Global Bulletin: HBO Europe Greenlights Spanish Anthology Series ‘Escenario 0’ – Variety

Standout Spanish cinema actors Irene Escolar (“Official Competition,” “Tell Me Who I Am”) and Bárbara Lennie (“Everybody Knows,” “Magical Girl”) have teamed on a new anthology series commissioned by HBO España and produced by Calle Cruzada.

Created and executive produced by the pair (pictured), who will also perform in the show, “Escenario 0” features six episodes from prominent writers and filmmakers. A unique project that will mix different disciplines to create an exceptional fusion between the performing and audiovisual arts.

“Escanario 0” is the latest example of HBO Europe looking to tap Spanish talent for its HBO Spain original programming. Previous series include Isabel Coixet’s “Foodie Love” and Álex de la Iglesia’s “30 Coins,” as well as the much-anticipated series adaptation of best-selling novel “Patria,” and recently announced comedy series “Por H o por B.”

Keshet International’s “The Hit List” Keshet International


Keshet has closed a deal for a Dutch remake of the popular musical quiz program “The Hit List,” commissioned by public broadcaster NPO to be produced locally by Vincent TV.

Originally produced by Tuesday’s Child, the series was recently re-commissioned for a third season at BBC One in the U.K. where season two was a hit, scoring a 20% audience share. It also recently premiered on MTV in Finland, earning the top spot among commercial channels that night.

In each episode, three teams of two participate in multiple rounds of music trivia, where breadth of knowledge is key and multi-generational pairings are encouraged. “The Hit List” is distributed globally by Keshet International on behalf of Tuesday’s Child.


UKTV has bolstered the lineup of its crime drama channel Alibi with the commissioning of new six-part series “The Diplomat,” its third original for the channel, from writer Ben Richards and producer World Productions (“Bodyguard,” “Line of Duty”) with UKTV and BBC Studios.

Set in and around the British Consul in Barcelona, the series follows ex-pat Laura Simmonds and her colleague and friend Alba Ortiz as they advocate for British nationals who run into trouble while in the Catalan capital, starting with the unexplained death of a young British bartender.

A UKTV Original, the series was commissioned by Philippa Collie Cousins and ordered by Alibi channel director Emma Ayech. Simon Heath will executive produce for World Productions, Collie Cousins for UKTV and Martin Rakusen for BBC Studios.


Entertainment One (eOne) has secured a multi-year licensing partnership with Florida-based Hispanic TV and media company Olympusat for more than 200 hours of catalog content to be made available on the latter’s Latin American AVOD service FreeTV, launched in May.

FreeTV content includes a wide array of multicultural productions from around the world, including between 800 and 1,000 hours per month dubbed in Spanish and 200 hours of content from Mexico, Spain and the rest of Latin America.

New programming from eOne includes popular series such as Thandie Newton-starrer “Rogue,” genre programs “Bitten,” “Haven,” “The Enfield Haunting,” “Saving Hope” and “Matador,” and historical drama “Turn: Washington’s Spies.” Each has been dubbed in Spanish.

Norwegian police procedural “For Life” NENT


Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) has closed first pre-sales on its new Norwegian police procedural “For Life,” recently brought onto the international market. In France, Canal Plus will broadcast the series on its Polar+ detective series channel, while SBS in Australia and Pro Plus in Slovenia also closed deals on the program.

“For Life” is created and written by International Emmy winner Gjermund S. Eriksen (“Mammon,” “Aber Bergen”) and is co-written by Helena Nielsen (“Lilyhammer,” “Aber Bergen”). NENT company Monster produces for Norwegian broadcaster NRK with backing from the Norwegian Film Institute.

A multi-timeline series, “For Life” unspools in the present as National Crime Service investigator Victoria Woll solves cases, and in the future, where she herself is in prison. Each episode will feature one of Woll’s cases and provide bits of the backstory which landed her behind bars.

“For Life” will premiere on NRK Sept. 6.


AT&T’s WarnerMedia has announced the promotion of Whit Richardson from president of Turner Latin America to president of WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks, Latin America, effective Aug. 1. He will continue to work out of the company’s offices in Atlanta and report to Gerhard Zeiler, chief revenue officer, WarnerMedia and president of WarnerMedia International Networks.

In the new role, Richardson will oversee programming, ad sales, distribution and operations for WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks, including Turner channels, Cinemax, HBO and sports networks across the region. He will share responsibility for kids programming in Latin America with Tom Ascheim, newly announced president of global kids, young adults and classics at Warner Bros.

Cairns projects share in arts funding 8 July – Mirage News

Stories of migration, child slavery and multiculturalism from the Cairns community will be brought to life via music, theatre, screen and literature in projects funded by the Cairns Regional Arts Development Fund Program.

