artisan has been Queensland’s home of craft and design for over 50 years. As the peak body representing makers across the state, it works to support vibrant and thriving communities of craft and design practice while advocating for sector recognition and promoting and supporting contemporary craft and design practices.

artisan provides a platform for emerging and established practitioners alike to showcase their talents, experiment with new techniques, and push the boundaries of traditional craft and design. As a service organisation it offers an incredibly varied range of programs and initiatives, both to the artists it supports and to the public. Featuring a variety of mediums, from ceramics and textiles to jewellery and furniture, artisan’s exhibitions and workshops not only celebrate the skill and craftsmanship of the artists involved but also encourage dialogue and engagement within the broader community.

In 2018, artisan moved to a purpose-built premises on King Street in Bowen Hills, Meanjin (Brisbane) which serves as a hub for exhibitions, workshops, masterclasses, and retail (in-person and online stores) providing a platform to showcase the excellence and diversity of Queensland, Australian, and international craft and design. Here, co-directors Cassandra Lehman and Simone Linssen coordinate innovative ways for the public to engage with craft and design.

artisan gallery, King Street. Elizabeth Shaw and Jeffrey Shaw, Shaw and Shaw: Radical Localism exhibition, 2021.

As a small organisation supporting a diverse and widespread sector, artisan collaborates with individual artists and organisations across Queensland to ensure regional areas of the state see equal inclusion and representation. artisan's major biennial exhibition project, Unleashed, explores the convergence between art and design and platforms the work of emerging regional artists. Unleashed provides an opportunity for emerging artists to showcase their work, make new connections, and acts as a launching point for their future careers.

In addition to facilitating Brisbane based residencies for regional practitioners, artisan provides regional residency programs and further exhibition opportunities for Queensland artists outside metropolitan areas through partnerships with Cooroy Butter Factory Art Centre, Canberra Glassworks, and The Jam Factory.

artisan's partnership with sponsor Wonderkarma has paved the way for a series of exhibitions to tour regional Queensland in 2024, fostering stronger ties with regional artists and audiences. This partnership has also conceived the Find | Keep | Make program, a 2-year ongoing professional development project offering opportunities and support to emerging curators and practitioners. Through the program, students are mentored to develop skills and gain professional experience in exhibiting curated and original objects.

To celebrate its first exhibitions of 2024, artisan is holding a free opening night event at the Bowen Hills premises on Friday, 23 February. Daniel Agdag's The Public Office features intricate cardboard models and a mesmerising stop-motion video; Glen Skien's Object Poems delves into the human condition; Jessica Nothdurft's Silly Girl presents small bronzes; and Jean Bennett's Touched explores textiles, sculpture, and mixed media.

In addition to attending exhibitions, artisan provides many exciting and innovative ways for the public to participate in craft and design and support artists – to suit every taste, design aesthetic, or level of experience. Online and in-person workshops, available to book on artisan’s website, offer instruction in paper art, textiles, clothing, embroidery, and working with clay, wood, and metal.

For those who may be less interested in creating their own works, artisan’s physical and online store is well stocked with an incredible range of jewellery, accessories, sculpture, and homewares.

As a not-for-profit organisation, artisan relies on the support of its community and philanthropic partners to continue its work in shaping the future of Queensland’s craft and design sector.

artisan is a new TFFF partner and is supported through the Resilience stream, which provides multi-year general operational support funding. The TFFF recognises the value of providing support to strengthen artisan’s operational capacity and aims to empower artisan, and organisations like it, to focus on its strategic objectives and effectively realise its goals.

Cover photo: artisan store front, King Street gallery and store launch, 2018. All photos courtesy of artisan.

artisan is supported through the Resilience stream.

International Day of People with Disability is an internationally observed, United Nations sanctioned day that celebrates the contributions and achievements of people with disability and aims to promote community awareness, understanding, and acceptance⁠.

