22 Oct 2018


The Australia Council for the Arts’ 'Making Art Work' study revealed an alarming statistic, that artists in Australia with disability currently earn 42 per cent less than artists without disability! 

The study also estimated that 85 per cent of art sold in souvenir shops as Indigenous Art, is imported and fake. There are laws against this practice in other countries to protect their First People, but regrettably, these laws do not exist in Australia. 

Morwenna Collett and Patricia Adjei, both Sydney locals and colleagues at the Australia Council for the Arts, have received Churchill Fellowships, to research how to actively engage people with disability in the arts, and protect Indigenous cultural intellectual property rights for Australian indigenous communities, respectively. 

Morwenna will travel to the UK and US, to visit organisations that are leading the way in providing inclusive music programs, venues and festivals, which actively engage people with disability. 

Patricia will travel to the US, Panama, and Switzerland to meet other First Nations arts managers, artists and advocates working in the area of protection of cultural intellectual property rights. 

Morwenna and Patricia, have different motivations and differing projects, but share a common passion for achieving inclusion and fairness in the arts. 

Morwenna who is the Director of Major Performing Arts Projects at the Australia Council for the Arts has always held a passion for ensuring everyone has equal opportunities to access and participate in the arts, partly because of her own lived experience of disability. 

“Music has had a huge impact on my life and I want everyone to be able to experience this same joy. Through the Fellowship, I look forward to observing accessible music programs which actively engage people with disability,” said Morwenna.  

“My experience will include a visit to Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, whose Resound ensemble recently became the first ever disability-led group to play at the BBC Proms. 

“I look forward to bringing back new knowledge about how we can make Australia’s music industry more inclusive and accessible, not just physically but through sensory access and programming access.” 

Patricia is involved in First Nations arts and culture strategic projects at the Australia Council for the Arts and has a strong interest in social justice and enjoys advocating for improved Indigenous cultural rights. 

“The Churchill Fellowship will enable me to see firsthand how laws that aim to protect Indigenous arts and culture are effective for First Nations artists in the USA and Panama,” said Patricia.  

“I am looking forward to learning about how laws overseas benefit First Nations artists, and whether these laws truly stop the misappropriation of Indigenous arts and cultural products. 

“I hope my new findings will help shape some of the discussions we plan to have with the National Indigenous Arts and Cultural Authority and at the National Indigenous Arts Forum in 2019.”

“I want to see better protection for our communities so that strong cultural practices are passed onto the next generations without the threat of misappropriation and misuse. Culturally vibrant communities mean stronger First Nations communities.”

Adam Davey, CEO of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, said it is the first time two Fellows from the same organisation have received Fellowships in the same year.   

“It is exciting to see that Morwenna and Patricia are equally driven to expand their expertise and learn more about international best practice, so they can return to Australia with the intention to make Australia’s arts scene more accessible and fair. 

“The Churchill Fellowship is a celebration of expertise, innovation, expanding knowledge and creating new and better ways of addressing issues that matter in Australia. We look forward to seeing what

Morwenna and Patricia are able to achieve as a result of their Fellowship experiences.”

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