For the first time, Cairns Regional Council has awarded a major ‘City of the Arts Hero Project’ grant of $25,000 in 2020, which went to Jute Theatre for a proposal to celebrate the Cairns region’s Italian legacy in a theatre and music project called La Bella Figura.

This large-scale new theatrical work will be developed in consultation with the Cairns Italian community and involves music, photography, and a creative team made up of some of most highly respected professionals in our region.

The project is also supported by the Queensland Music Festival and will be part of their program in 2021.

Eight arts projects in the Cairns region will also share in $62,078 in funding under Major Round Two of the RADF 2019/20 grants, which includes the creation of an interactive Kid’s Audio Trail by Cairns Museum and a series of performing arts workshops.

Amber Grossman and Hayley Gillespie will deliver the Young Creatives Mentorship Program – a series of performing arts skills development workshops culminating in a multi-media performance for six selected students at Bulmba-ja arts centre in late 2020.

Mayor Bob Manning said the latest round of funding would assist a broad range of creative projects ranging from performing arts, short film and multi-media projects, to the creation of literature and the exhibition of a significant collection.

“Hundreds of local projects have been assisted over the years by RADF grants, which deliver positive outcomes for communities across the region,” Cr Manning said.

“In 2020 lots of people have realised just how important the arts are in their lives.

“When COVID-19 shut down the country, many of us turned to the television, music and books. The cancellation of festivals, events and performances was a blow for artists and the community.

“Cairns has great depth of talent in our artistic and creative community. These successful RADF projects represent a chance for our creative community to share their ideas, works and skills again.”

The latest round of funding will deliver a range of creative opportunities and events to the community, including an exhibition showcasing the works and migration stories of Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists who worked for Cairns-based souvenir company Reef Productions.

The grants will also assist the Cairns and District Family History Society with their project Herstory, History – the research and writing of 40 engaging short stories based around the lives of past pioneers of the Cairns Region.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government is proud to continue its RADF partnership with local governments with an investment of $2.08 million, through Arts Queensland, for the 2019-20 fund.

“This investment will support the delivery of hundreds of arts experiences and professional development opportunities across the state,” Ms Enoch said.

“Projects funded through RADF provide pathways for learning, contribute to the creation of jobs, foster creativity and boost cultural tourism.”

/Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.

Sophiegrophy Is The Nigerian-Antipodean Artist Making An Indelible Impression With Her Bold Yet Understated Sound – Culture Custodian

With a multi-faceted sound that’s hard to ignore and a captivating sense of style, this artist has undoubtedly made a name for herself in the Australian music industry. Her career took off in 2016 with the release of her mixtape, PURPULARITY and till date, Sophiegrophy is showing no signs of slowing down or changing who she is to fit the mould. 

Born in Nigeria, raised in New Zealand and now living in Australia, her multicultural background has set the stage for her experimental and carefully but expertly curated sound. Her recently released EP, Bold is clear-cut proof of this. We had a chat with Sophiegrophy about the impact her upbringing has made on her sound, and the creative process behind her debut EP.

Being a New Zealand raised, Nigerian woman in the Australian hip-hop scene has surely birthed a very distinct approach in how you navigate through music as an art form. How exactly has your multicultural background influenced your sound and the music you create?

My multicultural background has definitely influenced me a lot. In regards to writing, it has really helped with being able to take bits and pieces of my experiences and [fuse] them with my music. Writing is all about inspiration and influence and without these, it becomes hard to gather your thoughts. So the good thing is that, [living] in Nigeria, New Zealand and now Australia, has really impacted my art. Each country has shaped my identity and led me to finding not only who I am but more importantly, my sound. 

Touching on what you just said about finding your sound and finding who you are… Who is Sophiegrophy beyond the spotlight?

Sophiegrophy is a very nonchalant individual who is a really goofy person when you get to know her. She isn’t easily influenced because she’s aware of not only the people around her but also society. 

Your career has had quite the trajectory since the release of PURPULARITY, from performing at major festivals like Rolling Loud Australia to recently having your own Spotify billboard and everything in-between. What’s been the biggest highlight of your journey so far?

Honestly, it’s really hard for me to choose one because every milestone I’ve had is still incredibly shocking to me. I am just grateful for everything. 

When was the first time you ever performed in front of an audience? Can you remember what that experience was like?

Omg YES! This was back when I first started high school so I was 13. My high school at the time ran a talent show which I participated in. The crazy thing is that I was not nervous at all. I was more excited to perform and showcase my [talent]. 

Photo: Jesse O’Brien

So let’s talk about your debut EP, Bold. It’s quite the eclectic mix of sounds, incorporating genres such as hip-hop, house and afrobeats. What was the creative process like with bringing this EP to life?

The process was so inspiring. As an artist, you never stop growing. So I learnt [even more] about myself and my sound. I did a lot of the writing at home in my own space because I get very distracted when I’m trying to tap into my thoughts and creative side while there are people around me. So writing was done at home and refinements were done in the studio. The recording process was actually the hardest bit because I am such a perfectionist and so is my producer. Every [single] sound and note was analysed. 