Observed annually on 3 December, International Day of People with Disability in Australia is a joint effort between government, schools, organisations, community groups, businesses, and individuals, and provides an opportunity to be part of creating an inclusive and diverse community for the 4.4 million Australians with disability.

Two of TFFF’s longest partnerships are with regional Queensland arts organisations working to create opportunities for artists and community members with disability. TFFF has been fortunate to build relationships with Crossroad Arts and Dancenorth since 2011 and 2010 respectively.

Crossroad Arts' C.R.U.S.H. 2023. More photos from C.R.U.S.H 2023 are available here.

Crossroad Arts

Mackay based organisation Crossroad Arts has established itself as a leader in inclusive arts practice in Queensland and nationally, co-creating opportunities for social change with artists and communities alike. Crossroad Arts’ annual program of activities is delivered across three streams: Artistic Development, Community Development, and Outreach, offering skill-based training, creating performance works, and delivering a wide range of inclusive workshops, artistic development and social opportunities across art forms.

Crossroad Arts has been in partnership with TFFF since 2011, and is guided by the Inclusive Arts Advisory Group. Consisting of eight artists who all have a diverse range of lived experience of disability, the Advisory group assists in raising Crossroad Arts’ national profile, and creating connection within their specific community. The Inclusive Arts Advisory Group also provides feedback on accessibility of all program offerings.

Over the three days it was such a fantastic time together with all my new friends and old friends who have come back and travelled a long long way to CRUSH. Thank you to our amazing audience for your applause  and coming along, such a huge audience made us feel so fierce, so proud to share our work together. See everyone next year at CRUSH 2024!!

- Natasha Tomlinson, Crossroad Arts Ambassador and Social Media Officer

Each year, Crossroad Arts delivers a professional development theatre making intensive suitable for all ages, bodies, minds and levels of artistic experience called C.R.U.S.H (Community. Regional. Up Skill. Haven). Last month Crossroad Arts hosted C.R.U.S.H. on Yuwi country in Mackay, and invited artists with disability from across Australia to attend. The program involves three days of workshops in contemporary movement, performance, and theatre, and is delivered in partnership with Dancenorth Australia and La Boite Theatre.

Crossroad Arts' C.R.U.S.H. 2023 wrap up video.

C.R.U.S.H also offered 13 scholarships for people with disability living in remote or regional Australia to contribute to travel and accommodation costs. These scholarships address the lack of professional development opportunities for artists with disability living in the regions.

A person wearing a silver sequinned dress with blonde hair holds their elbow-length gloved hand above their head while seated in an electronic wheelchair.
Maddison Hunt in LOOSE ENDS.

Crossroad Arts celebrates International Day of People with Disability at its annual ‘kooky, social and inclusive’ performance evening and major fundraiser. In 2023, LOOSE ENDS will feature Strictly Wheelchair Dance Group, Groove Movers, With One Voice, Choir of Unheard Voices, Crossroad Arts Crew and more.


Based in Townsville, Dancenorth is one of Australia’s leading contemporary dance companies, and aims to dismantle the barriers to dance and build local, national, and international connections and resilience through dance for all to thrive. Dancenorth empowers and supports artists by providing a creative hub for many artistic voices including a diverse range of choreographers, guest collaborators, artists in residence, and dancers.

Alongside its professional ensemble, touring productions and artist development and leadership initiatives, Dancenorth delivers its TFFF-supported Community Experience Program.  Driven by a dedicated team, Dancenorth works with diverse and minority communities across Queensland using dance to support, enhance, inspire, and heal – bringing communities together.

A person with a red shirt and a person with red hair and a white dress and a colourful arm brace, seated in an electronic wheelchair, dance together. In the background, a person wearing green and a person wearing blue are also dancing.
Dancenorth's International Day of People with Disability performance in 2022.

