Maitri Cultural Partnerships of upto $750,000 announced

Grants to enhance artistic collaboration, cooperation, and exchange between Australia and India of upto $750,000

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If you have felt the sheer dearth of Indian links in Australia’s mainstream cultural scene, then things might be about to change.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong has just announced an inaugural Maitri Cultural Partnerships grants round, to support greater exchange and collaboration between Australian and Indian creative industries.

The Maitri (literally, friendship) program will be administered by the new Centre for Australia-India Relations CAIR which will open later this year.

The new announcement comes a week after Indian Australian corporate executive Swati Dave was names as Chair of CAIR.

The Centre was announced early last year, aims to lift Australia’s collective understanding and awareness of India, and in the October 2022 budget, $24.1 million was set aside for it.

Swati Dave, Chair of CAIR, with Foreign Minister Penny Wong
Swati Dave, Chair of the Centre for Australia-India Relations, with Foreign Minister Penny Wong

The Maitri Cultural Partnership grant round is divided into three programs:

Maitri Cultural Partnerships Major Collaboration Grant Supporting major Australian cultural organisation collaboration to engage Indian partners (funding up to $250,000)

Maitri Cultural Partnerships Visual and Performing Arts Grants Cultural collaboration that supports First Nations’ participation (funding up to $250,000)

Maitri Cultural Partnerships Collaboration Grants Small to medium sized Australian cultural organisations and community groups collaboration (funding up to $70,000)

These grants will enhance the Centre’s mission to promote and coordinate enhanced co-operation and exchange between Australia and India. The Centre aims to do this by lifting contemporary India literacy in Australia while deepening cultural understanding. The Indian diaspora in Australia is one of the pillars of the Centre and the grants will pick on their expertise in elevating public discourse focusing on four complementary pillars:

· Promoting policy dialogue

· Building India business literacy and links

· Engaging Australia’s Indian diaspora communities to support the bilateral relationship.

· Deepening cultural connections and understanding

Over time, to deepen Australia’s education, cultural and policy links, the Centre will deliver programs worth $20.7 million, including scholarships, fellowships, research and cultural partnerships grants.

Applications for the Maitri Cultural Partnerships grant round opened on 20 February and WILL close on 3 April 2023. Details can be found here.

Large, medium, and small cultural, visual and performing arts organisations, including diaspora and First Nations People groups, are encourage to apply, as a way of supporting two-way artistic collaboration.

The Maitri Cultural Partnerships are just the starting point of the Maitri initiatives. Other programs to be launched in the coming year, will include Maitri Grants, Scholarships and Fellowships.

We’ve seen a dearth of Indian cultural events in the Australian arts scene lately. While COVID can be to blame for this, perhaps it’s also been a lack of interest. While the writers‘ festivals, film festivals and arts festivals typically did bring us Indian links from the arts and culture scene, they have fallen the wayside on the past five years or so, with just a smattering of inclusions.

Hopefully this will change now, with the new sense of Indian-Australian maitri now emerging.

In the interim, kudos to the local community: they have filled the gap wonderfully, by sourcing their own acts in various genres from the subcontinent, and also taking a huge leap in homegrown endeavours in the performing arts.

Read More: Swati Dave, CAIR chair: Making contemporary India accessible

Pawan Luthra
Pawan Luthra
Pawan is the publisher of Indian Link and is one of Indian Link's founders. He writes the Editorial section.

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