And what do you want your fans, old and new alike, to take away from this EP when they listen to it?

When they listen to my EP, I really want them to understand the importance of diversity. Even though each track is different, I made sure that there’s still a [sense] of who I am in every individual song. 

There’s no doubt that your sense of style is a big part of your brand. Who are some of your major style influences?

You know what’s crazy? I actually don’t have a major style influence. I just love to wear things that make me feel comfortable and I wear whatever I consider to be dope. Growing up, I was always the type to wear things that many deemed weird but I never cared because I liked them. 

The Covid-19 pandemic and this new reality we’ve all been thrown into has made a lot, if not all of us reassess the importance we place on different aspects of our lives. Has this period influenced your thought processes in relation to the direction you want to take with your music career?

Covid-19 has really halted everything. At the same time, it really has given me a lot of time to think because usually, I would be travelling and doing shows and interviews. But without being able to do that, I’ve used that spare time to focus on certain aspects [of my career] and moves that I want to make. 

If you could choose one artist to collaborate with in the Nigerian music industry, who would it be?

Ohhh that’s a tough one. I would say Wizkid. 

What’s next for you in the near future?

Definitely more visuals and music. And hopefully, you might see me in Nigeria. 

Photography: Jesse O’ Brien

What’s the next best thing if you can’t study abroad now – Gulf News

Image Credit:

Students with plans to study abroad are at the crossroads, unable to proceed with the ongoing travel restrictions in place for Covid-19. Many have had to defer or delay their enrolment date. Given that the UAE is home to several international universities, there are a variety of options at their disposal.

“Amid the pandemic, American University in Dubai was already privileged to have more than 101 nationalities and a very international student body,” says Sara Montero, Dean of Student Affairs at AUD. “Students who do not get to go to their desired exchange programme or destination abroad because of any travel limitations in fall 2020 will at least be able to interact with AUD students from all over the world. With a multicultural student body, AUD students will not miss out on any of the advantages of internationalisation, as it is one of the most international campuses in Dubai.”

But if studying abroad has been a long-term dream of yours, there’s no need to give up.

“AUD is hopeful that by the start of the Spring 2021 semester, our students will be able to participate in active international exchange and study-abroad programmes the university offers worldwide,” says Yuchun Schmidt, Study Abroad and Exchange Coordinator at AUD. “With this optimism in mind, it is best that students interested in studying abroad begin to plan and prepare as early as possible. A virtual advising session with the AUD Study Abroad and Exchange Coordinator is the best place to start.”

You can also enrol for programmes that come with study-abroad options. Andy Phillips, Chief Operating Officer at University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD), recommends students enrol for its intakes in September. “After a year of studying with UOWD, students can transfer to its campus in Australia, where they will graduate with an accredited Australian degree. This means students do not have to defer or delay their enrolment in pursuing their degrees.”

Dr Khaled Assaleh, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Ajman University (AU), offers the same advice. “Undergraduate AU students can transfer abroad after two years at AU to get an undergraduate degree from both AU and a reputable international university.”

Westford University College, which partners with universities and institutes in the UK and Spain, also gives students the option to study the final year in the UK. “We understand students’ apprehension to go abroad for studies,” says Hanil Haridas, Co-founder and Executive Director of Westford Education Group. “Hence, we bring an international learning experience to the UAE.”

Covid-19 has also affected UAE universities that attract inbound students from overseas. Institutions such as Ajman University are revamping their programmes to meet the needs of the time. “To ensure that students do not miss out on study-abroad advantages, we have transformed our short-term inbound study-abroad programmes to virtual study-abroad programmes where students can attend online study sessions, online networking events, and virtual tours around the UAE,” says Dr Assaleh.

Wollongong’s Merrigong Theatre Company facing insolvency, despite COVID-19 performing arts bailout – ABC News

One of the largest regional theatre companies in NSW is facing insolvency, warning a Federal Government bailout might not be enough to save it.

Wollongong’s Merrigong Theatre Company expects a $4 million downturn, and has cancelled 372 performances.

Company Director Simon Hinton said he is concerned for the company’s future.

“We are still looking at the very real possibility before the end of the year at being insolvent,” Mr Hinton said.

Merrigong Theatre’s permanent staff have been stood down on 80 per cent of their pay and are on JobKeeper.

Government bailout ‘smoke and mirrors’

Mr Hinton said he was concerned the Federal Government’s $250 million bailout for the performing arts was “to a great extent smoke and mirrors”.

“In this figure there is $50 million for screen production, important, but a different sector to live performance, so including that is a little bit disingenuous,” Mr Hinton said.