Dancenorth has been in partnership with TFFF since 2010, and regularly facilitates community arts experiences that encourage individual expression and community spirit, for all people. Each year, Dancenorth creates an original dance performance to celebrate International Day of People with Disability in collaboration with students from Townsville Community Learning Centre. The event, held on Gurambilbarra country in Townsville, celebrates diversity within the community and invites the audience to share in the joy of dance as a foundation to creating connections which enrich and enhance lives.

Four people are facing away from the camera, posing with their arms up. Facing them, a large group of people, including children, copy their poses.
Dancenorth's International Day of People with Disability performance in 2022.

In 2022, students took inspiration from the idea of ‘home’, and this year the group has been inspired by their favourite places.

Dancenorth's International Day of People with Disability 2022 wrap up video.

Dancenorth also facilitates Deeper than Dancing, which explores movement and creativity with older people, people with a disability, and culturally and linguistically diverse people. Supported by Regional Arts Australia, and developed closely with local participants, Deeper than Dancing provides a safe and inclusive environment for people to step outside their comfort zone to experience the creative process in action and immerse themselves in creativity and art-making experiences.

Cover photo: Dancenorth's International Day of People with Disability performance in 2022.

All photos courtesy of Crossroad Arts (Image credits: Jim Cullen Photography) and Dancenorth (Image credits: Aaron Ashley).

Crossroad Arts and Dancenorth are supported through the Resilience stream.

The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) is an annual celebration of the rich cultural and artistic diversity of Australia's Indigenous Art Centres and their artists. In 2023 DAAF celebrated its 17th year, and has secured a reputation as one of Australia’s most significant and internationally recognised arts events.

DAAF is delivered by the DAAF Foundation, which is owned and governed by the Art Centres it represents. It presented an enormously successful 2023 event from 10-13 August, embracing a hybrid in-person and online event concept for the second consecutive year. For the first time, the annual Opening Ceremony on 10 August was open to the public, further fostering a sense of community and cultural exchange.

Combining the traditional in-person art fair experience at the Darwin Convention Centre, on Larrakia Country, with an impressive online e-commerce platform, the event brought together artists and art lovers in a shared passion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, design, and culture and created economic opportunities for Art Centres and artists.

This hybrid approach, emphasising both physical and digital interaction, not only allows anyone, anywhere, to ethically purchase artwork directly from Indigenous-owned Art Centres across Australia but also offers insight into the people, cultures, and communities they represent. The Fair also provides visitors with a genuine opportunity to meet Indigenous artists, performers, and Arts Workers from some of the most remote regions of Australia.

DAAF 2023 represented over 1,600 emerging and established artists, with 140 artists attending the physical Fair in Darwin. A record total of 78 Art Centres participated in the event, with 41 Art Centres in the hybrid event, 27 in the physical event only, and 10 in the online-only segment. Approximately 12,000 unique artworks were presented for the public to explore and purchase.

The 2023 Fair saw record sales, with $4.4 million generated by the physical and online fair. Importantly, DAAF takes no commission, ensuring that 100% of sales go directly back to the Art Centres and their communities.

The international appeal of DAAF is undeniable, with the 2023 event attracting 29,031 visitors from across the globe. This included over 15,874 attendees at the physical event and 13,157 unique online visitors. 43.9% of visitors surveyed were from interstate, and 92% of visitors surveyed wanted to revisit Darwin and recommend it to others, further bolstering the region's tourism. Economically, DAAF had a significant impact, stimulating the Northern Territory economy by over $12 million, with $10 million of this generated from in-scope visitor spending.

Bula'Bula Arts booth, Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, 2023. Image Credit: Dylan Buckee

DAAF Foundation’s success extended far beyond the Fair in 2023. Its accompanying Public Program offered an array of immersive experiences, from sold-out masterclasses to artist demonstrations and cultural performances.

Country to Couture returned to the Darwin Convention Centre on 6 August, showcasing 22 unique collections from First Nations designers and artists to a record audience of 1184 members. The collections featured ready-to-wear pieces and collaborations with community Art Centres, exhibited at two different runway shows. The Foundation also hosted the National Indigenous Fashion Awards on 7 August, which celebrated a record 66 nominated designers and artists across six different categories. The Awards, hosted for the fourth year running, had over 400 attendees and were later broadcast on NITV, further expanding DAAF’s reach.

