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Category: Interviews »

Subject: The Arts »

Fotis Kapetopoulos on cultural diversity and the arts in Victoria

Andrew Jakubowicz.

Fotis Kapetopoulos runs Kape arts consultancy. He was the former head of Multicultural Arts Victoria, and an active member of the Australia Council's Multicultural Arts Committee. He also edits the online newspaper for the Greek community, Neos Cosmos.



Date Added:

11 January 2011


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

4.2 MB




It fitted quite well with what was happening at the time. Kennett was about to come in and a lot of restructuring was going to occur. I think partly not because of my competency but partly because of the change in my attitudes they [the Kennett government] saved, they kept Multicultural Arts Victoria. But I don’t know about my competency , but in hindsight it’s difficult to tell but at that time I knew that I looked the part, talked the part and felt the part of what a Kennett government would like to see, and I actually believed a lot of that stuff. Forgetting party politics I actually was quite happy with that vision that from now on we won’t talk about cultural diversity in the arts, what we’ll be talking about now is marketing and promoting the arts to various culturally diverse groups. And the best shall rise;

0:46 and Kennett had an interesting position on that, that cultural diversity should be embedded in everything we’re doing. Now that’s interesting, people tend to forget that, they keep thinking about his personality, but he was actually quite Left Wing for a Right Winger, you know? He had this “Whole of government”, that was the new term then; he had a genuine whole of government approach, he reduced everything down to the four pillars of … international exchange, innovation, promotions and marketing. Something like that. And I understood it. Whereas the previous crew [at the MAV] and people at the Footscray Arts Centre no one understood it, because it wasn’t complex enough. What it meant was that it had to be good.

1:27 People that went to see something, either an exhibition or on stage, or read a publication, had to feel that it was the best that they could see given the resources , whether they liked it or not in terms of the context. Because I personally and many of my peers at that time were bored completely of seeing inept productions by community organisations funded heavily by government. I remember audiences of my mother’s generation leaving bored from dance productions or theatre productions by multicultural artists… and I thought why is this old woman leaving, why are they bored? And they’re bored because it’s four hours long, and there’s no production skills and there was none of that, because all the focus was on access and equity.

2:15 And I think what happened is that, that was the watershed, where people said “enough access and equity, let’s just make sure make that when you’ve got a performer on stage they’ve got the best lighting, the best visuals they’ve got that you can provide for them, and they’re an exciting thing to watch whether you like it or not. And that’s why I think I got along with Chandrabhanu and [other people]; there was a whole group of people for various reasons who coalesced around this the view of making things work better. A lot of them thought I was a social fascist, but nevertheless agreed with my view that things had to be marketed better, be polished and look better. So that was the difference between past and new.