“There is also $90 million which is not funding, it is a Commonwealth guarantee against a loan, but clearly no Australian arts organisation is going to be able to borrow their way out of the current situation.”

“So really it is $110 million for the live performance industry,” he said.

Mr Hinton was also concerned at the lack of detail of support for the more fragile areas of the performing arts.

“There is no specific mention of First Nations art or venues or regional organisations, which I think are particular parts of the ecology of the arts that need to be quarantined.”

In May the NSW Government announced a $50 million package for arts, but the company said it has no details on how to access the funds or when they will be made available.

Council not in position to help further

Wollongong City Council provides more than $1 million a year to support its projects.

Deputy Mayor Tania Brown said the loss of the company would be devastating for the city.

“We have a strong and thriving arts sector in our community we want to maintain, and the government’s announcement does nothing to help us,” Cr Brown said.

Councillor Brown said the Council is facing its own $16 million loss due to COVID-19, and does not have the capacity to provide more support.

“We just don’t know what product we are going to put on a stage, when we can open, and how many bums on seats we can get,” Cr Brown said.

Crikey Worm: Backyard blitz – Crikey

Good morning, early birds. Victoria has launched a COVID-19 testing blitz across 10 priority suburbs, and ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose has reportedly accused Communications Minister Paul Fletcher of lying about the national broadcaster’s efforts to collaborate with SBS. It’s the news you need to know, with Chris Woods.

(Image: AAP/Daniel Pockett)


In a bid to control community transmission and trace unknown cases, Victoria has launched a free testing blitz for everyone, symptomatic or asymptomatic, across 10 priority suburbs — Keilor Downs, Broadmeadows, Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Hallam, Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir and Pakenham — complete with a fleet of mobile vans, more than 1000 door-knockers, and new testing clinics opening in Casey Fields, Melbourne Showgrounds and Broadmeadows Central amongst other new sites.

While Dan Andrews announced ADF personnel will be assisting with logistics and tests, The Age reports that the request has been scaled down from more than 1000 members to about 250.

The blitz comes as NSW Health advises a two week quarantine for travellers from Melbourne’s hotspots, and, on the tracing front, reports that, two months after launch, COVIDSafe is yet to identify any unknown cases.

RACISM WATCH: Although clusters have emerged everywhere from cruises to schools to factories — thousands in England literally just swarmed beaches in a declared “major incident”Andrew Bolt has unsurprisingly jumped at an outbreak in Melbourne’s multicultural suburbs for an ad-hoc, “diversity is bad” op-ed Herald Sun has somehow deemed fit to publish.


According to The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose has accused Communications Minister Paul Fletcher of lying about the national broadcaster’s efforts to collaborate with SBS and slammed the Morrison government’s handling of the $84 million budget cut.

While largely invisible in the public discussion of the ABC’s 250 job losses, Buttrose has reportedly accused Fletcher of twice failing to provide the ABC board and management with data supporting a savings report that proposed closing two broadcast channels and sharing back-office and support services with the SBS.

PS: According to The AFR ($), the Morrison government will respond to this week’s other massive job blitz with an airline assistance scheme consisting of either a JobKeeper extension or tailor-made package.


According to The Guardian, the Research Bank has joined with more than 60 other central banks in world-first climate risk assessment that warns global GDP could fall by 25% by 2100 if countries don’t significantly ramp up decarbonisation efforts.

ROOM FOR HOPE: While it may have been another depressing week in Australian renewable news, Guardian UK reports that Britain hit almost 50% renewables for the first three months of 2020.


As America hits a “second surge” across states, Reuters reports that the governors of north-east governments New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have announced quarantine rules for eight high-risk states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

REVERSE-ROBODEBT: According to The Guardian, the Trump administration has sent almost $1.4 billion in coronavirus support payments to dead people due to a synchronisation failure between the IRS and US treasury, while also not using death records as a filter.


Finally, in maybe the first good news this year, the ABC reports that Australia and New Zealand have won an historic joint effort to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The trans-Tasman bid beat out final rival Colombia by 22 votes to 13 at a FIFA council meeting in Zurich overnight.


  • The Queensland government announced plans for a Clinical Stock Reserve, to be led by Queensland Health working with departments such as Treasury, the Departments of Premier and Cabinet, Housing and Public Works, Regional Development and Manufacturing, and others
  • In the latest federal-state JobMaker infrastructure pledges, $46 million will go towards Tasmanian projects
  • The South Australian government announced that, under the global #GoingGreenForParkies campaign celebrating open spaces and parks staff during the pandemic, buildings across Adelaide will be lit up in green until June 30, including Adelaide Oval, Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide Town Hall and the Bicentennial Conservatory at Adelaide Botanic Garden.


There are no cuts … The ABC’s funding is increasing every year. The ABC would be the only media company or organisation in Australia today whose revenue, their funding, is increasing.

