Co-Presidents Letter to Industry

Dear friends,

We are honoured and humbled to write to you as the incoming co-presidents of the Green Room Awards Association- an association that has had significant impact on fostering and supporting our performing arts industry for the past 38 years, upheld by selfless volunteers working tirelessly for this cause. We enter this position with excitement for meaningful change, but also with caution and delicacy, at the crux of this inauspicious but also transformative time; COVID-19, #BLM, the continued disenfranchisement of our first nations peoples, global environmental degradation, and the crisis our creative industries are submerged in - to name a few.

We arrive with experience from the field, working closely with the finest artists from this country and beyond; interrogating, challenging and creating works that galvanise our community and also society at large. We recognize that this is important work and that it is our responsibility to use our positions of privilege to accomplish our aims mindfully and ethically.

We represent traditionally underrepresented groups - Sapidah is Azeri-Iranian, Eugyeene is Chinese-Malaysian and both of us are first generation Australian. We also both identify as queer. Increasingly, the performing arts sector is growing in practitioners from diverse cultural backgrounds, identifications and orientations. Our lived experiences have informed a commitment to equitable representation on and off stage, promoting excellence in artforms that not only reflect but also interrogate our colonial, multicultural, multi-abled, and first peoples’ narratives.

We recognize that the association has some work to do in actioning social and ethical concerns experienced by the sector. Big changes are expected, and we are working to develop more inclusive practices that reflect our members, as well as culture and society today. We do not have all the answers but as a member-led organisation, we hope to work with the sector to enable these shifts. We all need to adjust and reconsider practice as well as purpose while we navigate the pandemic and the emergence from restrictions that have impacted our sector so heavily. We recognise the association also has to recalibrate and that it is our responsibility to listen and implement changes. While we work to support the sector and advocate for the significance of the arts to society and humanity, we ask for your generosity, empathy and a commitment to equity. 

Growing a vision for the organisation with our members in this ever-evolving landscape is our priority. We will engage in decolonising processes that support inclusion and equity within the sector both on and off stage, particularly for underrepresented groups including Women, First Nations people, People of Colour, People with Disabilities and LGBTIQ+. To do this, we are considering D&I initiatives, chair and panel training and an evaluation of our policies. Our aim is to promote greater transparency and accountability in our practices and to improve and strengthen the relationship between the panels and the community. Further to this vision, in consolidating our engagement with the City of Melbourne and the broader community, our remit is to work effectively with the three-year funding we have been granted and meet its deliverables.

Our ceremony for 2021 will be responsive to the changing landscape and we are committed to maintaining the event as a site for the recognition and celebration of artistic practice and all the hard (and often unpaid) work we do. Regardless of whether our ceremony will be a live and/or digital event, it will be accessible and a coming together of our sector. We look forward to a reinvigoration of this important event which is at the core of our association. 

Thank you for moving forward with us - we thoroughly appreciate and acknowledge all the work that you do.  We are building on the incredible accomplishments of Hilary Glow as well as others in this role and we are excited to move into the future with you all. With artists firmly positioned at the forefront, the Green Room Awards is a celebration of what we and this industry can do. Let’s celebrate.

With love and respect,

Sapidah Kian and Eugyeene Teh,

Co-Presidents on behalf of the executive panel, 

Green Room Awards Association.