About the Series

Professional Development Program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Each year the MCA invites one regional or remote ATSI art centre to participate in this program by nominating two representatives whom the art centre believes would most benefit from important hands-on training. These emerging ATSI arts workers are offered the opportunity to partake in a fully funded, intensive five-day resident placement at the MCA, Sydney, and will receive specialised training in their chosen field of museum practice.

The program was initiated to help increase the number of ATSI people in professional roles in the visual arts and to develop the next generation of leaders in the ATSI arts field. Participation in a program, such as this, with tailor-made training is especially important for ATSI artists and art workers in regional and remote locations where access to formal training is often limited.

The program provides opportunities for skill and knowledge exchange between the MCA, as a leading cultural institution, and community arts centres. It also provides valuable insights for participants by working across a number of departments and gaining hands on experience and practical ideas to take back to their arts centre.

Developing these skills is key to remote ATSI communities. Strong art centres play a role in maintaining and strengthening cultural values—operating as meeting places and offering opportunities for training, education and enterprise. They also play a vital economic role in ATSI communities—some of the most remote communities in the country.

This economic aspect is crucial not only to the ATSI art and craft industry but also to the health of the communities generally. In most communities sales from art are the only externally-generated source of income.

Participants in the program will nominate the field of museum practice in which they would like to receive specialised training, such as exhibition services, registration and conservation, education and public programs or marketing and development. The program will be specifically tailored to suit each participant’s needs and interests and will involve working closely with a number of MCA staff over the five day period.

These projects will encompass elements of the following:

  • Increase the skills set of ATSI art centre managers and staff (both ATSI and non- ATSI), particularly in business and financial management, arts administration, and governance;
  • Develop career pathways for ATSI people seeking a career in arts centre management;
  • Support arts centres to develop and implement succession planning strategies;
  • Provide opportunities for ATSI people to gain employment in the ATSI visual arts sector;
  • Support arts workers in job transition positions to secure full-time employment in the ATSI visual arts sector.

ATSI Program at the MCA