Speakers Program Themes

Aboriginal artist Jonathon Jones giving his keynote speech at Artstate Bathurst Image: Keynote Speaker Jonathan Jones on stage at Artstate Bathurst, 2018. Photo by Katelyn-Jane Dunn.

On Country – In Country & Arts in the Age of Uncertainty

The themes for the Artstate Tamworth speakers program are On Country – In CountryRespect for Country that deepens knowledge of arts, culture and regional practice and Arts in the Age of Uncertainty – How the arts address the big issues of our day.

Artstate 2019 is situated in a third regional landscape, the city of Tamworth in North Western NSW, a region that has been hugely impacted by the current drought and in which the conversation about Country and Uncertainty resonates strongly. Delegates at Artstate 2019 will experience a different regional NSW environment from Artstate 2017, held in the lush hinterland of the North Coast, or Artstate 2018, set against the backdrop of Bathurst’s cooler climate, rolling hills and colonial architecture.

In developing the 2019 Artstate themes, Regional Arts NSW referenced the rapporteurs report from Artstate Bathurst. From Charles Sturt University, Christopher Orchard, Sub-Dean, Academic in the Faculty of Arts and Education and Dr Travis Bell, Course Director, Communications and Creative Industries, summarised their response to Artstate Bathurst through five strands, Deep Knowledge, Reciprocity,  Co-creation,  Diversity and Uncertainty.

Thinking about Deep Knowledge, Reciprocity and the opening provocation by Wiradjuri artist, Jonathan Jones in Bathurst, the rapporteurs noted, “If we are going to be serious about arts-citizenship then Artstate must maintain the priority to engage with First Nations peoples and Aboriginal arts practitioners and organisations and continue to provide platform to elevate First Nation knowledge”.  On Country – In Country will continue to explore this notion.

The theme for the second day, Arts in the Age of Uncertainty, collapses the report’s final three points into one overarching theme that will examine the current issues affecting arts practice in regional areas. Environmental, social and economic challenges are faced by communities everywhere. They are global issues as well as regional ones. How do artists respond?  Can they make a difference? Are there more opportunities for artists who work across sectors?  How much is cross-sector work recognised and valued?

Join us in Tamworth to continue the conversation with an exciting line-up of international, national and local presenters providing inspirational and high level thinking around the arts in regional areas and demonstrating the reality of regional excellence.