Creating Creative Careers for Aboriginal Curators in the New England North West

Arts North West is excited to announce another successful project rolling out in the coming months. Create the Curator is a professional development program aimed at providing emerging regional Aboriginal curators with an opportunity to build on their skills and establish themselves as curators living and working in regional NSW.

Four regional Aboriginal emerging curators will participate in a three part professional development project to build their skills, experience and networks and gain significant insight into the various environments curators work in.

Professional and renowned curators Sandra McMahon, Caroline Downer and Sharni Jones will work with the participants through a series of workshops and site visits.  These visits will include a variety of creative spaces from, Aboriginal owned and run galleries, regional galleries, commercial galleries to community spaces throughout the Armidale, Tamworth and Moree region.

Arts North West has contracted the management of this project to 2 Rivers Pty Ltd.  “This is an excellent opportunity for experienced arts workers to develop into regional Aboriginal curators enabling them to promote not only their own skills but also that of other regional Aboriginal Artists” said Project Manager Lorrayne Riggs, “This project is the result of community consultation and identifying a real gap in the market for regional Aboriginal curators, it will promote long term cultural, social and economic outcomes”.

The emerging curators will use their new skill set in a practical way as they work towards presenting a group curated exhibition in 2019. The exhibition will be held at Weswal Gallery in Tamworth and will be a wonderful opportunity to begin building their portfolio of experience.

This project aims to engage and promote regional Aboriginal artists, arts and culture by introducing more Aboriginal people to curatorial positions in regional New South Wales. By doing so, long term collaborations and exciting exhibitions can be developed along with boosting audience development and innovative projects that possibly have not been considered before.

 Starting Ground Workshop for Aboriginal Musicians

APRA AMCOS, in partnership with Create New South Wales and Arts North West, will once again bring its successful Starting Ground workshop to the region, with the two-day program taking place 1-2 August at the Youthie. Aboriginal musicians at any stage in their career looking to further develop creative and business skills are invited to attend. Sessions run 9am-5pm each day.

A dynamic mix of top artists and industry leaders will cover key areas: songwriting, music production, artist management, touring and live performance, marketing and promotion and more.

Coming to Tamworth are singer-songwriter Leah Flanagan, local blues artist and 2018 Tamworth Regional Council Volunteer of the Year Buddy Knox, hip-hop artist and record label founder Fred Leone, producer/engineer Anna Laverty, and Greg Carey of Grow Yourself Up, artist manager for The Rubens and Urthboy. APRA AMCOS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Representative Michael Hutchings will facilitate the sessions.

Established in 2015 with support from the New South Wales Government, the Starting Ground project was created to help Aboriginal musicians build their skills, promote their work, develop career pathways and access mainstream music markets.

This marks the third year in a row that Starting Ground has come to Tamworth, with previous workshops also taking place in Eden, Byron Bay, Dubbo and Redfern, and artists mentored include local musician Athol Munro, Loren-Jade Ryan, Dylan Goolagong, Sean Kinchela, Tom Avery, Tamwah Williams and up-and-coming country artist Maddi Lyn.

“Starting Ground gives First Nations artists a unique opportunity to work with some of this country’s finest songwriters and music industry leaders. The intensive two-day workshop gives artists a chance to not only gain valuable professional advice and skills but also the confidence to push their music into the future,” said Michael Hutchings.   

Registration via Eventbrite
Questions about participating? Please contact
Michael Hutchings, APRA AMCOS, (0447 447 646) or
Danielle Tuwai, APRA AMCOS,


The Art of Making Old Markings New

The Making Old Markings New exhibition opening at the Armidale Aboriginal Cultural and Keeping Place on June 7 is the result of a two year project run by the Arts North West Aboriginal Cultural Support Program with funds from the Aboriginal Regional Arts Fund through Create NSW.

The Making Old Markings New project was facilitated by Aboriginal Project Manager Pene Riggs and provided professional skills development to four Anaiwan and Kamilaroi artists; Adele Chapman-Burgess, Lorrayne Riggs, Rod McIntosh and Nick Levy.

The artists worked with staff Rebecca Fisher and Sharni Jones from the Australian Museum and Professor June Ross from the University of New England to explore objects and mark making traditions from the New England North West, and to visit rock art sites in the New England, applying this rediscovered knowledge to their professional contemporary arts practice.

The group visited the Australian Museum to view the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection, receiving a tour of collection storage rooms with special focus on the artefacts from the New England and North West region. This was a very moving experience for everyone involved, inciting many different emotions within the group.

Artist Rod McIntosh said he felt “privileged to be part of such a unique arts project that reinforced the importance of cultural art and identity connected to our country and traditional boundaries. To see such various places, sites and artefacts that many people of our Tribal Nations may not see is such an honour”

Along with Professor June Ross, the group also visited several rock art sites in the North England region including Wattle Ridge Guyra, Mt Yarrowyck, Goonoowigall, Inverell and Boundary Rock Moonbi to view the traditional mark making symbols and techniques that make the New England North west region unique. Throughout these visits the group was accompanied by traditional custodians and Elders of the area.

The Making Old Markings New exhibition expresses a strengthened connection of the artists to their culture as they share their journey and discoveries of the project through the creation of new artworks.

The exhibition will open at 6pm on 7 June at the Armidale Aboriginal Cultural and Keeping Place until 23 July.