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Borak Arts Series was Southeast Asia’s major annual performing arts conference and market, creating opportunities and building capacity through the congregation of artists, presenters, producers, intermediaries, cultural leaders, funders, academics and students. OzAsia Festival is Australia’s leading international arts festival engaging with Asia. Held over 18 days in October each year, the Festival presents the very best in contemporary dance, theatre, music, visual arts, film, literature and more from across Asia and Australia. In 2018, Borak Arts Series was held outside Southeast Asia for the first time to coincide with OzAsia Festival. Hosting the conference in Australia built on the success of the ASEAN-Australian Special Summit and ASEAN-Australian Business Summit held in Sydney earlier that year, adding an arts and cultural dimension to demonstrated ASEAN-Australian engagement in 2018. The theme of Borak Arts Series in 2018 was ‘Amplifying Exchange’. The conference program supported collaboration and exchange between Australian and international artists and arts organisations through panel and roundtable discussion topics including: • Breaking Barriers through Information Sharing; • Trends in the Arts: What You Ought to Know; and • Expanding Horizons through Collaboration. With 197 delegates there were many avenues for strengthening international alliances on both individual and institutional levels. The official three-day conference program for Borak Arts Series was developed by co-curators Collette Brennan (Australia) and Joseph Gonzales (Malaysia) along with staff from both OzAsia Festival and Borak Arts Series. This program included: keynote lectures; small group breakout sessions; one-on-one meetings; genre specific gatherings; and pitching sessions.
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A total of 197 delegates registered to attend Borak Arts Series at OzAsia Festival. This included 107 Australian delegates, 78 Southeast Asian delegates and 12 delegates from other countries. A total of 18 countries/regions were represented at Borak Arts Series 2018, including Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Vietnam, Belgium, India, Iran, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Syria, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The three-day conference event featured a total of 55 official program activities, including 26 one-on-one meetings, 12 pitches, four networking functions, four spotlight performances, three keynote presentations, two panels, three roundtable sessions and one breakaway session. Based on a post-conference survey issued to all delegates, 97.5% of respondents would attend the next Borak Arts Series if they have the chance and would recommend it to others. 55% of respondents rate the relevancy of the conference content as ‘Excellent’ and a further 30% as ‘Good’. Leading Australian and international institutions represented at Borak Arts Series 2018 included Australia Council for the Arts, Department of Communications and the Arts, Arts South Australia, National Arts Council, Singapore, BEKRAF – Indonesia’s Agency for Creative Economy, CENDANA – Cultural Economic Development Unit Malaysia, Taiwan’s National Culture and Arts Foundation, Theatre Network Australia, Australian Performing Arts Market, Asia-Europe Foundation, Melbourne Festival, Adelaide Festival, Arts Centre Melbourne, George Town Festival, Singapore International Arts Festival, and Australian Government Representative, Senator The Hon. Simon Birmingham.