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02 Dec 2020

Media releases

Report launch casts light on experiences of culturally diverse artists during COVID-19

Online panel discusses findings from artist roundtables forming part of UNESCO ResiliArt

Settlement Services International (SSI) will facilitate an online discussion launching its new report, ‘SSI Artist Voices: experiences of the pandemic and a desired future’ hosted by the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) on December 9.

Artists from diverse backgrounds, Ayebatonye AbrakasaDamon AMBShyamla Eswaran, and Zainab Kadhim will be in conversation with SSI Arts & Culture Ambassador and award-winning actorHazem Shammas

The online event forms part of the UNESCO ResiliArt, a global movement that aims to shed light on the far-reaching impact of COVID-19 on the arts and cultural sector, and will present the findings from a series of virtual in-depth artist roundtables facilitated by SSI earlier this year.

By joining UNESCO’s ResiliArt movement, SSI aims to bring greater visibility to the experiences and future aspirations of culturally diverse artists in the context of the pandemic, captured in the report.

SSI Arts & Culture Program Manager Carolina Triana said that the report proposes a range of measures to ensure Australia continues to develop an arts and culture sector that truly reflects the nation’s diversity, underpinned by principles of equity and inclusion.

“Our findings highlight the importance of arts policy, appropriate funding models and the imperative to support our artists in times of crisis and beyond.”

Ms Kadhim, an artist featured on the panel that had also participated in the roundtables, said that the pandemic had wiped out her entire creative livelihood. 

“I lost my contracts and gigs overnight. I do songwriting and poetry workshops in schools which stopped, and so did the gigs. I was forced to move out of my place.” 

Ms Triana said that the artist roundtables were a great opportunity for the artists to voice their concerns and struggles, as well as their successes, personal victories and aspirations for the future, in a safe space.

“We’ve seen the negative effects of the pandemic on artists’ mental health, personal and professional networks, audience engagement and creative practice.   “Artists, including newcomers, are vulnerable to financial insecurity, and this situation has been exacerbated as a result of the pandemic.”

Ms Triana said that the launch of the report and online discussion aims to build awareness about the impact of COVID-19 on the arts and culture sector, including the livelihoods, creative practice, and wellbeing of artists from culturally diverse backgrounds.

“It’s important to build an understanding of the crisis of the arts and cultural sector in Australia by amplifying the voices, experiences and aspirations of culturally diverse artists.

“We’ve seen artists adapt their practice and business models to online platforms, however, these platforms pose significant creative, ethical, copyright, financial and audience engagement challenges.”

Media enquiries:

SSI Senior Communications Officer, Rebeka Selmeczki;

0468 998 300

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