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First Peoples

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Building Audiences examines the barriers to and the strategies for increasing audiences in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts sector. This research investigates the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of current and potential audiences.

What is in the report?

The findings reveal the key barriers facing audience attendance include:

  • uncertainty about how to behave at cultural events and fear of offending
  • lack of awareness with audiences not actively seeking information about Indigenous arts
  • and outdated perceptions of the sector – that it is only perceived as ‘serious or educational’.

Building Audiences also considered several strategies to build audiences for Indigenous arts:

  • providing skills development, advice and resourcing to Indigenous practitioners within the arts sector;
  • increasing representation of Indigenous artists in the main programing of arts companies by including more Indigenous people in decision making roles;
  • promoting relationships between Indigenous arts and non-Indigenous companies to present their work to wider audiences;
  • introducing children and young people to Indigenous arts through schools and extracurricular activities;
  • allowing audiences to feel comfortable engaging by creating accessible experiences;
  • implementing long-term strategies to change negative perceptions of Indigenous arts.

The project was commissioned by the Australia Council for the Arts and funding partners include Australia Council for the Arts; Faculty of Business and Law and Institute of Koorie Education, Deakin University; Melbourne Business School, The University of Melbourne.

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