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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

The Hon Bill Shorten MP
Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services

Artists in residence benefiting Australian schools

Media release
11 December 2009

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Arts Minister Peter Garrett today visited the Furlong Park School for Deaf Children in Sunshine North, Victoria, to see first hand the benefits of a $5.2 million Government initiative to improve arts education for young people.

The Creative Education Partnership: Artist in Residence Initiative, a four year program rolling-out around the country, sees professional artists working with students and teachers in Australian schools.

“Here at Furlong Park School for Deaf Children one of the nation's leading children's theatre groups, the Polyglot Puppet Theatre, has been working with students and staff to explore ideas through drawing, puppet making, comic book creation and physical theatre techniques.

“This is one of the first residencies undertaken through the Artists in Residence Program and is a really inspiring example of how this program can provide a whole new set of experiences for students.”

Member for Maribyrnong and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services, Bill Shorten, said: “Through this program and their work with Polyglot, students have also had a unique opportunity to share their work with students at a school for deaf children in Cambodia via video link, helping to forge new links between schools and communities.

“This is part of a wider program of activities that the Furlong Park School for Deaf Children offers to its students and I am delighted that they have been given the opportunity to benefit from this excellent Artists in Residence program,” Mr Shorten said.

Mr Garrett said the AIR program enhances young people's access to quality arts education, especially at-risk youth and students in regional and remote schools.

“It is a very exciting, hands-on way of implementing arts education in our schools. This is important for not only encouraging a lifelong involvement with the arts as a practitioner or audience member, but also for overall academic outcomes.

“The arts stimulate the imagination, improve communication and critical thinking skills, and foster creativityand adaptability–all important contributors to success in life.

“Artists are working in schools to teach both students and teachers about contemporary arts practice. They will also share ideas and stimulate debate about artistic concepts and ideas.”

“Importantly, artists also get the benefit of working on new projects and having access to arts facilities in schools, passing on their knowledge to an enthusiastic audience and earning additional income,” Mr Garrett said.

The artist in residence initiative is delivered through partnerships between the Australia Council for the Arts and state and territory arts and education agencies. By early 2010 there will be 71 residencies completed or underway including nine projects in Victoria, 13 in NSW, two in Queensland, 19 in the Northern Territory, five in the ACT, seven in Western Australia, 10 in South Australia and five in Tasmania.

The Artist in Residence Initiative is managed by the Australia Council for the Arts.

Commonwealth of Australia