Scott Morrison

In what must be a big relief for 250 redundant staff, the prime minister explains that — unlike the $254 million slashed in 2014 — the ABC’s $84 million indexation freeze is not a budget cut: it’s just money they won’t get anymore.


Time to ban facial recognition in Australia before it wrecks more lives

“As the profound flaws and poor track record of facial recognition become apparent, Australian lawmakers, especially at the state level, look set to be left behind in an international move to block a technology that is already wrecking lives.

“Overnight, Boston banned the technology, following Oakland and San Francisco which banned it last year. Boston’s ban had the support of the Boston police, who declared the technology unreliable. States such as California, New Hampshire, and Oregon have more limited bans and a number of other states have restrictions on its use.”

Conflict of interest: does Deloitte have an issue in the Virgin sale?

“Deloitte is only days away from deciding who gets to buy Australia’s second biggest airline, Virgin.  But the independence of the accounting firm as administrators of one of the biggest corporate insolvencies in Australian history is in question.

“Crikey understands that Deloitte is the official auditor of a fund held by one of the two remaining bidders, Cyrus Capital Partners, meaning a sale to the company could potentially benefit Deloitte.”

Ten reasons why Jacqui Lambie should reject the university funding reform bill

“Strolling in my mind through Rome’s Tivoli Gardens, musing on Chapman’s Homer I… oh look, this article is just a direct communique to Jacqui Lambie (and to the strange DLP-Trendies mix — the Centre Alliance — a bit) but the rest of you can read it if you want.

“Jacqui, here’s why you should vote against Education Minister Dan Tehan’s higher-ed funding proposals, and not even do that peekaboo horse-trading, get a new playground for Ulverstone in exchange for abolishing the Health Department stuff.”


Coalition spends $2m on prosecution of Bernard Collaery and Witness K, even before trial

Quentin Bryce praises ‘strength and courage’ of Heydon’s alleged victims

China, India border dispute could flare again after China builds structures in Galwan Valley

Fiji proposes a ‘Bula Bubble’ to allow Australians to travel during the coronavirus pandemic

Flinders Street Station staff not told about cleaner’s coronavirus infection

Morrison government has failed in its duty to protect environment, auditor general finds

CFA boss resigns ahead of controversial fire services merger

Trump’s power to deport asylum seekers boosted by supreme court ruling

Warnings that migrant communities are being unfairly blamed for Melbourne coronavirus spike

The Australian Instagram influencers being paid to promote gas


Partisanship was never the problem. Labor needs to learn to leadKetan Joshi (RenewEconomy): “A few years ago, I came across an old video of a young Anthony Albanese standing his ground on his home turf, in the Inner West, in Sydney. A relatively big crowd of seething, infuriated climate deniers had gathered outside of his electorate office. They were protesting the time Albanese had referred to the anti-carbon-price protest, named the ‘convoy of confidence’, as the ‘convoy of no consequence’.”

Jim Chalmers may be a man with perhaps a better economic plan ($) — Graham Richardson (The Australian): “There can be no argument Scott Morrison is a good manager. Luck has been on his side too — other than the pandemic and its damage to us all. Assuming that no fiasco is on the way, there’s no doubt Labor has an Everest to climb. Australians must be given a convincing reason to vote against the Morrison government. So far that reason has not seen the light of day.”

The ABC and the dance of a thousand cutsAlan Sunderland (Meanjin): “So here we are again. Shuffling around in the same old dance, performing the steps we all know so well. The Government cuts the ABC’s funding yet again, blandly asserting that times are tough and we all need to live within our means. The public, who love and trust the ABC more than any other media outlet because they see it as their own, express their anger, sadness and fear.”




  • University and high school students will protest Education Minister Dan Tehan’s decision to double the cost of arts degrees.

  • Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders will speak at another national cabinet meeting, to include next phase restrictions and reopening arts venues.

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Virtual Salon Performance Series – Featuring JoAnna Mendl Shaw –

Donate to Register:
Venmo: Mark-DeGarmo-2
*Zoom Link will be sent to attendees at 6PM ET the night of the performance. If a donation is made after that time, the MDD staff will send the link via email as soon as possible.

Mark DeGarmo Dance goes virtual by broadcasting its transcultural transdisciplinary Salon Performance Series on Zoom with a performance featuring JoAnna Mendl Shaw, choreographer and Artistic Director of The Equus Projects, on Thursday, June 25th at 7PM ET. Each performance includes an audience feedback session curated and facilitated by Dr. Mark DeGarmo.

Mark DeGarmo Dance recognizes the impact of COVID-19 on global artistic communities and is committed to offering opportunities for artists to share and develop their work, despite the current circumstances.

Founded in 2010, MDD’s Salon Performance Series provides an opportunity to view and engage with original performing arts and dance works-in-progress of guest artists. The series highlights artists and performing art and dance forms underrepresented in traditional and commercial performing arts venues nationally and internationally.

