News November 16, 2020

Music Tasmania CEO Laura Harper to depart

Music Tasmania CEO Laura Harper to depart

CEO Laura Harper has announced her intention to depart, effective December 18.

Rhys Richards, its chair, said since 2015, Harper has played a critical role in the association’s development, and  in supporting, promoting, and connecting the music community.

“She has been a passionate representative for musicians, and in spite of many challenges, has relentlessly advocated for the value of music.

“We are grateful for Laura’s inspired leadership and wish her every success.”

Speaking to TMN, Harper recalled: “When I first started in this role, Music Tasmania didn’t have any operational funding, and there was a huge sense of fear and possibility.

“I’m proud that I’ve been able to sustain the organisation on behalf of the music community and leave a legacy for others to build upon.”

Under her term, Music Tasmania presented the best emerging acts at Falls Festival, with 120 acts performing on the Homebrewed Stage.

Among those who got their start there were A. Swayze and The Ghosts, Kat Edwards and The Sleepyheads.

The association also presented events and services which increased connectivity between local musicians and the music industry in Tasmania and Australia.

This year Harper publicly called for the Tasmanian government to invest more in the sector, after the I Lost My Gig Australia site tracked that between March to May alone, Tasmanian musicians lost income of $5 million from cancelled gigs.

After gaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours), majoring in art and cultural theory, Harper attended art school before working at Arts Tasmania.

She worked at the music industry festival Amplified, served as executive producer for Festival of Voices, executive officer of the Tasmanian Creative Industries Council, and community marketing manager for Ten Days on the Island before joining Music Tasmania.

In her farewell statement this week she said: “I’m leaving the organisation with a positive strategy for recovery and a healthy budget in 2021 thanks to the investment by Arts Tasmania, the Australia Council for the Arts, APRA AMCOS,
and the City of Hobart.

“Now is the right time to enable new leadership from within the music sector to navigate the next phase of Music Tasmania’s growth.”

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