5 April 2021

$60 million Creative Innovation Programme Revealed

Creatives - by their name and by their nature - are innovators.


That ability to see the world through a different lens and both find solutions and pose new questions is now getting its turn in the $374 million spotlight.


Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni has today announced details for the first round of the Cultural Sector Innovation Fund - part of the Government’s Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme.


In what’s being labelled ‘a new approach to supporting bold ideas’, a nationwide series of events called Te Urungi: Innovating Aotearoa has been revealed. It’s described as a rolling programme that will be spread around the country with 14 regional events - debuting in Wellington from 30 April-2 May - as well as online, beginning on 12 May.


With the first chapters of the $20 million Cultural Sector Capability Fund and the $70 million Creative Arts Recovery Employment (CARE) Fund already announced and underway - this is the opening gambit from the $60 million Te Tahua Āki Auahatanga Innovation Fund, which states its purpose is to “innovative practice and partnerships to change the way cultural content is made available to audiences.


Sepuloni says Te Urungi: Innovating Aotearoa “provides us with an opportunity to take a different approach to (the Innovation Fund’s) delivery – one that’s designed to support collaboration.


“I hear a lot of creative ideas from people who are passionate about arts, culture and heritage. This funding aims to bring those ideas to fruition, and comes with an opportunity for the sector to be bold.


“It provides support for the sector to work alongside others to collectively design more sustainable, resilient ways of working, and to remove barriers to access and participation for everyone.”

Minister Carmel Sepuloni (centre) is excited about the prospects Te Urungi: Innovating Aotearoa can provide. Photo: Supplied.


Named after the steering paddle of the waka hourua, Te Urungi: Innovating Aotearoa is meant to help guide the innovation journey for the creative community, ‘driving them towards their destination with stability and agility.’


Sepuloni explains, “Over two and a half days, participants in Te Urungi will be supported by mentors and experts to collaborate and develop their ideas. At the end of each event, the most promising projects will receive funding to support their further development.


“There is also a focus on supporting projects that will help safeguard mātauranga Māori while nurturing the innovation potential of this rich system of indigenous knowledge.


“The ambition with Te Urungi is to nurture an ongoing, collaborative ecosystem dedicated to exploring innovative solutions around arts, culture and heritage for the duration of this Fund and beyond.”


Led by Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, registrations for the first two events - in Wellington and online - are open for 14 April for teams and individuals who work in arts, culture and heritage, as well as communities, the tech sector, entrepreneurs and others.


Aside from the first face-to-face event in Wellington and online event, further dates still to be confirmed.


Source: Big Idea