The TFFF has supported DAAF Foundation and its continued growth since 2017, and recognises the importance of the Fair’s elevation of Indigenous artists on a national and international stage. CEO Neal Harvey, along with philanthropic peers, was privileged to be able to attend the Fair in person this year.

The hybrid format of DAAF's 2023 event opened up incredible national and international sales and awareness opportunities for Art Centres, and the Foundation hopes to continue to present the event in a hybrid format in future.

Aerial view of Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, 2023. Image Credit: Dylan Buckee

Cover photo: Red Flag Dancers performance at DAAF 2023. Image Credit: Dylan Buckee. All photos courtesy of the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation.

The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation is supported through the Resilience stream.

Yiliyapinya Indigenous Corporation, a name which translates to "brain" in the Wankumara language, is committed to transforming lives and breaking the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage within Indigenous communities.

Yiliyapinya was founded in 2019 by Sheryl Batchelor, who had observed that the impact of toxic stress and adversity on brain development was contributing to declining brain health among Indigenous communities. Sheryl recognised the urgent need for culturally responsive neuroplasticity programs to combat this issue and help First Nations people live healthy, meaningful lives, and Yiliyapinya was born.

At its core, Yiliyapinya's theory of change is rooted in the belief that neuroplasticity programs can be a catalyst for healing; empowering children, young people, and adults to progress on their individual healing journeys while reconnecting culturally. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganise itself and change in response to the environment and experiences. This understanding drives Yiliyapinya to support Queensland’s most disadvantaged young people to strive for a better quality of life.

The organisation offers a range of targeted programs designed to improve brain health:

  • Yili Program – Providing vital social, emotional, and educational support, including neuroscience-informed activities for 10-17-year-olds involved in long-term school refusals or youth justice.
  • Deadly Brains Playgroup – Working with Inala and Logan Indigenous children aged 0-2 years and their parents, kin, or carers to ensure healthy brain development.
  • Think Smarter Not Harder – A culturally safe training program for Indigenous adults aimed at improving brain health and promoting healing.
  • Knowledge to Action – Offering brain health screening and improvement programs.

As an advocate of a holistic approach to healing, Yiliyapinya partners with other stakeholders, including government and service providers. Yiliyapinya is engaged in systems change, demonstrating the role of healthy brains in shifting the odds for children. Yiliyapinya also believes in the importance of the brain health of caregivers and the child-facing workforce and regularly designs and deliver workshops for organisations, businesses, and schools to enhance cognitive skills.

Craft activities at Deadly Brains Day.

Yiliyapinya is a new TFFF partner and is supported through the Resilience stream, which provides multi-year general operational support funding – the kind of funding for-purpose organisations need most. Yiliyapinya is a comparatively young organisation, although benefits from the significant wisdom and experience of Founder Sheryl Batchelor. The TFFF recognises the value of providing support to strengthen Yiliyapinya’s operational capacity and aims to empower Yiliyapinya, and organisations like it, to focus on its strategic objectives and effectively realise its goals.

Cover photo: Sheryl Batchelor presenting at the Youth Advocacy Centre. All photos courtesy of Yilipinya Indigenous Organisation.

Yiliyapinya Indigenous Corporation is supported through the Resilience stream.

The TFFF has long recognised the significance of the work carried out by Indigenous-led organisations in Australia, and the importance of listening deeply to Traditional Owners, amplifying their voices, and supporting their solutions for meaningful change on their own terms.

At a moment of conversation throughout Australia, we felt it important to use our platform to cast a spotlight on the remarkable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and people with whom the TFFF has a relationship, and the transformative work being carried out by those who lead the way toward positive change.

