldest musical practice in the world, ensuring that the next generation can benefit through creativity and participate in a cultural future,” she said.

The Australia Council recognises the need to invest in and develop this sector to ensure opportunities for First Nations music artists continue to grow, and pointed out it had a number of initiatives in place.

The First Nations Emerging Career Development Award offers professional development for 18—30-year-olds. There will be two awards of $10,000. The deadline for applications is 3pm on September 28.

Funding via Cherish It and the First Nations Contemporary Music Program closes on October 5.

Five artists get the chance to create new music via the ARIA-PPCA-Australia Council First Nations Sound Recording Partnership, with a deadline of October 20. There are five grants of $18,500 available.

And nominations are open for the 2021 First Nations Arts Awards until December 7 for a Red Ochre award for outstanding lifetime achievement or the Dreaming for an emerging artist.


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