Dr. Mark DeGarmo curates the series and facilitates audience response sessions during each installment by adapting Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process. DeGarmo guides discourse among the artists and audience members and encourages the public to actively participate in the development of original works-in-progress.

Usually housed in The Clemente Center, where MDD has been an anchor resident member nonprofit organization since 2001, MDD’s Salon Performance Series works to support the Clemente’s mission, and its determination “to operate in a multicultural and inclusive manner, housing and promoting artists and performance events that fully reflect the cultural diversity of the Lower East Side and the city as a whole.”

About the Artist

JoAnna Mendl Shaw has choreographed performance works for stage, rural and urban landscapes since the 1980’s. Artistic Director of The Equus Projects, Shaw tours throughout the States and Europe creating site-specific performance works that often bring dancers and horses into shared landscapes. Shaw has taught on faculty at NYU/Tisch, The Juilliard School, Ailey BFA Program, Marymount, Princeton, Mount Holyoke and Montclair State.

About Mark DeGarmo Dance

Founded in 1987, Mark DeGarmo Dance is a nonprofit organization that educates New York City communities and children; creates, performs, and disseminates original artistic work; and builds intercultural community through dance arts. MDD has received over 300 grants from public and private funders and was the subject of a coveted cover feature article by Dance Teacher Magazine in June 2017. Since its beginnings, MDD has committed its resources to serving social justice, equity and equality issues across multiple fronts through dance arts in New York City, the U.S., and internationally.

About Mark DeGarmo

A graduate with a B.F.A. of the Juilliard School Dance Division and Union Institute & University’s Ph.D. program, DeGarmo has created, performed, and produced over 100 dance-theater works and led his company on 30 international tours to 13 countries. His work has been recognized with performing arts awards and honors from the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, the U.S. Department of State, and The White House. His transcultural transdisciplinary commitment includes writing “Transdisciplinary Performative Improvisation” for the University of Colima Mexico’s textbook Teaching Choreographic Composition from a Transdisciplinary Focus (2020 Spanish publication pending). Dance Director of Tlacopac International Artist Residency Mexico City, he is also an artist-scholar of Creative Agency Australia. Las Fridas, Mark DeGarmo’s original duet inspired by Mexican painter and revolutionary Frida Kahlo, was called “Genius,” “Wonderfully in your face,” and “Frightening… in a way great art always should be,” by New York audiences in November 2019. Melanie Brown of deemed DeGarmo “a gladiator in various arenas.”, Follow Mark DeGarmo Dance on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

We are grateful that this program is supported in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

No bookings since March: These are Australia’s last industries to return to work – SBS News

David Vuong, travel agent: ‘It’s really hard to make a plan’

International travel agent David Vuong is working harder than ever, but he hasn’t made any money since March.

Like many business owners, he was forced to shut up shop when COVID-19 hit Australia. Since then, he’s been fielding constant calls from customers concerned about whether to cancel their bookings and if they will be refunded.

In New South Wales, Australia’s hardest-hit state, beauty salons, including waxing, tanning and facials, reopened on 1 June. On the same day, pubs, restaurants, and bars were permitted to host up to 50 people at any one time. In just under two weeks, that limit will be removed. 

Indoor gyms, tattoo shops, and massage parlours are also back in business. But Mr Vuong has no idea when he’ll be able to reopen.

Travel agent David Vuong hasn’t had any new bookings since March due to COVID-19.

Maani Truu/SBS News

On 18 March a striking screenshot was posted to Twitter. From the government’s SafeTraveller website, the image showed a map of the entire world coloured red, meaning “do not travel”.

As Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the decision to ban all international travel, Mr Vuong, who started his Sydney travel agency in 2005, said he thought the restrictions would only last for a few months.

Almost three months later, there is still no timeline for reopening Australia’s borders, with the exception of the “trans-Tasman bubble”, and one international tourism body has predicted it could take years for the sector to return to 2019 levels.

Nearly all of Mr Vuong’s income previously came from overseas bookings, primarily in south-east Asia. 

“All the costs involved in the business we still have to pay, so we hope the situation will be settled in the next few months otherwise I don’t think we can survive after that,” he said.

Not only is no money coming in through new bookings, he is also having to pay out refunds to affected customers. 

“You have no income coming, but you still work and you have nothing to gain from the work,” he said.

Mr Vuong has been able to receive JobKeeper, but with government plans to end the wage subsidy on 27 September he said he’ll have to look for additional work and run the business on a part-time basis.

Peak tourism industry bodies have called for the scheme to be extended, warning more than 400,000 jobs could be lost without financial support. But as the government prepares for the pre-scheduled review of the scheme, the future for business owners like Mr Vuong remains uncertain. 

“We don’t know what the government will be doing in the next six months, so it’s really hard to make a plan. What should we do?” he said.