Throughout our 2022-2023 Annual Report, we have identified Indigenous-led organisations or agreements where TFFF funding has directly enabled the employment of an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person. In total, the TFFF made 27 distributions in support of First Nations people and communities in 2023, and 16 of the 40 organisations partnered with were Indigenous-led.

37% of total funding in the past 12 months was directed to First Nations organisations, initiatives, or projects, with a total of $3.4M allocated to Indigenous led organisations and/or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wages.

The Annual Report also highlights three partner organisations led by or working with First Nations members to enact change:

MJD Foundation

The MJD Foundation is a grassroots, Aboriginal-controlled organisation that partners with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities to support families living with Machado-Joseph Disease (MJD) and Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 7 (SCA7).

MJD is a hereditary neurodegenerative disease found worldwide, with a higher prevalence among Aboriginal people with genetic ties to northeast Arnhem Land.

Established in 2008 on Groote Eylandt, the MJD Foundation addresses the lack of services and information for affected families. Its 'Our Way' approach includes primary health and disability support, genetic counseling, therapy, education, respite accommodation, visits to Country, research, and advocacy, and is based on a strong Aboriginal Community Worker two-way engagement model.

Gayangwa Lalara OAM, a Warnindilyakwa woman, plays a vital role in the organisation as Vice Chairperson and Senior Cultural Advisor. Under her leadership, the Foundation has expanded its reach to 26 remote communities, with funding from the FRRR SRC program enabling the development of permanent ‘in-place’ support services in Ngukurr.

Aboriginal Art Co.

Aboriginal Art Co. was founded by Amanda Hayman (Kalkadoon and Wakka Wakka) and Troy Casey (Kamilaroi) in 2019 to combat the issue of inauthentic Indigenous-style consumer products in Australia. The 2022 Productivity Commission revealed that up to 75% of such products were fake, resulting in substantial income losses for First Nations people.

Aboriginal Art Co., as Brisbane's first Indigenous Art Centre, connects Indigenous Art Centres and artists from regional and remote Australia to the Queensland market. It prioritises ethical practices, with approximately 70% of sales revenue returning to artists and art centres, and is working towards the realisation of a self-sustaining and self-determining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander retail and arts industry in Australia.

Aboriginal Art Co. is committed to connecting Indigenous culture and commerce, providing employment and development opportunities that include its artist-in-residence program, retail and gallery assistants, workshop facilitators, caterers, photographers, and models, along with its social enterprise fashion label Magpie Goose.

Thriving Queensland Kids Partnership & Thriving First Nations Kids Initiative

The Thriving Queensland Kids Partnership (TQKP) is addressing the need to ensure all Queensland children and young people have a positive start in life. By working to connect organisations, individuals, services, and systems, and to facilitate shared access to resources, knowledge, and networks, TQKP aims to ensure children, young people and families are supported to thrive.

TFFF has invested in two of TQKP's ten initiatives: the Thriving Queensland Kids Country Collaborative and the Thriving First Nations Kids Initiative (TFNKI). TQKP prioritises supporting the self-determination of child health related First Nations leaders and organisations, working closely with a range of First Nations leaders, organisations and communities, including Queensland Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP) to advance a co-design process for the TFNKI.

Sarah Callinan, a Wangkangurru woman with expertise in early childhood development, has been appointed as the First Nations Strategic Partnerships Lead. Sarah has been involved in a range of initiatives and strategies aimed at improving early childhood outcomes for First Nations children, and has an exceptional understanding of brain and early childhood development. The active involvement of Sarah, Garth Morgan (CEO, QATSICPP) and others will help support First Nations leadership and drive collective effort across systems to better enable Indigenous children to thrive.

View the full 2022-2023 Annual Report here.

Cover photo courtesy of Children's Ground.

The Karrkad Kanjdji Trust (KKT) brings together Indigenous ranger groups, communities, and philanthropic partners in a shared mission: to support the Bininj people of Central and Western Arnhem Land in preserving their country and culture.

