NIDA CEO Liz Hughes.

The Balnaves Foundation has pledged $530,000 to NIDA’s First Nations Program, facilitating three scholarships, three paid internships, and funding for the institute’s first Elder in Residence.

The scholarships will provide $30,000 per annum for three years for Bachelor of Fine Arts students, with one starting in 2022 and another in 2023 and 2024.

The students will also be matched with a First Nations arts industry mentor, supported with additional travel to home as required and provided with an ‘On Country’ experience during studies.

As a pathway into employment, the program will conclude with a six-month paid industry internship for each of the recipients.

In addition to the scholarship program, and as part of the overall contribution to NIDA, the Foundation will also provide funding to enable an Indigenous Elder in Residence to offer wellbeing support and mentorship to all First Nations students.

NIDA CEO Liz Hughes said: “We are hugely grateful for the generous support and collaboration of The Balnaves Foundation in creating this important next step in NIDA’s First Nations commitment and enabling more creative First Nations artists to undertake intensive learning, creative productions, be networked with industry partners, commence their employment, and at the same time have the mentorship of an Elder in Residence.

“This incredible contribution will give important opportunities and guidance from the first day at NIDA.”

Hamish Balnaves CEO of The Balnaves Foundation said NIDA had a long tradition of training and developing future cultural leaders and was proud to share its vision and strategy to grow the representation of First Nations people in the arts and creative industries. 

“We believe this new collaboration with NIDA and the First Nations Program will provide a sustained and positive impact that begins with students at the start of their training and continues while they develop creative careers.’

The Balnaves Foundation is a private philanthropic organisation established in 2006 by Neil Balnaves AO, supporting a diverse range of organisations with the aim to create a better Australia through education, medicine and the arts with a focus on young people, the disadvantaged and Indigenous Australia.

In acknowledgement of this opportunity, the application deadline for next year’s Bachelor of Fine Arts and Vocational Diplomas has been extended to 29 October.

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