ACHAA (Aboriginal Culture, Heritage & Arts Association Inc.) is a new association established for NSW Aboriginal cultural centres, keeping places, knowledge centres, language centres and artist-run studios. On 9 and 10 September, ACHAA will hold its first AGM and workshops at the Yarrawarra Aboriginal Culture Centre at Corindi Beach.
ACHAA was established to develop sustainable networks between like-minded organisations, raise professional standards and promote the value and importance of the sector to key stakeholders and the general public.
Alison Williams, ACHAA Chairperson says the establishment of the organisation is timely for the support and recognition it will bring:
“Our Keeping places and cultural centres are our grass roots portals for the continuance of our cultural practices, our stories and spirituality. They are the contemporary gathering places and trading sites between Indigenous nations. They are the voice of communities, from Elders to our youth, which speak to wider Australia and governments.”
The need for such an association is long overdue. At the 2011 Keeping Places & beyond: building cultural futures in NSW Summit, the request for a support network for the broad range of places for NSW Aboriginal culture, heritage and arts was one of the most strongly supported recommendations.
Other states and territories already provide advocacy, support and general promotion through a number of umbrella organisations such as ANKAAA (the Association of Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists Inc.) which operates across WA and NT.
Our Keeping places and cultural centres are our grass roots portals for the continuance of our cultural practices, our stories and spirituality. They are the contemporary gathering places and trading sites between Indigenous nations.
In response to the Summit recommendations, M&G NSW agreed to provide secretariat services in the establishment phase of the network. Unanimous support for the formation of ACHAA was reiterated at more than a dozen community meetings during the 2012 field consultations.
ACHAA has the following objectives:
a) Create a sustainable and resilient network of NSW Aboriginal Culture, Heritage & Arts organisations;
b) Provide and facilitate training and development for those who work and volunteer in the NSW Aboriginal culture, heritage and arts place based sector;
c) Promote the value of NSW Aboriginal culture, heritage and arts and artists to the broader arts, heritage and culture sector and wider community;
d) Engage with all levels of government and non-government organisations for the support and promotion of NSW Aboriginal culture, heritage and arts.
To get ACHAA off the ground, M&G NSW contacted a selected group of eight Aboriginal cultural organisations to become founding members and to define its operating structure.
To be eligible for ACHAA membership an organisation must be an Aboriginal managed NFP with place -based operations and be open to the public receiving over 100 unique visitors per year. It is estimated up to 20 organisations may be eligible.
The non-core, associate membership will include aspiring Aboriginal organisations plus cultural, regional and tertiary institutions interested in supporting the objectives of the association.
To find out more about the ACHAA workshop Building Together: Tools for cultural places go to www.mgnsw.org.au/sector/events
The AGM and workshops at the Yarrawarra Aboriginal Culture Centre have been organised by M&G NSW with financial support from Arts NSW.
The 2011 Keeping Places & beyond: building cultural futures in NSW Summit was organised by Museums & Galleries of NSW and funded by Arts NSW.