Vanessa*, sex worker: ‘Other comparable industries have gone back to work’

When the federal government announced its three-step roadmap to reopening the economy in May, sex worker advocates were quick to point out one industry that had been left off the plan.

In the public timeline, the government noted that as of Step 3, the final stage in the plan, “brothels and strip clubs should remain closed”. Fears that this was a targeted omission increased as the states released their own steps for easing restrictions, with largely no mention of sex work.

In NSW, where Vanessa has been put “effectively out of work”, brothels were on Monday given the green light to reopen on 1 July, but it’s only after massage parlours and other “comparable” businesses were told they could return. 

“There are a lot of similar industries that have been allowed to go back. When you think of comparable industries, you don’t see the same restrictions and I can’t read that as anything other than discrimination,” Vanessa said.

“There’s no clear evidence base for us to be left out or specifically excluded.”

Throughout the pandemic, sex workers have been permitted to continue working outside of brothels in NSW, which has decriminalised sex work, but for many, working independently isn’t an option.

In other states such as Queensland and Victoria, brothels have been closed and independent sex work has also been banned. Brothels are not legal in Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia. 

“Being an independent worker involves setting up a lot of business infrastructure, and you have to have a relative amount of capital, time, money, the ability to use tech tools, being able to access them,” said Vanessa, who worked in a brothel prior to COVID-19. 

“For many people, the brothel is a place where that structure is already set up for them.”

Sex workers also face barriers to accessing JobKeeper or JobSeeker, Vanessa said, particularly in states where sex work isn’t decriminalised. Many brothel workers are also classed as independent contractors, which can pose extra challenges when claiming government support. 

The government should have consulted with sex worker organisations earlier on, Vanessa said. 

“We are the ones who know the ins and outs of our industry and can make a plan for a safe return to work.”

Thorsten Hertog, event organiser: ‘We were the first to go and the last to go back’

As soon as the yearly Soft Centre art, sound and light festival in Sydney wraps up, the event’s three co-directors usually start preparing for the next showcase.

But with this year’s event cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions and no timeline for when they will be lifted, 2020 is looking very different.

Soft Centre co-directors Sam Whiteside (left), Thorsten Hertog (centre), and Jemma Cole (right).

Josh Bentley/Supplied

“We’re interested in the extremes of experimental club music, sound and noise art but also the more DIY punk and metal scenes and we pair that with large scale light installations,” co-director Thorsten Hertog said.

Typically the one-day festival, held at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in Western Sydney, would attract 1,500 attendees. Mr Hertog said the venue has estimated they won’t be hosting “events of that scale” again for at least two financial years. 

The directors were also booked to present a Soft Centre showcase in Amsterdam earlier this year, which was cancelled due to the pandemic.  

“Our industry was the first to bear the brunt of the pandemic,” Mr Hertog said. “It’s been an intense time of reflection … the previous iteration of Soft Centre, the 1,500 people at Casula, is no longer possible.”

There have been widespread calls from the arts industry and Labor for more funding for entertainment and creative businesses, which in many cases, have been unable to access federal government support. 

Soft Centre festival in 2018.

Jordan Munns/Supplied

While some rescue measures have been introduced, such as a $50 million package from the NSW government, Mr Hertog said the “general feeling” was that this support is largely going towards major performing arts institutions, while smaller organisations are being left behind.

In April, it was announced 49 small to medium operations would lose their long-term Australian Council of the Arts funding from 2022, including the Australian Theatre for Young People and the Sydney Writers Festival. 

In an attempt to fill the funding gap, the council announced a $5 million resilience fund that would provide some organisations with a smaller amount of funding in 2021 as they ride out the COVID-19 crisis.

“We were the first to go and we’ll be the last to go back, so we absolutely need more stimulus packages from the government,” he said.

“There’s so much uncertainty about what will be possible, even six months from now. I feel like everyone I speak to is just umming and ahhing and it’s really just a matter of speculation at this point.”

In a much-needed hit of good news for the industry, the NSW government on Saturday announced 1,000 coronavirus-safe gigs to take place across the state in November. The following day, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the 50 person limit at indoor venues would be removed on 1 July. The “one person per four square metres” rule will remain in place. 

Despite the ongoing challenges, Mr Hertog said the team are planning a smaller event that will be “adaptable and scalable to evolving social distancing restrictions” for later in the year.

What that will look like though, is still unclear. 

*Not her real name.

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Queen’s Birthday Honours list: Every name, every honour – Lithgow Mercury

The Future is Cultural Equity – ArtsHub

I’ve been hearing two distinct messages from colleagues as we contemplate the future of the arts sector, post-COVID-19. The first, and by far the most common, is how can we get back to what we had. The second, which more closely echoes my own sentiments, is how we can go forward without bringing some of the baggage of the past with us.

