Indigenous innovators rewarded for their talents

Museum Victoria has appointed John Patten to the role of Manager of Melbourne Museum’s Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, where he will oversee one of the most significant Aboriginal culture collections in the world.

Patten comes from a family of well-known Aboriginal leaders. A plaque on a fig tree in Carlton Gardens is dedicated to his grandfather, Aboriginal rights activist Jack Patten and other family members.

After an early career in graphic design and IT, Patten started at Museum Victoria in 2011 as a senior programs officer where he developed education programs for Bunjilaka.

In his spare time, he is also a practising artist who began exhibiting his work in 2014, and was shortlisted for the Victorian Indigenous Arts Award in 2015.

“Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre is a magnificent cultural hub which I am thrilled to help steer into the future,” Patten said.

“I plan to build on the great work that has already been done to celebrate Koorie culture and history through our world-class exhibitions and programs and to ensure that it continues to be a fantastic resource for education not only to the Koorie community, but to local visitors and tourists as well.”


ABC appoints Kelrick Martin as Head of Indigenous

Award-winning Indigenous fim maker Kelrick Martin is ABC TV’s new Head of Indigenous. He takes up the position on September 26.

A descendant of the Ngarluma, Bunuba and Gooniyandi people of northern WA, his career in Indigenous broadcasting spans 20 years. Kelrick joins the ABC from Screenwest, where he was Indigenous Manager, responsible for the development and support of WA’s Indigenous filmmaking community. Prior to this he was Commissioning Editor for NITV.

Kelrick formed Spear Point Productions in 2010 whose credits include documentaries Yagan, Outside Chance, Prison Songs, and short drama, Karroyul .

He began his career as a cadet radio broadcaster for Goolarri Media. Moving to Sydney in 1998, he presented ABC Radio National’s Awaye! and was the inaugural presenter of ABC TV’s Message Stick.

In 2002 he completed his Masters in Documentary Writing and Directing at AFTRS.


ANU composer wins Indigenous grant

Composer Dr Christopher Sainsbury from The Australian National University has won a national grant to help promote the work of Indigenous composers.

Dr Sainsbury, from the ANU School of Music, has been awarded an Australasian Performing Rights Association grant as part of an inaugural Indigenous Composers Initiative.

The initiative gives emerging Indigenous composers the chance to be mentored by established composers, to craft original pieces, and to have the music showcased.

Dr Sainsbury said the idea was sparked by a need he identified from his years working at Eora College in Redfern, Sydney.

“In that setting, I realised there were a lot of Aboriginal musicians who could potentially be composers in a broader sense,” he said.

“Many were sort of skirting around the edge, or actually engaged in new music through the music they were doing for film and theatre.”

Dr Sainsbury and his partners in the project recognised that many Indigenous musicians needed some kind of support to help them emerge as composers. He cited cultural and family obligations and other unique situations they may face.

“You meet many Aboriginal people, and there’s often somebody in the family who has experienced some pretty horrific stuff pretty much for being Aboriginal,” he said.

“The people driving this initiative recognise that.”

The grant, valued at $26,000, will be supported by partners including the ANU School of Music, Australian Music Centre, Eora College Redfern, Mooghalin Performing Arts Redfern, Indigenous ethnomusicologist Clint Bracknell and jazz lecturer Kevin Hunt at the Sydney University Conservatorium, and performance group Ensemble Offspring.

The project is set to culminate in performances of pieces by emerging Indigenous composers in May or June next year.

Wendy Caccetta


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