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Category: Interviews »

Subject: The Arts »

Jill Morgan, Director, Multicultural Arts Victoria, 2008

Andrew Jakubowicz.

Jill Morgan describes the development and goals of Multicultural Arts Victoria: she is also interviewed on the Mix It Up videos.



Date Added:

12 January 2011


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

8.3 MB





Hi Iím Jill Morgan from Multicultural Arts Victoria, and Multicultural Arts was established in 1983 and it is probably the longest multicultural arts organisations in Australia. It came out of the Festival of All Nations and it was quite quite forward thinking in its time. There was a whole group of committed movers and shakers in the ethnic field and they got together and thought that arts and culture were pivotal to changing the face of Australia. Out of the Festival of All Nations Multicultural Arts Victoria was born and from there the organisation has grown solidly over the past few years, and has had a significant impact on the scene in Australia. Multicultural arts I believe is really important in bringing people together Ė over the period of time there have been some key people involved in the organisation; Mike Zafiropoulos (head of SBS in Melbourne) who was one of the first chairs; George Pappadopoulos who was a long standing chair; Hass Dellal who is now with the Australia Multicultural Foundation. So thereís some key people been involved. The current chair is Stefan Romaniw whoís the former past chair of the Multicultural Commission. Multicultural Arts Victoria has always had a close relationship with the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria, with the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia [FECCA], and also with the VMC (Victorian Multicultural Commission).


Our artists, I mean our culturally diverse artists, werenít being given the opportunity to tour, for whatever reason, and because there are barriers in those existing [eg government schemes such as Touring Australia] schemes so what we did as a network, a multicultural arts network, was to work with the Australia Council was to develop Kultour, and Kultour now is touring many multicultural artists.


The most significant challenge for MAV we know as an organisation, and as a board, and as our membership base, we have got extraordinary talent, we have an extraordinary skill base, our communities have a rich culture, we have highly skilled artists, itís about actually bringing that skill into I suppose an environment where itís acknowledged. Itís about opening, opening peoplesí peoplesí eyes, I guess itís our role is to open the doors to the worlds we share together. I guess Multicultural Arts Victoria, we still have racism in this society. I think MAVís role is about breaking down those barriers, itís about bringing people together through the arts, the arts are a universal language, and if people can come together in a spirit of cooperation, in a spirit of genuine learning, thereís where racism, thatís where barriers break down. Once there is no racism then MAVís role will be over.


Given the changing migration patterns, we now have a whole new community coming in from Burma, from the African countries, from war torn countries, where you know their colour, their skin colour is black. One of the significant things that I think MAV is also doing is bringing the Indigenous community together with their Black brothers and sisters, to come together to work together on some of the issues that both communities are facing.


We need to take time to provide that space, and too often thereís policy, where we have people locked in little bureaucratic rooms and they donít get out to mix with the community, talk to the community. When we actually did the Way Forward our needs analysis, I had the policy makers come to me and say ďWhy are you doing this Jill?Ē. I said to make it better for the artists and communities. I think there is a real fear about change, and I think it is really important that we embrace change, and that we are brave. One of the projects we have done with the Indigenous community is ďWhat is a warrior?Ē and itís about finding the cultural strength within. And I think we all have to be cultural warriors and I think we all have to affect change for our community and for the betterment of the broader community.


Because our community will changeÖ I think for the right reasons if we enter into a spirit of acceptance. Also we have to have a sense of inquiry too, because the most important thing is that, that we can learn from other people. If MAV can actually stimulate and engage people, and bring people together it will effect change. And change is vitally important because there is racism, there is discrimination, and there is inequity still, and we have to make sure that we continually confront that.