TABLE TALK: Making Bowls Making Connections

Table Talk is a series of hands-on pottery workshops being run in Armidale in August and Tamworth in September for refugees and migrants who have made their home in the New England North West region.  Workshop coordinator Nicci Parry-Jones, a professional ceramicist, will lead the groups through the process of making handmade bowls including the design, building and decorating stages.

Caroline Downer, Executive Director of Arts North West is looking forward to the workshops. “Table Talk is the first project of its kind for Arts North West and I look forward to meeting the newest members of our communities,” said Ms Downer.  “Working collaboratively on a creative project is an effective way to connect people with their communities and I have no doubt that Table Talk will do just that.” continued Ms Downer.

Workshop facilitator, Nicci Parry-Jones is equally enthusiastic about the workshops starting this month. “I am really looking forward to providing an opportunity for people to get creative; the workshops have been designed to celebrate the arts and crafts of the participants’ cultures.  I am excited to be a part of the project and hope it will lead to new connections for all attendees and future projects of a similar nature.” said Ms Parry-Jones.

Table Talk aims to engage on an informal level for people whose English language skills are still developing and to encourage conversational English whilst providing hands on fun and creative opportunity. Once the bowls are fired and ready for use, a third event will be held for participants to come back together, socialise and share a meal using their new wares. The Armidale event will be Multicultural Health Week’s Happy Women’s Dinner and Dance in September and the hand-over ceremony will be at the Fiesta La Peel Festival on 14 October. For more information, please contact Nicci Parry-Jones

This project has been funded by the NSW Government through Multicultural NSW


Today at The Australian Museum, Regional Arts NSW announced the program for the inaugural Artstate NSW, a four-day event that will welcome an anticipated 200 arts industry delegates from 30th November to 3rd December 2017.

Initiated following the success of Artlands Dubbo 2016 presented by Regional Arts NSW, Artstate is a four-year program aiming to build on conversations, partnerships and opportunities for regional artists and arts organisations. The event will include a line-up of inspirational speakers alongside a multi-genre arts program showcasing the very best in arts from the North Coast region.

Chair of Regional Arts NSW, Stephen Champion said “Regional arts practice of the highest order is prolific in NSW but it still often occurs without recognition; particularly by reviewers and our urban counterparts. Artstate is set to change this by placing the spotlight on a different regional hub each year for the next four years. Artstate will also demonstrate that regional NSW is at the epicentre of national and international debate and discourse about the vital relationship of the arts to communities.”

Speaking at the launch event today, Minister for the Arts, the Hon Don Harwin MLC said “Artlands Dubbo 2016 was a fantastic achievement for NSW in its entirety; a regional conference, curated in the regions, showcasing extraordinary regional, metro and international work and speakers to the world. It is strongly felt across the sector that we need to keep the momentum going and that NSW has clearly demonstrated leadership in an area that should be further strengthened.”

The event will commence with two days of keynote speakers and panels exploring the themes of Partnership and Practice and other specialised areas. Featured speakers in the program will include British-Indian composer and virtuoso player of the sarod, Soumik Datta;  Director of the Norway international indigenous arts and culture festival, Riddu Riđđu Festivála, Karoline Trollvik; and member of the Bundjalung nation Rhoda Roberts, who is Head of Indigenous Programming, Sydney Opera House, Creative Director, Gallery & Events, Festival Director, Boomerang Festival and Curator of the second annual Parrtijima – A Festival in Light event in Alice Springs.

Alongside the speakers program will be an arts program featuring the likes of local theatre company, Northern Rivers Performing Arts, and the world premiere of their new production Djurra; a free public concert by the Regional Youth Orchestra NSW featuring talented students from regional conservatoriums; and Cheeky Cabaret presented by Brett Haylock from the Brunswick Picture House. The opening of Artstate Lismore will also coincide with the opening of the new Lismore Regional Gallery building and exhibition.

Early bird registration tickets are on sale now at

WHAT: Artstate Lismore 2017

WHERE: Lismore (various venues)

WHEN: 30th November to 3rd December, 2017

TICKETS: On sale now at

Applications now open for the Regional Arts Fund 2018

Applications are now being accepted for the Regional Arts Fund (RAF), an Australian Government initiative that supports sustainable cultural development in regional and remote communities in Australia. The program is managed by Regional Arts Australia and Regional Arts NSW, and is designed to benefit regional and remote arts practitioners, arts workers, audiences and communities.

Funding for the 2018 round is available for projects commencing between 1 January and 31 December 2018. Projects must be based or delivered in regional NSW, with grants available in the categories of New Initiatives and Partnerships. The arts or cultural focus of the project can include visual arts, circus, dance, film, literature, music, theatre, puppetry, digital media and cross-art-form works. Projects are also eligible for multi-year funding for up to 2 years. In 2017, the RAF Community Grants saw support for 22 new projects sharing in more than $434,000.

“The RAF funds amazing projects in regional NSW, clearly demonstrating the excellence of arts practice in this state,” CEO of Regional Arts NSW, Elizabeth Rogers, said. “The high standard of applications for imaginative and innovative work is very exciting.”

Applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposed RAF projects with their local Regional Arts Development Organisation (RADO) prior to submission for one-on-one support. Those seeking more than $20,000 in funding for New Initiatives or Partnerships must discuss their application with the Grants & Projects Manager at Regional Arts NSW by calling (02) 9270 2501 or emailing

Applications for the Regional Arts Fund (RAF) Community Grants close on Thursday 10 August 2017, 5pm AEST. For more information about the program, including guidelines and instructions, visit: