The ANKAAA Arts Worker Extension Program is an intensive nine month professional development program for eight high-achieving, long-serving Indigenous arts workers from the ANKAAA membership. The group includes arts workers from each of ANKAAA’s four regions, Arnhem Land, Darwin/Katherine, the Kimberley and the Tiwi Islands.
Now in its fourth year, the Arts Worker Extension Program continues to make an important contribution to ANKAAA’s overarching strategies to support sustainable Indigenous owned and operated Art Centres for its members.
The program is designed to increase the arts workers professional skills and industry networks to further their careers in Northern Australian Indigenous Art Centres. Indigenous arts workers typically work in Art Centre management support roles and are in important positions contributing to the many functions of Art Centres as complex business operations, as places of learning and as keeping places of cultural and artistic traditions.
The program includes Darwin-based intensive training sessions, work place support, field-trips, cross-regional exchanges, short-term interstate industry placements, and nine month mentorships to strengthen each participant’s capacity to achieve their goals within the Indigenous arts sector. ANKAAA also supports Art Centre managers to develop viable career pathways for the participants. Each participant receives a laptop computer and a wireless Internet modem through which they communicate as a group and build support networks across regions and the arts industry.
Partnerships to support arts worker industry placements have been established with leading institutions that have played a vital role in the program development and delivery. Partners include: National Gallery of Australia (Canberra); National Museum of Australia (Canberra); Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney); Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney); Art Gallery of Western Australia (Perth); National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne); Museum Victoria (Melbourne); Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (Darwin), and the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation (University of Melbourne).
It is ANKAAA’s goal to provide ongoing professional pathways for Indigenous arts workers, so that training programs are not offered in isolation, but rather built upon in subsequent years through a range of professional development opportunities.