The first thing we can leave behind is the idea that the arts are an elite pursuit that are only relevant to those who can afford to participate. During these months of isolation, we have all relied on the work of artists to keep us healthy, connected, inspired, distracted and entertained. Imagine for a moment if we had to endure isolation without books, music, films, dance, photography, visual arts and craft.


As makers and consumers of culture we have used this moment of crisis to understand our diverse experiences, communicate empathy to those for whom this has been a truly devastating time, explore stillness and connect to our past through skills we’d long thought forgotten. At a time when so many artists have lost all income, many have used this moment to reach out, placing thousands of works online for free public consumption.

So, can we also leave behind the notion of artists and cultural workers as takers not givers, leaners not lifters? At moments of crisis, whether it be caused by pandemic, bushfire or other disasters, artists mobilise resources, amplify voices and get things done. Artists are taxpayers, leaders, community builders, healers, teachers and chroniclers. They may not be essential workers as currently defined, but they are absolutely essential.

Creative-led recovery has long been at the centre of community building post-crisis, enabling communities to express their unique experiences, their grief and loss, their solidarity and hopes for a better future. Creatives catalyse community resources and energies for rebuilding, reimagining and reigniting our sense of collective purpose and wellbeing.

While we leave these regressive notions in the past, we should also leave behind the structures and practices that result in widespread cultural inequity. With the firm knowledge of the importance of culture in our daily lives, we must recommit ourselves to an arts sector that benefits all, includes all, and represents all. The interesting thing about a moment like this is that we can erroneously believe that we are all in this crisis together, and that everyone is equal in the face of a virus we cannot see.

Read: Why supporting local artists makes cultural and financial sense for festivals

Not everyone has experienced this crisis equally. For those whose life pre COVID-19 was mired with inequity, this moment has exacerbated their situation. These inequities reflect the material conditions imposed on diverse communities, and over which these communities have little control.

Many communities have been re-traumatised as they have relived past experiences of isolation, dislocation and deprivation. In our artistic community, artists of colour are more likely to be in crisis, with employment at a whole new level of precariousness. There has been a steep decline in confidence amongst artists of colour about their financial future, with recent respondents to a national survey feeling weak or very weak about their financial situation (rising from 24.8% to 86.2%). COVID-racism is widespread, the thin veil of politeness ripped away in the face of fear and ignorance. Thousands of artists and cultural workers on temporary visas have been left with no lifeline whilst all sources of income have crumbled. Crisis funds for artists have predominantly gone to those for whom English is their first language, whose familiarity with funding systems and structures privilege them in a still competitive process. The alternative solution of moving one’s work online is predicated on access to technology, resources and audiences – not an option for many.

The structural inequities that underpin an unequal, exclusive and unrepresentative arts sector are still with us, but in this moment of clarity, we could resist the urge to recreate our sector as it was. Instead, let’s create the sector as we would want it to be. We have an opportunity to place cultural equity at the centre of our rebuilding, so that all citizens value, participate in, and fight for cultural rights, as a cornerstone of our society.

With a focus on cultural equity, we could have a roadmap for decolonising the arts, led by First Nations people, as well as a compass for understanding who we are as immigrants on Indigenous land. Through a cultural equity frame, we can address the lack of visibility of many people within our cultural landscape and ensure that one’s postcode and yearly income does not determine one’s right to access culture.

In placing cultural equity at our core, we can finally benefit from the legacy of multiculturalism, which is more than an economic or social proposition. Disaporic artists from across the globe connect us in tangible and dynamic ways to the world, advancing diplomatic efforts, building deep connections, mutual understanding and goodwill that can underpin our future prosperity on so many levels.

Internationally, we have solid examples of cultural equity frameworks that are more than just rhetoric. Starting with joining the dots on data, we need governments to build an accurate picture of participation rates and report on it. We need targets that are measurable and allow for accountability. We need to respond to structural inequity by ringfencing funding and opportunities so that artists from diverse backgrounds have the experience, networks and capacity to compete in an unequal marketplace, whilst those with the power to do so dismantle and rebuild. We need to recognise that support agencies working with these communities do not impede independent practice but underpin it. But perhaps most importantly, we need to recognise that the systems that exclude are relics of an architecture that we designed, and can now redesign.

Cultural equity does not only benefit those who have been marginalised. It benefits us all. A diverse and representative arts sector enables us to learn from the incredible talents and capabilities of those whose resilience at this moment of challenge comes from a lived experience of struggle and survival. How much more confident would we have been through this crisis if our social discourse had been led by those who have lived through such experiences, continue to live through them, build reserves of resilience and survive?

This is the work that will future proof the arts for succeeding generations, and insure us against the impact of future crises.

So, let’s leave behind the notion that arts, culture and creativity are an added luxury to be enjoyed by elites. They need to be central to our path towards recovery. Let’s create ourselves anew, so that our future is one in which everyone can play their part.