The Peggy Glanville-Hicks Address has become appointment viewing in the Australian arts calendar, and each year the chosen speaker has challenged and inspired our industry, and the broader community, from Richard Gill’s plea for Australia to take music education seriously, Sunny Kim in praise of creative collaboration with Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian musicians, or Deborah Cheetham’s challenge to us all to incorporate Indigenous engagement in everything that we do, and not just as a box-ticking exercise.
In a change to the format, the 2021 address will instead be in the form of a livestreamed panel discussion by three artists: pianist and composer Zela Margossian, composer and percussionist Bree van Reyk, and singer, composer and improviser Sia Ahmad. The three artists were chosen for the breadth and depth of both their music and their careers, and they will explore issues of diversity, sustainability, and how arts practitioners can connect with each other and support each other’s work.
“In the past, the Peggy Glanville-Hicks Address has been delivered by some incredible creators and inspirational leaders in the music community. This year we are excited to be approaching things a little differently with the panel discussion,” explained Australian Music Centre CEO, Catherine Haridy.
“In a world that has been irrevocably shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, Australian music and artistic practice has evolved and changed to address its environment. I’m most excited about hearing our esteemed panellists’ inspirational stories, their perseverance and their ability to build their capacity for creativity through an unusually challenging period of time.”
Sia Ahmad (appearing solo as Shoeb Ahmad) comments, “What an honour to be part of this year’s Address and to share that honour with two other wonderful femme-identifying artists. I’m really excited to be able to speak about the notion of creative community and how important it is for us in these unpredictable and trying times (be it because of a pandemic or in a world with less funding for the arts). Diversity is what keeps creativity thriving and evolving, seeing/hearing different lived experiences re-evaluating the history already there, and thinking about new ideas is so exciting and so relevant to having a rich future ahead of us.”
Zela Margossian agreed, saying, “Diversity is an essential part in any community and is a great binding force in the creative sphere of the arts. Specifically, in the music sphere, diversity brings about unique relationships through music. Exchanging ideas and learning from one another’s cultural heritage and musical traditions bring about distinct collaborations and interesting projects. Contribution creates connection and connection creates a network of support which is essential during uncertain times such as the one we are experiencing right now.”
“Sustainability and diversity are hugely important considerations for all humans,” explained Bree van Reyk, “As artists, it’s been a very difficult period in terms of financial and career prospects/downfalls and I’ve found myself questioning what it means for me to be making music in this era. I’ve been thinking a lot about not just sustainability but nourishment, and how I can develop my practice as an artist to not just survive or ‘get by’ amongst the busyness, but to actively foster nourishment, generosity and slowness as artistic acts.”
The conversation will be streamed live at 1:30pm AEDT on Thursday 4 November via Zoom.