Reflections on the cultural landscape

Culture, Skills Development and Professional Networking the essential elements that emerged from Creating Pathways, a National Indigenous Dance Forum in 2005 have continued to shape our mandate for the last 10 years. Our work has involved:

Industry Development to provide a range of industry development initiatives that will contribute significantly to artistic vibrancy of the sector.

Information Services to provide access to national and international information to assist growth of artistic vibrancy.

Governance to provide accurate and timely governance support for the Indigenous dance network.

Management to provide the highest standards in financial management and administration for Treading the Pathways.

Indigenous practitioners continue to draw on Indigenous knowledge, choreographic language, philosophy, protocol, ethic and logic to develop their forms, increasing production standards and tour readiness. Simultaneously, we are experiencing a growth of presenters who are exploring the diversity and complexity of contemporary Indigenous dance practice with a new lens and willingness to engage.

BlakDance is well positioned in our community and arts and cultural sectors to create extraordinary opportunities because of:

  • The knowledge of our people and staff
  • The period of renaissance we are facing
  • The investment into our sector
  • The mandate by our sector to deliver outcomes for our people

In 2010, the Australia Council for the Arts commenced research and implementation strategy in response to the Australia Council’s research More than Bum’s on Seats: Australian participation in the arts 2009 which demonstrated a growing demand for Indigenous arts nationally and internationally.

As a result of the Australia Council’s consistent and strategic investment over recent years, there has been significant growth in the Indigenous performing arts sector and with that, increased opportunities for the presentation of Indigenous work.

“This is the highest ever Indigenous content in any APAM program. Twenty to twenty-five per cent of the program was Indigenous content.” (APAM Stakeholder 2, 2014 APAM evaluation QUT)

This increase can be directly attributed to:

“[a] dedicated sector development that began after APAM 2010, in which there was recognition from the Australia Council for the Arts of the paucity of presentations by Indigenous companies and artists.”

The national contextualisation of Indigenous work is necessary so that presenters have an understanding of what Indigenous cultures mean and can, therefore, “read” Indigenous work.

BlakDance Principles

Balancing Indigenous arts with realities of national and international markets

Extended Indigenous production value chain (Land, Sea, Language, Law, Heritage, Culture, Art, Create, Produce, Distribute, Disseminate, Preserve and Conserve);

Respect Indigenous Peoples, Knowledges, practices and places;

Self-determination and ethical partnerships

Indigenous creative control

Working in reciprocity and negotiating from a strengths-based perspective

Respect free prior and informed consent and participation in decision-making

Protocols and consensus decision-making processes

Accountability to our community and stakeholders:

Remaining humble and strong

Learning what we don’t know and being able to teach what we do know

Recognising the transforming, ongoing, and fluctuating nature of culture, arts, and life as indigenous people, and demonstrating this in all our expressions