Building a Chair’s Network in the YA/TYA Sector

TNA is the leading national industry development organisation for the contemporary performing arts, with a particular focus and priority on supporting independent creative practitioners and small to medium companies. TNA is also the Australian centre for ASSITEJ International and provides specific advocacy, services, and support for the Youth Arts and Theatre for Young Audiences (YA/TYA) sector. Now TNA’s General Manager, I have previously spent my career working in youth arts, including as the founding Artistic Director of youth dance company, DRILL.

It is not news to anyone that the YA/TYA sector has struggled to be visible and understood, and has seen a steady decline in national funding over the last decade. While advocacy to increase public investment in the arts needs to continue, it is clear that the YA/TYA sector needs support to build the capacity of its organisations, particularly those in regional and remote places without access to the support networks found in metropolitan areas. However, this is challenging given the financial landscape and the already huge demands placed on the time and energy of organisation staff.

To tackle this challenge in a different way, TNA is looking to create a network of YA/TYA organisation Chairs, or other nominated Board representatives, for peer learning and discussion, with an emphasis on sharing best practices for governance and supporting the work of our artists. The network will allow Chairs and Boards to build greater awareness of the context their organisations are operating in, access resources to strengthen their work, form relationships with counterparts across the country, and find solidarity in the work we all do together.

The Chairs’ Network will link in and make use of the resources the Australia Council for the Arts is currently creating to support good governance in the sector. I believe that connecting and galvanising our Boards is just one small way we can strengthen our sector and make our organisations more competitive in the funding landscape, while not adding to the workload of already overworked staff.

I am inviting organisations to encourage their Chairs, or at least someone from their Board, to become a part of the network, which will include a handful of online meetings in 2023 and access to resources. To express interest, simply complete this short online form and we will be in contact with your Chair or Board member directly with more information.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].

Joshua Lowe
General Manager


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