Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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Case Study: Footscray Community Arts Centre

Project“Blakstream” – Indigenous Creative Producers and Arts Managers Capacity Building Program

Amount$90,000 over 18 months


ProgramPast Programs | Arts and Culture

This grant was approved under our previous grants policy (Jan 2014 – March 2017)
Supporting Indigenous Victoria Encourage and support the professional development of emerging Indigenous creative producers and arts managers
Building organisational capacity Build the capacity of Indigenous Victorian arts workers and build cultural competency within arts organisations, sector-wide
Extending opportunity Provide strategic, hands-on opportunities in skills development, career advancement and professional network-building
Collaboration and partnership Ilbijerri Theatre Company, Brown Cab Productions, Victoria University, Footscray Community Arts Centre’s Indigenous Advisory Group, Wominjeka Festival, NAIDOC Week and other festivals

Enabling the Victorian Indigenous arts community to author, develop and deliver its own work

There is an insufficient supply of qualified Indigenous senior arts managers and producers to meet industry demand. The 3-year Blakstream program develops and builds on skills of the next generation of Indigenous creative producers and administrators through a results-based program.

Image Hannah Presley, curator of WEAVE, at Wominjeka 2014. Photo: James Henry


  • Footscray Community Arts Centre, together with its collaborating partners, reviewed past initiatives, analysed successes and failures, and consulted broadly with Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural organisations and leaders to design a culturally appropriate program for long-term impact.
  • Blakstream includes structured mentorships, strategic work placements, workshops and engagement with professional development programs.
  • Four emerging Indigenous creative producers or arts managers will be ‘upskilled’ and ready to take on senior producing and managing roles within the Victorian Indigenous arts sector.
  • The program will develop competency and best practice in community engagement in the broader Victorian arts sector.
  • Learnings from the program will inform the development of long-term industry initiatives, ensuring the continued development of high quality Indigenous arts managers and producers.
  • The Centre’s Indigenous Cultural Program presents work authored entirely by Indigenous artists and developed in consultation with the community, including Elders in Residence Aunty Carolyn Briggs and Uncle Larry Walsh.
  • The program will be shared as best practice models.


“Blakstream encourages excellence, drives ambition and will create pathways for Indigenous Victorians into employment in the broader arts sector.” Megan Cope, Creative Producer, FCAC