26 September
Donna Robinson, Guy Donovan and Hopevale Artists on the art centre verandah. Photo © Melanie Gibson.

October Outreach: Hopevale and Yalanji

In late October senior solicitor, Donna Robinson, travelled to northern Queensland as part of Arts Law’s outreach to art centres in indigenous communities. Donna was accompanied by Guy Donovan of Holding Redlich who was attending as part of that firm’s pro bono program.

They team spent two days at the Arts and Cultural Centre in Hopevale. The art centre won the Cairns Regional Council Art Centre Award at this year’s Cairns Indigenous Art Fair in July which is a great achievement, especially with such stiff competition. Hopevale is a community north of Cooktown and the lawyers flew from Cairns to Cooktown on a Cessna Caravan, fortunately the days weren’t especially windy! During the visit Arts Law assisted the art centre manager, Melanie Gibson, with developing licence agreements. Donna also gave an education workshop on the back verandah, a beautiful space where the artists work. Training given to the artists and art centre employees covered copyright, ICIP, licencing, contracts and wills and the lawyers also went though the different art centre copyright licence arrangements with the artists. They also prepared wills for some of the artists and made sure others were happy with the wills Arts Law had prepared for them when we were last at the art centre in 2016. Instructions and will preparation was done under the front eaves of the art centre overlooking the tropical garden with a cool breeze blowing which was a delight.

On Wednesday the team travelled to the Yalanji Art Centre in Mossman an easy hour-long drive along the coast from Cairns. There Donna gave an interactive workshop which was very instructive and generated plenty of comments, stories and questions. The workshop was well received by both artists and art centre workers who were full of a lot of energy and enthusiasm. The lawyers were also treated to a BBQ lunch before they prepared wills for the artists and discussed licence agreements and arrangements with the Acting Art Centre Manager, Lisa Clarke.

“We were made to feel very welcome and had plenty of time to discuss the questions that were currently under consideration by the art centres.”

Said Donna, reflecting on the successful outcomes achieved over the course of the trip.

“Such visits provide tremendous opportunities for the artists and art centres to receive advice on any legal issues they wish to raise, ensure they have wills in place, and contribute to their understanding of the legal issues which commonly effect artists.”

The whole experience was also incredibly rewarding and productive for the perticipating lawyers. Guy said of his experience

“There is likely to be some pro bono work to come out of the visit. Further, as the chair of our RAP Work Group, I think I am bringing back learning and experience to the firm. For instance, I think I am able to speak with more confidence about the importance of art centres within Aboriginal communities and their contribution to self-determination through income generation.”