The Australian Consulate General in Mumbai (ACGM) is a custodian of the close relationship between Australia and India. As a representative of the Australian Government in India, the ACGM team's work in public diplomacy carries a key agenda of facilitating the exchange of ideas and culture bilaterally. One way the organisation aims to increase the visibility of Australia's cultural offerings is by bringing artists and creative practitioners together.
In June 2020, the ACGM team and the Art X Company came together to address the need in the Indian cultural sector to devise ways and means of adapting to the digital universe that the arts world was forced to grapple with. From pivoting to digital platforms, to devising fresh strategy, and sharing knowledge, the sector's arts leaders were finding it hard to adapt to the pandemic and its effects.
The Art X Company along with it’s sister organisation, Arts and Culture Resources India (ACRI) suggested a two level approach looking at the current needs of the Indian culture sector.
Art X Company realised that culture managers and leaders were caught off guard with the current scenario and their challenges were unique while operating in a country like India.
Rather than creating a blanket solution to enable cultural institutions and businesses to shift their work online, the Art X Company used the situation to develop a Scenario Planning and Strategy Development Masterclass, which acted as the base for organisations to identify their challenges, and realign their vision, mission and goals to the current context. The approach encouraged a problem solving mindset to the continuous and growing uncertainties around the sector, but at the same time, by bringing diverse professionals together to learn from their peers.
1) A two day masterclass targeting the senior leaders from the sector was organised on the 26 and 27 of June. Attended by 32 participants, the masterclass was led by Dr. Josephine Caust, Australian Cultural Strategist with over two decades of work experience in India.
The cohort of culture managers from various practises went through the two day program, where they revisited their vision-mission and organisational goals as well as participated in various strategy development exercises designed by the team.
2) The project also devised a one day workshop for young and mid-career professionals from the Indian creative sector under the age of 32 on scenario planning and building resilience.
The workshop focused on strategies to develop resilience during the pandemic, and ways to rebuild and redevelop plans for the new paradigm of work that the global culture industry is now working towards.
The session was attended by 25 participants from a diverse range of culture professions and from multiple cities in India.
Participants for both the sessions were carefully chosen after a strict application check while maintaining gender balance, genre balance, as well as keeping an eye on the socio-economic and geographical backgrounds of the participants in focus. Another key concern during the selection process was to identify the value the individual applicants bring-in to the cohort.