By providing critical funding for on ground programs and infrastructure, KKT aims to back Traditional Owners and Djungkay to continue to live on Country and undertake critical conservation and cultural work, supporting the continuation of the world’s oldest living culture.

Along with its partners, KKT works to educate and prepare the next generation of custodians, safeguard cultural knowledge, strengthen the role of local women and protect over 65,000 square kilometres of land and sea country.

KKT recognises the link between cultural heritage, community strength and conservation outcomes, and as such supports bi-cultural education projects to not only provide education that is locally and culturally relevant, but to safeguard traditions and nurture the custodians of the future.

At the request of the Nawarddeken Traditional Owners of the Warddeken Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) in West Arnhem Land, the Nawarddeken Academy was established in 2015. The Academy, a bi-cultural, community-owned school, provides access to full-time education in the remote home communities of the Warddeken IPA and educates children in both the Bininj (Indigenous) and Balanda (non-Indigenous) worlds.

The Academy has grown from a single teacher under a tarpaulin in Kabulwarnamyo to three registered independent schools, with additional Nawarddeken Academy schools established in Manmoyi and Mamardawerre at the request of Traditional Owners in 2021. Now, children at all three ranger base communities in the Warddeken IPA have access to education on their homelands, combining traditional Indigenous knowledge and the Australian curriculum.

Nawarddeken Academy Students. Image credit: Stacey Irving.

In 2023, Nawarddeken Academy, supported by the TFFF and other funders, commenced the process of establishing a high school and early learning program, to guarantee Nawarddeken children an On-Country, bi-cultural education for the entirety of their school years. This expansion will include creating purpose-built accommodation for teachers and staff, as well as developing multipurpose classrooms that can accommodate high school students, the early learning program and adult education in the evenings.

The Nawarddeken Academy recently held a camp that brought together all three schools to create a hip-hop song and music video about their culture and communities. Watch the video, titled Cycles of the Land, here:

Cover photo: Nawarddeken Academy Students. Image Credit: Stacey Irving. All photos courtesy of Karrkad Kanjdji Trust.

The Karrkad Kanjdji Trust and the Nawarddeken Academy are supported through the Futureproof stream.

An hour outside of the Brisbane CBD in the picturesque Lockyer Valley region is the rural town of Laidley. Back in March, TFFF Trustees, Advisors and staff enjoyed an early morning drive to visit the Laidley Community Centre (LCC), which has been in funding since 2019.

A weekly Under 5's Playgroup session, held with a focus on parental engagement.
Photo courtesy of Laidley Community Centre.

Despite its relative proximity to metropolitan centres, Laidley’s population experiences significant socio-economic disadvantage, placing it in the lowest 5% when compared with the national average (SEIFA). Various factors influence this: high elderly and youth populations, lower than average median household income, greater number of single-occupant households, twice the average youth unemployment rate, and lack of sufficient public transport to reach employment.

TFFF Trustees, Advisors, and staff visit Laidley Community Centre.
Photo courtesy of Laidley Community Centre.

Incorporated in 1988, Laidley Community Centre is a crucial pillar of this resilient community, providing support to people working through financial, housing, natural disaster or domestic crises, while also assisting residents to develop their potential to make a difference in their own lives, families, workplaces and communities. LCC works to achieve this through a varied and comprehensive service offering, including a neighbourhood centre, emergency, natural disaster and food relief, social enterprise café Community Grounds, Centrelink and tax assistance, and children’s and parents’ programs. Its impact extends far beyond the immediate township, reaching people from Plainland, Forest Hill, Grandchester and Mulgowie.

The purpose of TFFF’s visit was to see LCC’s flagship Early Connections Project (ECP) in action, and meet some of the young families involved. The Early Connections Project grew from an increasing need to better support children under five years old who are experiencing developmental or social challenges. It’s the driver for increased coordination across local programs and partners to support parents and carers to give children the best start in life, from pregnancy through to commencing school. Communal efforts like ECP enable early identification of vulnerable children — the first vital step in connecting them and their families with required supports. Early assistance is also the best strategy to enable longer term outcomes that break the cycle of disadvantage, like overall positive engagement with the education system.

