Arts Quest – Heights and Hopes


To view the webcast of the National Arts Summit  2013 click here (if you are having difficulties please try this link)

To review the proceedings of the National Arts Summit please click here (6MB doc approx)

The live-streamed Arts Quest – Heights and Hopes Summit was held at the Australian National University, School of Music on 12 February 2013. The Summit brought together three generations of artists – young and emerging, established, senior artists and mentors to identify issues, aspirations and solutions relating to arts practice and arts education in Australia. It was the perfect opportunity for anyone interested in the arts to be involved in a powerful, cultural debate with clear, pragmatic outcomes! The aim of its theme, Living and Learning Creatively – Shaping Our Future Together, was to provide recommendations for the evolving National Cultural Policy, and to facilitate exciting mentoring opportunities for artists of all ages.

Robyn Archer opened the Summit and The Hon. Peter Garrett was the Keynote Speaker. Christopher Lawrence, one of Australia’s most loved radio broadcasters, was the MC and the Q&A Panel Facilitator. Other speakers included: Professor David Throsby, Richard Gill, Hugh Mackay (read in absentia), Lisa Colley, Don Aitkin, Monica Penders, and Professor Claudia Visca. Les Murray’s poetry was recited by Alan Gould.

The Summit concluded with an Artistic Production Thank you Canberra of tantalising performances.

The event was a collaboration between the Australian Talented Youth Project, The Australian National University and DEEWR.


Theme: Living and Learning Creatively – Shaping Our Future Together

Arts Quest – Heights and Hopes Summit was a one-day national event discussing the significance of the creative, visual, and performing arts in the context of enhanced general living and learning, and the challenges and aspirations across three generations of artists. This included emerging artists, their education, access to resources, career building, and supportive networks.

The Summit covered the results of the National Arts Survey and prepared key recommendations for the evolving National Cultural Policy

Many talented artists performed throughout the day and at the Summit’s concluding showcase.

The event was approved as part of the Canberra Centenary celebrations.


To provide recommendations related to young, established, and senior artists that would contribute to the evolving National Cultural Policy.


1. To discuss the most important issues related to artists and the Arts in Australia today, with a projection of the artists’ aspirations for the future.
2. To provide mentorship and collaboration opportunities across three generations of artists.
3. To celebrate Canberra Centenary and the cultural resources offered by the National Capital.

To review the proceedings of the National Arts Summit please click here (6MB doc approx)


The Summit presented and discussed the outcomes of a National Arts Survey which was distributed to arts organizations and individual artists across all states and territories, and directed to three generations of arts lovers as well as patrons patrons.

The Survey consisted of two questions:

1. What do you perceive to be the biggest challenges for the artists and the arts today   (up to 5-points, word-limited answers, for each local and national perspective)

2. What changes would you like to see in the future, and how do you think they can be achieved? (up to 5-points, word-limited answers, for each  local and national                   perspective)

RESULTS OF THE NATIONAL ARTS SURVEY – read The Pragmatic Artist by Deborah Stone, artsHub Australia 

PROGRAM (audience seated by 9:00am) MC – Christopher Lawrence
9:00 – 9:08am Welcome
9:08 – 9:10am Fanfare – composed by John Mackey
9:10 – 9:15am Opening Address – Robyn Archer AO
9:15 – 10:20am Speakers: Professor David Throsby*, Lisa Colley, Don Aitkin AO, Hugh Mackay* (paper read in absentia by Don Aitkin), Monica Penders, Richard Gill OAM, Professor Claudia Visca*. Les Murray’s poetry recited by Alan Gould.Those marked * were not on the Panel. Julie Dyson, Panel member.
10:20 – 10:30am Bluebird  – dance performance by Liz Lea
10:30 – 10:50am Results of the National Arts Survey – presented by Deborah Stone, artsHub Australia
10:50 – 11:20am INTERVAL – Morning tea with surprises and art installation
11:20 – 11:30am Keynote Address by The Hon. Peter Garrett, Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth
11:30 – 12.30pm Q & A Panel – with discussion
12:30 – 1:30pm Thank you Canberra – Artistic Production showcasing
ATY Project alumni and local/interstate talent. Dancers: Liz Lea, Michael Smith, Alison Plevey, Treya Long, Katie Senior and Project Beats. Musicians: John Mackey (jazz sax player) and Contemporary Ensemble, Sidney Creswick, Kate Rafferty (soprano), Alison Laurens (violin), Roger Kong (piano), Bernice Chua.
Combined choirs of the Canberra Choral Society, The Llewellyn Choir, and Oriana Chorale.Closing Session – Professor Peter Tregear, Head, the ANU School of Music
1:35 – 3:00pm Networking, artistic surprises, meet the artists over lunch.

Click here to view the printed program.

Throughout the day there were miniature artistic surprises to creatively engage and inspire the participants during tea- and lunch-breaks.

Links with the Australian Talented Youth Project 

Several strong connections existed between the ATY Project and the Summit:

1. The whole event was a significant learning opportunity for young, emerging artists. The content and the procedures involved were seen as part of a higher order mentoring process for all young people involved. They had an experience of and gained insights into the real, big world of the arts and artists, and issues important to their future education and career paths. They were also hopefully inspired and encouraged by great speakers at the event.
2. Large parts of the program specifically refered to young people – their needs and aspirations evident through the survey and presented by artsHub Australia.
3. The Summit provided mentorship opportunities for emerging young artists with established and senior artists.
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4. Artistic performances by the ATY Project alumni, with inclusion of other young artists.

Mentoring and inspiring young emerging artists

Major Partners and Sponsors

  • Australian National University
  • The Street Theatre
  • Molonglo Group
  • Mundango Charitable Trust
  • Canberra Grammar School
  • Coordinate Agency