NFSA to engage with industry on restructure
Responding to a petition calling for more transparency in the controversial restructure at the National Film and Sound Archive, the NFSA will hold workshops in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth and Brisbane to explain the new business model and engage with stakeholders.
The dates, times and venues will be confirmed soon, according to a letter from NFSA chair Gabrielle Trainor to Geoff Gardner, the Film Alert blogger and former Melbourne Film Festival director who organised the petition signed by 140 directors, producers, writers, actors, academics and journalists.
The petition urged the Archive to release a business review carried out by CEO Michael Loebenstein and to hold a series of open forums before final decisions are made on terminations and personnel restructures.
In April Loebenstein announced a restructuring which would reduce the workforce from 206 to 178 and cut back its touring program and the number of events at its Arc cinema in Canberra.
Trainor’s letter to Gardner follows a board meeting last Monday. She wrote, “We have a clear and unambiguous commitment to open and engaged consultation about our new business model.”
The Archive looks forward to sharing its vision with the film, recorded sound and broadcast industry, academia and the cultural sector and community at large and allaying the concerns expressed in the petition, she said.
She acknowledged concerns that the NFSA is being unresponsive to the industry and community, that the national audiovisual collection is at risk and that staff expertise and knowledge would be lost indefinitely.
“What we hope to achieve through this process is to…..learn more about your expectations and to get a better understanding of how you can support a strong and independent NFSA in challenging times,” she added.
Gardner tells IF, “The promptness of the response is most welcome, coming as it does within 48 hours of the NFSA board meeting which considered the issues we raised. However, there are some most contestable statements therein. I will be getting responses from as many of the signatories as possible before responding further.”