A new project to develop NSW Aboriginal music careers

With support from the New South Wales Government, APRA AMCOS is discovering and nurturing the careers of Aboriginal musicians in NSW through its unique new program, Starting Ground.

The project has been developed to help Aboriginal musicians build their skills, promote their work and access mainstream music markets.

The Starting Ground project includes:

  • Community consultation to identify key Aboriginal music hotspots for development
  • Workshops in the identified areas to cover a range of creative and professional skills development
  • Mentoring and ongoing development for selected artists

NSW Government funding has been provided by Arts NSW through its three-year Aboriginal Arts and Cultural Strategy. 

Program delivery

Starting Ground is being delivered in three parts;

  1. Research and Consultation – Map current music activities, identify the Aboriginal music population, and identify barriers to career pathways. The findings of this research will be delivered in the report A Scoping Study into NSW Aboriginal Music Artists.
    The executive summary of this report is available for download now. The full report will be released in due course.
  2. Delivery of skills based workshops – Based on the findings of part one, workshops have been delivered in the regional areas of Tamworth, Byron Bay and Dubbo along with an urban workshop in Redfern, Sydney. These workshops were aimed at creative and professional capacity building, and held in conjunction with key industry and local regional partners.
  3. Mentorship program – Several workshop participants will be selected to participate in a six month mentorship program to work on a project of their choosing.
"There is a real need to discover and develop the Aboriginal contemporary music industry across NSW, especially in regional areas which have some of the largest Aboriginal communities in Australia. I believe that without the voice of Aboriginal NSW the whole story of the contemporary music scene in this state has not been told.”

- Michael Hutchings, APRA AMCOS ATSI Representative

Program timeline



February- June 2015 

Interviews with stakeholders, surveys of APRA ATSI membership, source data.

June - July 2015

Field Consultations:

Roundtable sessions held;

17 June – Campbelltown

29 June – Tamworth

1 July – Coffs Harbour

2 July – Alstonville

9 July – Bathurst 

July - August 2015

Research Report:



September 2015


Mentor Program

November 2015

Tamworth Workshop

March 2016

Byron Bay Workshop

May 2016

Dubbo Workshop

June 2016

Redfern Workshop

The final design of the workshops was informed by part one of the project. They cover the following areas:

  • Songwriting
  • Live performance
  • Business management
  • Music production
  • Music marketing and publicity
  • Gigs and touring
  • Radio

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