Envisioning the Pacesetters Creative Cultural Archives

Future Archives

It is our aspiration at Diversity Arts to develop a new digital creative cultural archive as a national repository that gathers, documents and platforms groundbreaking culturally diverse arts practices and artists. We are in the process of seeking funding and support to build this game-changing initiative.  

The ‘Creative Cultural Archives’ is the working title for the initiative.

Origin Story 

The idea of the creative cultural archives initiative emerged during The Pacesetters project (2018-2020). In 2018, Pacesetter artists Aamer Rahman, Kim “Busty Beatz” Bowers, Rani Pramesti and Latai Taumoepeau were commissioned to create works in response to provocations around themes of race, diversity and inclusion/exclusion. Filmmaker Fadia Abboud participated in the artist intensive in the earlier stages of the project. 

The two-day artist-intensive, facilitated by Lena Nahlous (Creative Producer), Paschal Daantos Berry (Creative Director) and Andy Ko (Associate Creative Producer) and ongoing discussions with the creatives, culminated in a series of artist-led talks and a showcase of creative homages to First Nations and culturally diverse creative pacesetters at a block party event hosted at Blacktown Arts Centre in 2019.

A recurrent major theme from the Pacesetter artists during their intensive was the erasure of living and deceased work of culturally diverse artists and people of colour, and the urgent need to address this. Subsequently, most of the artists created developments that paid tribute to these ‘pacesetter’ artists who had come before them and influenced their practice. Find out more about the artist developments.

The discussions with the artists and with audiences at Blacktown Arts cemented the need to develop an archive chronicling the histories of creative practice by living and deceased migrant, refugee, people of colour and culturally diverse creatives in Australia. 

Pacesetter Interview Series

During Covid lockdowns from 2020-21, Diversity Arts commissioned 20 intergenerational interviews profiling 20 established creatives as Pacesetters. This first pilot interview series focused on NSW, recording the stories of game-changing established creative practitioners and their contributions across literature, the visual arts, the performing arts, screen and film, community cultural development and more.

These interviews were published in media outlets such as Sydney Review Books, Rolling Stone Australia, Audrey Journal, The Australian, Australian Photography Magazine, Mutual Art, Aussie Theatre, The Philippines Times, IndoMedia and Neo Kosmos. All interviews can also be viewed on our Creative Lives page. 

Following this successful pilot program, we have been seeking support to develop a dedicated national platform for a digital cultural archive to share the histories of living and deceased culturally diverse creative practitioners to ensure their legacy, learnings and impact are shared across generations to come.


The Pacesetters Creative Archive project gives visibility to the life work of artists who have contributed significantly to the vibrancy of the arts and cultural landscape in Australia. The history of Japanese Australians is unknown to many of us who live in Australia, even amongst the Japanese diaspora, so as a mid-career arts practitioner of Japanese heritage it was an honour to research and document the personal history of multidisciplinary artist Mayu Kanamori. This opportunity allowed for cross-generational dialogue to flourish which was personally an incredibly moving and enlightening experience. Sharing the written and oral stories of leaders and elders within our community is integral in shaping our understanding of who we are, while providing future generations a chance to understand and connect with their cultural heritage.”

Yuki Kawakami

Read Yuki’s interview with Mayu Kanamori


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