Alice Springs 2008

Regional Arts Australia Conference Alice Springs Art at the Heart, Regional Arts Australia’s sixth national conference, was held in Alice Springs on October 3-5 2008. 

The conference was opened by the Hon Peter Garrett AM, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts. Art at the Heart hosted 959 delegates, 192 conference presenters and 254 festival artists from diverse cultural backgrounds and geographic areas from regional and remote Australia. Approximately 45% of presenters were Indigenous and the Artistic program featured a ratio of 40:60 Indigenous to non-Indigenous artists.

The central focus of Art at the Heart was artistic and cultural exchange and cross cultural collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and cultural workers in regional and remote contexts.

Art at the Heart was designed to be an ideas incubator, development space and platform for delegates to learn new skills, create networks and generate new ideas. Art at the Heart aimed to link communities, artists, local councils and organisations in order to help create powerful connections and collaborations to sustain artists and stimulate arts activities across regional and remote Australia.

Regional Arts Australia worked with the Northern Territory Government through Arts NT and the Alice Springs community to produce an inspirational experience.

Regional Arts Australia Alice Springs Kieren Sanderson, Conference Coordinator

Well-known and respected Alice Springs arts leader, Kieren Sanderson has worked in Regional and Remote Australia for over 10 years.

She is a highly-respected arts practitioner and has strong links with the broader Alice Springs community. She has a most varied work history that includes tutor at a correctional centre, creative director of the EarthDance Festival in Cairns as well as other festivals, and curator of several exhibitions.

Before becoming artistic director of Art at the Heart she was program manager of Watch this Space in Alice Springs, an artist-run gallery and studio.

Since the conference Kieren has continued to work in regional and remote Australian community arts. She has produced Shift Ground, 21 Days of Art and Performance, Ideas Incubator and been associate producer of the contemporary opera confined presenter at the Alice Spring Goal



Comments from delegates about Art at the Heart:

“Showed the focus of story is important for community.” “Great sense of collegiate nature of broader arts community.” “Interesting that the benefits collaborate with non-local artists to interpret own stories.” “I was very surprised as most conferences I have attended were very boring Art at the Heart was different fun and exciting.” “After the conference I feel more enlightened about the arts.” “Conference offered understanding of our works impact on society.” “The strength of art at the heart was the expression of regional identity and the openness of participants.” “Conference helped create a sense of community in the Northern Territory.” “Overall very exciting, inspiring and empowering experience!”

Regional Arts Australia acknowledges the traditional Custodians of land throughout Australia and we pay our respect to their Elders, past, present and emerging.