Janella Cox has been LCC’s Early Childhood Worker for several years now and has delivered an extensive list of achievements together with Centre Manager Alana Wahl and volunteers. TFFF was fortunate to participate in a session of the weekly facilitated Under 5’s Playgroup, with a focus on parental engagement.

We were proud to host the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation last week as they met with us to discuss the impacts and strategies of our Early Connections Project. The TFFF has generously been funding this program for the past four years and enabling us to make an impact on the youngest members of our community and their parents. This project strives to ensure local families are connected, and able to link into any needed support at the earliest opportunity so that children have the best chance at positive outcomes once they start school (and beyond!). We are so grateful to the TFFF and wanted to take this opportunity to convey our heartfelt thanks on behalf of the community.

—      Alana Wahl
Manager, LCC

Feature photo courtesy of Laidley Community Centre.

Thank you to LCC’s Manager Alana Wahl, Chair Adrian Shepley and ECP Coordinator Janella Cox for the invitation to visit and for your warm country hospitality.

Laidley Community Centre is funded through the Resilience stream.

Each year at the start of August, Darwin becomes the focal point for Australia’s best First Nations artists from a variety of disciplines. The opening weeks of August are host to the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF)National Indigenous Fashion Awards, the National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMAs)Darwin Festival, and Telstra’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAAs) housed at the Museum and Art Gallery NT (MAGNT). It’s a remarkable time to be in the Top End and presented an opportune moment for the TFFF to visit the city and take in these important events in Australia’s cultural calendar.

Having postponed this visit last year due to a COVID outbreak, Tim, Gina, Lucy, Neal, and Hannah were pleased to make the trip in 2022. It’s hard to overstate the cultural and economic impact that this critical mass of activity has for Darwin and the flow on benefits back to remote and regional Indigenous communities.

The DAAF team delivered an impressive feat this year — returning to an in-person delivery of the three-day event whilst continuing to offer the online marketplace which exploded with popularity in 2020 and 2021. As a partner of DAAF for several years, it was an occasion to finally be on the ground experiencing the flurry of activity in the Convention Centre, and reconnecting with many Art Centres that TFFF has supported or is currently funding, including Milingimbi Art and Culture, Ngaruwanajirri, Bábbarra Women’s Centre and Bindi Mwerre Anthu Artists.

TFFF congratulates DAAF for curating a fantastic program while continuing to grow the Fair each year (over 70 Art Centres participated in 2022), always conscious of providing the best experience for Indigenous Art Centres and Fair attendees. The TFFF team certainly returned home with heavier suitcases and over-flowing carry-on luggage.

Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair 2022. Photo credit: Dylan Buckee.

The opportunity to meet with Darwin Festival’s outgoing and incoming Artistic Directors was a welcome one. Felix Preval leaves after six years and hands the baton on to Kate Fell now, formerly of Brisbane Festival. It was great to celebrate Felix’s success and learn a little bit about Kate’s vision for the Festival’s future. We also attend two shows in the Festival program, Wana: Spirit a collaboration between NT Dance Company and Darwin Symphony Orchestra, and Raghav Handa’s TWO a piece of contemporary Indian Kathak, presented at Browns Mart Theatre. 

Our travelling party attended a panel hosted by Agency, which gave us an insight into the key issues facing Aboriginal Art Centres in remote and regional areas. It was important to hear from community leaders and Elders about their cultural leadership practices and, in their own words, what they most want for their communities and artists.

At various stages of the weekend, we were joined by sector colleagues who were also visiting Darwin including Charlie Cush and Louise Bezzina from Brisbane Festival, Amanda Hayman and Troy Casey from Aboriginal Art Co, Fiona Menzies and Jayne Lovelock from Creative Partnerships Australia, and Erin Lew Fatt a current Australian Rural Leadership Program scholarship recipient. Each of our colleagues added interesting and valuable insight to our experience and it was a good reminder of the collegiate and informed nature of the Australian arts sector.

