Asialink Arts Future Directions
Asialink Arts Director Lesley Alway reflects on the next chapter for the organisation.
Asialink Arts is a significant force in Asia-Australia cultural engagement. Its pioneering programs spanning 25 years have encompassed touring exhibitions, performances, festival participation, cultural exchanges and artist residencies in over twenty countries throughout the region. Our publications, research, workshops and forums have also made a major contribution to developing many successful and ongoing partnerships.
The statistics are impressive: a cohort of more than 800 residency alumni, 200 exhibitions and projects in 70 cities working with a network of over 100 partners in Asia. But it’s the people, experiences, ongoing outcomes and long term impact behind the numbers that are the real story.
Over this period cultural exchange programs, projects and partnerships with Asia throughout the cultural sector and broader community have grown exponentially. It is gratifying to see how enthusiastically artists, organisations, producers, curators, funding bodies and audiences have embraced the creative, market and diplomatic opportunities present in the region. This expanded and deepening level of activity demonstrates that the investment and advocacy undertaken by Asialink is paying high dividends; the Asia cultural engagement agenda now has strength and commitment across all sectors of the arts and creative industries.
Global Project Space
Engagement with Asia requires a commitment for the long term and whilst there have been many achievements and positive changes in recent years, there is still much to do. The global power shift from West to East is well acknowledged with Asia the key driver and central to global economic, security, and cultural issues. The next chapter for Asialink Arts will explore the centrality of Asia in this new global cultural landscape – and the opportunities it presents for Australian creative professionals. Global Project Space (GPS) will be a new initiative for key projects in Asia, Australia and the digital space. We will focus our resources on delivering cultural exchanges and projects that utilise our deep relationships, networks and expertise that align with emerging opportunities and new priorities with our partners in both Asia and Australia. Further announcements about this new initiative will be made in the next few weeks.
Introducing the Team
As part of the transition to a new chapter for Asialink Arts, I will be leaving the organisation at the end of July. A new structure is in place with Sarah Bond as Director, Global Project Space, supported by GPS Project Managers, Jessica O’Brien and Kerrii Cavanagh and the wider Asialink team. This is an exciting period for Asialink Arts to take on new challenges and explore emerging opportunities in Asia building on the very solid foundations and programs that are now being driven and delivered by the broader cultural sector.
I would like to extend a personal thank you to all our program participants, partners, and champions who have supported, inspired and challenged myself and the Asialink Arts team during the last seven years. It has been an extraordinary privilege to work in such a dynamic and professionally stimulating area with so many wonderful colleagues, both here and in Asia. I will watch the next chapter unfold with great interest.
Director, Asialink Arts
Above: 'Mandala' by Rachel Arianne Ogle. Maya Dance Theatre, 2017. Photo: Kuang Jingkai. Top Image: Naomi Eller, Installation at Fukutake House Asia Art Platform, Setouchi Triennale 2016