Nexus Arts

09 June, 2021

The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:22): Today, I have the privilege to rise to speak about Nexus Arts and the launch of its culturally diverse audience toolkit and the intercultural arts exhibition called HOME. It was a great honour to represent the Premier of South Australia, the Hon. Steven Marshall, and wonderful to join His Excellency, the very popular and well-respected Governor of South Australia, the Hon. Hieu Van Le, Her Worship Mayor of Campbelltown Jill Whittaker, Uncle Mick O'Brien, the proud Kaurna Elder, and many special guests at the launch of the Nexus Arts' research report and accompanying industry toolkit, called 'You're Welcome: A Guide for Arts Organisations to increase Cultural Diversity in Our Audiences', on Sunday 6 June 2021. 

Nexus Arts was established in 1984 as an artists' collective and has played a significant role in the social and cultural development of arts in South Australia since day one. As a leading contemporary arts organisation in South Australia, Nexus Arts has a special focus on fostering culturally diverse and intercultural artistic practice, and developing artists from culturally diverse backgrounds. Nexus Arts is committed to presenting, promoting and supporting high-quality contemporary music and visual arts by many culturally diverse artists. It aims to inspire, stimulate and cultivate broad audiences and engage with diverse partners who work collaboratively in these efforts. 

As honourable members are very much aware, interculturalism is very close to my heart and I am very pleased to highlight the wonderful work that Nexus Arts is doing to engage with and explore the participation of multicultural audiences for arts events across South Australia. I take this opportunity to acknowledge and congratulate executive director of Nexus Arts, Dr Blythe Chandler, the chair and board members of the Nexus Arts board, the energetic project coordinator Mrs Marwa Abouzeid, and the whole team for their significant contributions to increasing diversity in our state and for presenting the most welcoming and successful launch event. 

The report and industry toolkit is an accumulation of a two-year project, supported by the government of South Australia via the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, through a Multicultural Affairs Stronger Together grant. The research gathered data on the experiences of Adelaide residents born in 24 different countries, who reported speaking 22 languages in addition to English, all of whom engage with the arts. 

Taking into consideration an informed global review of literature in the field, Nexus Arts explored the barriers, drivers and trends that impact the participation of culturally diverse audiences in arts events. The result is a rich report and a digestible toolkit designed to support arts organisations across the country to develop more inclusive practices and better engage with audiences from diverse backgrounds. 

This toolkit will be shared nationally across the sector, providing a road map to support organisations to provide a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of our audiences. The celebration of this exciting research outcome was set against the backdrop of an intercultural visual arts exhibition with the theme 'Home', which brings together community artists from diverse cultural backgrounds to build connections and collaborate on cultural and intercultural understanding. 

To many migrants residing in South Australia, home is where our heart is. It is where you hear that familiar language, that music or song being played in the background, that wonderful aroma of food that your grandmother or mother used to cook or is still cooking. It is the sense of belonging that gives us that feeling of home and being comforted living in a multicultural state like South Australia. 

This magnificent arts exhibition is hosted by Campbelltown ArtHouse and is proudly presented by the network of arts leaders that was established to support the two-year research project. I would like to acknowledge the members of the Hispanic Women's Association of South Australia, the Chinese Welfare Services of SA, the Arabic Language and Culture Association of South Australia and the Campbelltown ArtHouse for this very strong partnership working with Nexus Arts. Congratulations, all, for your wonderful efforts in presenting the exhibition.