Thank you to both Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair and Darwin Festival for hosting the TFFF during our time in Darwin, and for making our visit both enjoyable and educational.

Camerata — Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra has recently returned from a triumphant tour of regional Queensland, travelling over 2,900km to Mackay, Rockhampton, Emerald, Barcaldine, and Longreach in May 2022.

This year’s tour itinerary was ambitious in scale with six concerts of the ‘Classical Reimagined’ programme — which included a new commission, Central Highland Rounds, written by Emerging Composer-in-Residence Alexander Voltz — as well as workshops with school students and local musicians, and special performances for aged care residents and kindergarten children. After a prestissimo eleven days on the road, Camerata was thrilled to crunch the numbers and report a ‘best-ever’ attendance record.

Flying into Mackay on Friday 6 May, the tour started with performances at the Pioneer Community KindergartenKookaburra Child Care Centre, and Glenella Care Centre. Then it was over to Mackay North State High School for a workshop with music students before a joint performance for the school community. Camerata was joined onstage by the Mackay Choral Society for evening and matinee performances presented at the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music.

The Rockhampton leg saw Camerata spend time with the town’s tiniest residents at Rockhampton South Kindergarten and C&K Leichhardt Community Kindergarten before skipping across to North Rockhampton State High School for another afternoon of workshops and in-school performances. Evening rehearsal saw players rehearse a new Rockhampton Symphony Orchestra (RSO) commission from composer Christopher Healy (the artist behind Camerata’s inaugural tour commission), which was expertly worked into the Classical Reimagined concert the following day at the Pilbeam Theatre.  

Camerata quintet performing for Kookaburra Child Care Centre. Photo courtesy of Camerata.

“Thank you for what you have invested in Rockhampton and regional QLD. You have sown seeds of music to our kindy kids for the first time in their life. You have inspired our school students and made some of their dreams come true. You have blessed our elderly by reaching out to them with a beautiful afternoon of music when they are not mobile enough to go to concerts. Thank you and can’t wait to have you back.” 

— Rockhampton community member

The Emerald community turned out in force at the Town Hall on Thursday 12 May to see students from Emerald State School perform in concert with Camerata. This performance was particularly resonant with the home premiere of new composition Central Highland Rounds by Emerging Composer in Residence Alex Voltz, who drew inspiration from Emerald’s landscape, industry and friendly locals in the creative process.

Then it was on to Barcaldine and more education workshops with Barcaldine Prep-12 State School, whose students also took to the stage with Camerata at Town Hall for the evening community performance. Camerata also treated locals to a pop-up performance at the Tree of Knowledge memorial. You can watch a video of this performance here.

Camerata’s 2022 Regional Tour concluded with two final days in Longreach, performing for the residents of Bolton Clarke Pioneers retirement village in the morning on Sunday 15 May, and then welcoming the whole community to Edkins Park in the afternoon for the closing ‘Classical Reimagined’ concert, this time with Corinne Ballard MusicLongreach Town Band and students from Longreach State School and Longreach State High School as special guests. The tour wrapped on Monday with one more education day with music students from Longreach School of Distance Education. And just like that, it was time for Camerata to return to Brisbane.

The Tim Fairfax Family Foundation commends Camerata — Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra for the community-centred design of its 2022 Regional Tour, and joins with those in Mackay, Rockhampton, Emerald, Barcaldine and Longreach in congratulating them on this highly successful and celebratory tour of central Queensland.  

More photos from the tour are published on Camerata’s Facebook page.

Jonny Ng, Principal Second Violin & Education Manager, talking with Sasha, a student from Emerald State School. Photo by Morgan Roberts.
The Tim Fairfax Family Foundation is based in Meanjin (Brisbane).