Australia/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy

Its position as a council within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) means that the AICC can also facilitate engagement of other DFAT cultural public diplomacy programs – such as the Embassy Film Roadshow Program, or the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program – with the country-specific or regional programs.  Furthermore, some of DFAT’s bi-lateral councils and foundations such as the Australia-Japan Foundation, the Council for Australian-Arab Relations, the Australia-India Council, and the Australia-Indonesia Institute, also undertake cultural exchanges with their partner countries. 

The DFAT’s agency Austrade has also become increasingly involved with the promotion of Australian creative industries overseas.  Austrade offers practical advice, market intelligence and ongoing support (including financial) to Australian businesses looking to develop international markets.  It also provides advice and guidance on overseas investment and joint venture opportunities, and helps put Australian businesses in contact with potential overseas investors.

In recent years Austrade has provided significant support for a number of areas from the creative industries, most notably music, publishing, film, Indigenous art and decorative arts, with a particular emphasis on new markets in Asia which present less of a logistical and financial challenge than do the markets of Europe and the United States.

In addition to the AICC, state and territory arts and cultural agencies and the Australia Council also provide grant support for Australian artists to travel internationally and for exchanges with artists from other countries. 

The Commonwealth government has also provided a significant indemnity scheme for the touring of major international art exhibitions to Australia over several decades, a scheme now known as the Australian Government International Exhibitions Insurance Program (AGIEI), in which a budget of $8m extended over four years is available for purchasing commercial insurance for exhibitions with a minimum value of AUD$50 million.  Eligible organisations include collecting institutions from the Commonwealth, states and territories, together with not-for-profit public collecting institutions (such as university museums) and other specialist touring bodies.  The indemnity is available for touring schemes or for single venue exhibitions, the latter sometimes requiring State support to be part of the Commonwealth scheme.  For full details of the Program see

The Commonwealth government also provides a support program known as the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach (NCITO) Program tthat encourages the national collecting institutions to, among other things

 promote international awareness of Australia’s cultural heritage through touring Australian cultural material from National Collecting Institutions overseas


expand Australian appreciation of international cultural material through enabling National Collecting Institutions to bring works from international collections for exhibition or touring within Australia;

Access to this program is limited to the national collecting institutions only.  The various states and territories have, from time to time, instituted indemnity schemes, often on an ad hoc basis in response to major international exhibitions, and often in order to attract some level of support from the Commonwealth Program.

The Australia Council offers several programs that will support artists or arts organisations in working with international partners.  Two of these are Going Global, which provides support for presentations, tours, and funding to enable international presenters to see Going Global supported works on tour.  The other major fund is the Hopscotch live art touring initiative which provides support for the travel costs of tours or one-off presentations designed to build the artists’/ companies’ national and/or international markets.  For more on the Australia Council’s international programs, see

The Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) also runs a range of programs internationally, many of which include cultural components.  These programs are run under the rubric of ‘Public Diplomacy’.  For further information see

Screen Australia supports cultural diplomacy objectives through implementation of the Australia International Cultural Council’s Film Focus program and capacity-building programs to support Australian film production companies to build linkages with partners in Asia.

Chapter published: 26-12-2013