31 October

Supporting Southeast Queensland

Starting with two days working with artists at the Ration Shed Museum in Cherbourg, Arts Law’s recent outreach to Southeast Queensland was a major success. With the support of MinterEllison’s Brisbane office, Arts Law was able to visit the Southeast of the state in October, including Bundaberg and Maleny.

Accompanied by volunteer lawyer Ali Harris (MinterEllison), Katherine Giles and Jo-Anne Driessens were able to make the 170km journey from Brisbane to Cherbourg, an Aboriginal community on the Barambah Creek. The community is located in the Wakka Wakka tribal boundaries, near the border of Gubbi Gubbi territory, and was established in 1899 before being taken over as a Government Settlement in 1904. At this point, whilst under the Aboriginal Protection Act, people from a large number of clans and tribes in all parts of Queensland and northern NSW were moved to Cherbourg. The government administration controlled almost every aspect of peoples’ lives, and the Ration Shed Museum in Cherbourg now hosts many events and exhibitions and a permanent exhibition documenting the stories of the Aboriginal people who were brought to Cherbourg and the lives they lived there. As documented at the Cherbourg Memory website:

It is a difficult and sometimes sad story, but it is essentially a story of survival and hope.

Cherbourg Memory

At the Ration Shed, Arts Law worked with artists from the Yidding Artists and ReFire Project and delivered workshops on artists’ rights and wills. A governance workshop was also run for the board of The Ration Shed. Arts Law then prepared wills for some of the artists before travelling to Bundaberg. Here a workshop was delivered to Gidarjil Central Queensland Language Centre. Arts Law works with language centres around Australia providing advice, resources and training on issues such as copyright, contracts and Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP). Legal issues for language centres arise when language centres collaborate with individuals who are not employees, such as illustrators, artists or writers. Language centres also produce Indigenous language dictionaries, books and other resources and regularly deal with copyright, contracts and ICIP when producing these resources. Arts Law’s information sheet Legal Issues for Language Centres set out some of these issues in greater detail.

Moving on to Maleny afterward, Arts Law were able to present a workshop on artists’ rights and wills at Munimba-ja, as well as one-on-one advice sessions for artists. Munimba-ja is an Aboriginal-run gallery and cultural space producing critical work that promotes contemporary Aboriginal art and ideas. Arts Law was able to provide support to local, independent artists and to assist local artists with developing their legal literacy and confidence around their arts practice. The workshop also introduced Arts Law to further artists, positioning the organisation as one which supports artists and their art making. Arts Law was farewelled with a tour of the space at Munimba-ja and ‘The Blak Laundry’ exhibition.

Arts Law would like to thank MinterEllison for their support for this outreach trip to Southeast Queensland, enabling us to reach new artists and support more communities in regional Australia.