11 November 2015
Scholarships in Australia and the United Kingdom promoting cultural work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, will commence next year as part of an inaugural partnership between the National Museum of Australia (NMA) and The Prince’s Charities Australia (PCA).
In an international program which will be an enduring legacy of the National Museum’s upcoming Encounters exhibition (opens November 27th) in Canberra, the NMA and PCA have joined with the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, in London, to offer professional development for community cultural workers. The scholarships were developed in response to a call for community cultural training by the NMA’s Indigenous Reference Group (IRG), which has guided the Encounters project.
In 2016, six young cultural workers from regional and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, will be selected for an intensive three-month program at both the NMA and The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, in London. The London stint will include extended visits to the British Museum, and Oxford and Cambridge universities.
In 2016 young cultural workers from the 27 Indigenous communities involved in the Encounters project will be eligible for the program. It is the partners’ intention that the scholarships will evolve into an ongoing program and that in future years, the scheme will be offered Australia-wide. Participants will receive a stipend and all accommodation and travel costs will be covered.
National Museum director Mathew Trinca said the scholarships will develop participants’ skills and knowledge over a diverse range of professional Museum practices including exhibition development, collection practices, research and digital integration.
“We’re very excited to be able to offer professional development programs for Indigenous cultural and heritage curators which will allow talented young people to take leadership roles in their communities,” said Dr Trinca.
National Museum Council member and IRG head Peter Yu said, the scholarship program is an important legacy of the Encounters project.
“I have long believed that the Encounters project presents a landmark opportunity to build important relationships with Indigenous communities that will persist long after the exhibition closes and this scholarship program is tangible evidence of that,” said Mr Yu.
PCA Chief Executive Officer, Janine Kirk AM, said scholarship recipients would receive world-class training and support due to the collaborative partnerships delivering the program.
“The Prince’s Charities Australia is delighted to partner with NMA to support this innovative cultural leadership program informed by the IRG and the Prince’s School for Traditional Arts,” said Ms Kirk.
Encounters: Revealing Stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Objects from the British Museum, opens in Canberra: 27 November 2015 - 28 March 2016.