past, present and future of australian culture at risk
Next Wave Festival 2016 1200w

Artistic Directors speak out against Next Wave’s de-funding Former and current Next Wave

Artistic Directors Marcus Westbury (Founder, Renew Newcastle, author of Creating Cities and CEO,Collingwood Arts Precinct), Jeff Khan (Curator and Artistic Director of Performance Space, Sydney), Emily Sexton (Head of Programming, the Wheeler Centre and Sidney Myer Creative Fellow) and current Next Wave Artistic Director Georgie Meagher are devastated by the $165,000 per year loss to the organisation. This cut comes in addition to the loss of $500,000 per year to present the highly successful JUMP Mentoring Program on behalf of the Australia Council.

Emerging artists have been hit hardest with mentoring programs, career capacity building,
residencies and secondments de-funded. Alongside Next Wave, vital youth arts
organisations including Express Media, Emerging Writers Festival and PACT Centre for
Emerging Artists will all operate on severely reduced budgets, damaging their ability to
employ staff, help artists find suitable careers, and present new work across literature,
performance, dance and visual arts.

Next Wave is a unique organisation across Australia. Says Jeff Khan on behalf of Marcus and
Emily: “Our time as Next Wave Artistic Directors gave each of us the platform to develop
professionally, and step into the leadership positions we occupy today. In our current roles,
the biennial Festival remains our most critical touchstone when looking at new artists, new
ideas and new practices in the arts in Australia.”

Emily Sexton adds “it’s a tremendous shame that Next Wave’s ability to support the new
generation of artists will be constrained, right at moment where the organisation has been
working with important new voices from less privileged backgrounds.”

The 2016 Next Wave Festival – having closed on Sunday 22 May posting box office records
and critical acclaim – is widely regarded as the nation’s premier organisation for young and
emerging artists. The organisation supports and invests in innovation across all artforms,
and is a leader of experiences inclusive of artists and audiences with disabilities. In recent
years Next Wave has heralded the next generation of Indigenous artists with nationally acclaimed programs including JUMP, Blak Wave, and this year’s Indigenous Language
Workshops, alongside a consistent history of new commissions and presentations by the
next generation of Aboriginal artists.

Next Wave’s artistic strength and national significance is affirmed by its extraordinary reach
and breadth of national partnerships, which in recent years have included the National
Gallery of Victoria, PACT Centre for Emerging Artists, Malthouse Theatre, the Australian
Centre for Contemporary Art, Critical Path, Performance Space, Perth Institute of
Contemporary Art, Metro Arts, Carriageworks, Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for
Languages and Asialink.

Marcus Westbury asserts “It’s a false economy to destroy the platforms from which artists
can take risks, develop new skills and explore new ideas. In a country that is supposed to be
investing in agility, innovation, risk and ideas this is the very part of the arts ecosystem that
is being destroyed.”

All four arts leaders join the calls from state theatre companies, major performing arts
organisations and state contemporary arts organisations for Australia Council funding to be
restored to 2013-2014 Budget levels, and that full CPI indexation be applied to all Australia
Council funding programs. To this end, cultural innovation, jobs and growth will be assured
– for all generations of Australians.

Signed:
Marcus Westbury, CEO, Collingwood Arts Precinct
Emily Sexton, Head of Programming, The Wheeler Centre for Books Writing and Ideas
Jeff Khan, Artistic Director, Performance Space
Georgie Meagher, Artistic Director, Next Wave