15 March 2013

Arts event posters in AdelaideSinger, author, playwright, artistic director and advocate for the significant role of the arts in our everyday lives, Robyn Archer AO, will be here in Adelaide to convince all comers that life without the arts is a very dull dish.

In an event hosted by the University of South Australia’s Hawke Centre and the Australia Day Council of South Australia, Try one day without the Arts, Archer will argue that artists are as essential to society as doctors, plumbers and teachers.

The special presentation will be held on March 18 from 5.30pm at the Adelaide Festival Centre Banquet Room.

“Any week when there’s new money for the arts is a good week, and, federally speaking, this week has been a very good week for the arts,” Archer says. 

“Simon Crean, Minister for the Arts, threw out a big bold challenge with regard to valuing the arts in our communities, and in particular valuing the role of education in all of that.”

And she says there’s been an interesting series of announcements recently, in a co-incidental lead-up to that good news - a re-brand of Adelaide as the Creative City, and just a week before that, the announcement of a restructure of TAFE in South Australia. 

How all these things intertwine is something Archer will explore further in her address.

Current recipient of the Premier’s Lifetime Achievement Award, former Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival and currently Creative Director of the huge Centenary of Canberra celebrations, Artistic Director of The Light in Winter (Fed Square Melbourne), and Deputy Chair of the Australia Council, Archer will make dynamic connections between these new initiatives.

“In Adelaide I’ll be re-stating my own view of the arts as an essential service in any society, and the urgent need for artists to be regarded, paid, and trained with the same respect as others in essential services. 

“I think we in the arts appreciate Minister Crean’s announcements, which included additional support for elite training organisations, as well as splendid initiatives in schools.  

“At the same time, as I have been saying for two years now, at tertiary level across the nation humanities in general, and practical arts training in particular, are being downgraded and marginalised.”

“Outside the elite training institutions, there’s a real crisis and it’s a crisis that will threaten the very welcome aspiration that Adelaide has, to be known as a Creative City.”

Robyn Archer AO background:

Singer, writer, artistic director and public advocate of the arts Archer is currently Creative Director of the Centenary of Canberra (2013), and Artistic Director of The Light in Winter (which she created for Federation Square, Melbourne and which won the best Community Event Award in the Australian Event Awards 2012).

She is Deputy Chair of the Australia Council (the Australian Government's arts advisory and arts grants organization) and is also advising on the Centenary of ANZAC.

Former artistic director of The National Festival of Australian Theatre, the Adelaide and Melbourne Festivals, and Ten Days on the Island which she created for Tasmania, she mentors and advises a wide range of younger artists, and has taken part in the European Festivals Association's Ateliers in Varna, Singapore, Izmir and most recently Ljubljana.

Robyn Archer is patron of numerous arts organisations across Australia.

She has received the International Society for Performing Arts' International Citation of Merit, ABAF's Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Cultural Leadership Award, and in 2012 the SA Premier's Lifetime Achievement Award.

She is an Officer of the Order of Australia, Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France), Officer of the Crown (Belgium) and holds honorary doctorates from Flinders University and the Universities of Sydney and Canberra.

Archer is still singing and recent concerts included Augsburg (birthplace of Bertolt Brecht in whose work she specialises), Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Canberra and Sydney.

In 2013 she will give concerts in Canberra during its Centenary year and around Australia.

Her role as Creative Director of the Centenary of Canberra has also renewed her respect for the creativity in science, planning, big ideas and all those other aspects of any society, but she still sees the arts as both central and at the same time fatally neglected in so many contexts in so many places.

Her argument is that it is impossible to go even one day without encountering the products of art.

You can find more details at www.robynarcher.com.au

Media contact

Michèle Nardelli office: 08 8302 0966 mobile: 0418 823 673 email: michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au

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