The Pacesetters

A MixTape, a Block Party, a website to amplify and sustain artists of colour, and a series of sharp short films and podcasts…

Diversity Arts Australia, in partnership with Blacktown Arts launches its national project The Pacesetters, formerly called Diversity Dialogues, featuring trailblazing artists Aamer Rahman, Kim “Busty Beatz” Bowers, Rani Pramesti and Latai Taumoepeau. We invite you to be part of the conversation. These works celebrate and pay homage to First Nations and culturally diverse Pacesetters through new films, music, performance and an online platform.

pacesetter [peys-set-er] Noun

1. a person that is the first to do new or different things; a leader in a particular field or activity, providing an example for others to follow.

2. someone that sets the pace.

The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre
73 Flushcombe Rd, Blacktown
Friday, 25 October 2019, 5.30pm for a 6pm start

This event is wheelchair accessible.Please email if you have any access needs.


Artists working for change

‘Diversity’ as a term has been questioned as a useful concept for bringing about equity in the arts. Can contemporary artistic excellence in Australia by viewed through this lens?

Through the Pacesetters project (formerly called Diversity Dialogues), leading Australian artists will creatively respond to provocations around the themes of race, diversity and inclusion/exclusion through art making practice, and will create works that in turn act as provocations for the sector.

The project will include events where the commissioned works will be shown alongside participatory forums that target the creative sectors. Rather than taking place in academic or “seminar” environments, dialogue will be within an arts space in which the artists’ work itself will be the stimulus for participation and dialogue, using DARTS’ ‘arts as advocacy’ approach.

Arts as Advocacy

Diversity Dialogues uses a process that centralises the artist and their work as a way to campaign for sector change. The project creates a framework in which discourse around arts diversity is artist-led through the lens of their commissioned works. It will present works that critique the process of artmaking in a racially divided nation and predominantly white arts sector, and alongside this will hold forums that ask workers, creators and decision-makers from the cultural sector to respond to these works.

About the Artists

In Stage 1, the Pacesetters brought together independent artists who are at the forefront of a critical arts-cultural movement that engages with issues of diversity, intersectionality, sexuality, gender, race and colonisation (alphabetical order):

  • Kim “Busty Beatz” Bowers – Performer, sound artist, musician, resistance artist and critical cultural thinker known for her politically-charged Brown Honey work, challenging stereotypes around women of colour
  • Rani PramestiPerformance maker, intercultural producer, critical commentator and advocate for the arts
  • Aamer RahmanWriter, observational comic performer, activist, known for his work as one-half of the duo ‘Fear of a Brown Planet’
  • Latai TaumoepeauPerformance maker, cultural activist, provocateur, Punake
  • Fadia Abboud (development stage) – Filmmaker, Screen Producer

Creative director Lena Nahlous and creative producer Paschal Berry are facilitating dialogues between the artists and, as part of the artist brief, develop provocations around themes of heterogeneity, marginalisation, race, colonisation, whiteness and intersectionality.

Screen producer Fadia Abboud also participated in and contributed to the 2018 gathering.

The Pacesetters is the first public event in the series, with others planned for Melbourne and Queensland in 2020.


On December 3rd, 4th and 5th at the Parramatta Artists Studios and Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre, DARTS held an intensive critical conversation with creatives to interrogate the framework and problematisation of notions of contemporary Australian ‘excellence’ in the arts.

This dialogue will be continued across 2019, and will incorporate creative developments for new works in response to these questions, as well as an open forum and panel discussion. DARTS will also be releasing documentation and reports throughout this process.