Canberra Artists Action Group

Online at with meetings online at 12:30pm every Wednesday.

Dozens of Canberra-based arts organisations as well as hundreds of performers, artists and other creatives have come together to help support the arts community during the COVID-19 challenge.

The Canberra Arts Action Group, originally formed in late 2016 in response to changes in arts funding in the ACT, has been reactivated. The group is open to all with a stake in the arts and entertainment, including artists, arts workers and member of the community who engage in the Canberra region.

Barbie speaks with spokesperson Michael Sollis about the Canberra Arts Action Group
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Gunning Arts Festival to go online

17 to 18 April 2020

Gunning Arts Festival committee has decided to postpone the physical Gunning Arts Festival to comply with national precautions to help control the spread of COVID-19. However, recognising the even greater need now for some community building and uplift, the committee has resolved to produce an online Festival this year.

Gunning Arts Festival’s Margarita Georgiadis talks about preparations for the online festival
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F A C E Unframed and online from Belconnen Arts Centre

While Belconnen Arts Centre is closed accordance with the nationwide shutdown of public gathering spaces, its F A C E Unframed exhibition will proceed online.

Delivery deadline for artworks is Friday 27 March. You can still drop your entry off in person with a ‘no contact’ option; simply press the intercom for the front desk when you arrive at the Centre, and BAC will open the doors to allow you access to a drop box, where you can deposit your artwork.

Please ensure your name and phone number are attached to your artwork.

Information at

You can also mail your entries to:
Belconnen Arts Centre
PO Box 183
Belconnen ACT 2616

New album – The Witness by Dorothy-Jane

The Witness album depicts the true story of a period of intense upheaval in the life of Canberra singer, songwriter and blues-harp player, Dorothy-Jane.

This concept album was born from a defining moment of Dorothy-Jane witnessing her husband molesting a child, through the breakdown of family relationships, finding the strength to take the stand and assist in incarcerating him, to her reaching a place of relative stability and beginning to establish a new normal.

Barbie speaks with Dorothy-Jane about The Witness
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Australian Festival of Chamber Music defers, announces 2021 dates

23 July – 1 August 2021
Townsville, Queensland

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced deferral of the 30th Australian Chamber of Chamber Music, but renowned British pianist Kathryn Stott will remain at the helm for her third and final festival.

The now-cancelled 2020 festival was to have included special performances to mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, performance of a set of variations to mark a special anniversary for festival stalwarts the Goldner Quartet, a concert on Palm Island, and much more.

Information about ticket transfers and refunds is available at


Ursula Dubosarsky: Read for your life

Author Ursula Dubosarsky has been named Australian Children’s Laureate for 2020-21

Dubosarsky is the author of over 60 books for children and young adults. She has won many national prizes, including the NSW, Victorian, South Australian and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award, and has been nominated for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for children’s literature.

Her books have been published widely across the world and translated into 14 languages. The theme for her two-year term as Australian Children’s Laureate is Read For Your Life.  

Barbie speaks with Ursula Dubosarsky
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Yarra Valley Writers Festival to be livestreamed event

Saturday 9 May 2020
Streamed online from various venues

The Festival, originally scheduled for 8-10 May in Healesville Victoria, will, because of the COVID-19 emergency, be a one-day streamed event

Writers and presenters to be featured in the livestream include:

  • Tony Birch (The White Girl)
  • Chris Flynn (Mammoth
  • Eliza Henry-Jones (How to Grow a Family Tree), 
  • Elizabeth McCarthyMeg Mundell (The Trespassers)
  • Ailsa Piper (The Attachment: Letters From A Most Unlikely Friendship)
  • Hannie Rayson
  • Angela Savage (Mother of Pearl)
  •  Jock Serong (Preservation)
  • Michael Veitch (Hell Ship, Turning Point) 
  • Donna Ward (She I Dare Not Name)
  • David Williamson (Don’s Party)
  • Charlotte Wood (The Weekend)

Information at

Truth, Power and a Free Press

Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House, Canberra
Open daily 9am-5pm

At this new permanent exhibition underneath the old House of Representatives chamber, 12 of Australia’s finest journalists appear as larger-than-life characters – literally.

Richard spoke with Michael Evans, senior historian at MoAD, about the exhibition
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Clear Blue Sky – The Song Company 2020 season

Antony Pitts (photo by Nick Gilbert)

Antony Pitts – artistic director
Francis Greep – associate artistic director

The Heavens inspire the 2020 season with  works from Hildegard of Bingen via Dieterich Buxtehude to Gavin Bryars.

 ‘The spiritual in music has always been there – in the songlines and ritual traditions of First Peoples around the world to the enigmatic musical notation in the 3000-year-old Jewish Book of Psalms – and composers down the centuries have created some of their most enduring masterpieces on sacred texts.

Barbie speaks with Antony Pitts about the Song Company’s 2020 season
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Gunning Arts Festival

17-18 April 2020

With the theme Celebrating Nature, the first Gunning Arts Festival will be held on 17 and 18 April 2020. Many artists and artisans live in Gunning and region and they have come together to present the festival, espousing the philosophy that arts has much to offer in challenging times.

Barbie speaks with Margarita Georgiadis about the festival
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Behind the Lines – The Greatest Hits Tour

The year’s best political cartoons 2019
Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House, Canberra

The winner of this year’s Cartoonist of the Year Award  is Jon Kudelka. Kudelka’s cartoons have appeared in The Australian and he has recently joined the team at The Saturday Paper. He sees the main aim of political cartooning as ‘puncturing the pompous and the puffed- up.’

Barbie spoke with curator Jennifer Forest
Sydney Morning Herald cartoonist Cathy Wilcox spoke to Richard about political cartooning
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Speaking and Listening from the Heart

Tuggeranong Arts Centre
5 December 2019 to 18 January 2020
Schools Reconciliation Challenge 2019

In 2019 over 1500 students have explored the theme Speaking and Listening from the Heart. Students tapped into the need for First Nations Peoples voices to be heard and to understand that Speaking and Listening from the Heart offers everyone the ability to connect with Country, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders and with their own feelings about identity and being an Australian.

Barbie spoke with Thea Baker, Project Manger for Reconciliation NSW, and Alison Faure-Brac, Executive Director of the NSW Reconciliation Council
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Sharon Peoples – Still Waters

Tuggeranong Arts Centre
5 December 2019 to 11 January 2020

In January 2019 Sharon Peoples spent four weeks as artist in residence at Tuggeranong Arts Centre. Her  project was to work on ideas about gardens in the area. However this idea changed and a new body of work was made.

Barbie speaks with Sharon Peoples about Still Waters
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Canberra International Music Festival – Giving Voice

1 to 10 May 2020
Various venues, including the Fitters Workshop
Directed by Roland Peelman

The festival theme Giving Voice is expressed in the program’s focus on Indigenous stories, untold stories and a number of concerts for the human voice.

The inspiration of voices in nature is also apparent with The Whale and the Curlew and Birsdsong at Dusk for example.

Festival director Roland Peelman previews the festival
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