COVID-19 Update from CEO - Karen Bryant

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Dear Midsumma friends & supporters,

A word being heard repeatedly everywhere at the moment is ‘unprecedented’ and whilst I usually tend to avoid using words that appear to be overused, I’m not sure there is another better way to describe the current situation we all find ourselves in together right now.

As we have heard about event after event being cancelled, jobs being lost, and so many important requirements for socially connected and supportive communities necessarily withdrawn, we at Midsumma have been working hard to find alternate ways of doing what we do, so that our important capacity-building development work and community support we undertake can still go ahead (in different ways).

I am pleased to say that we believe that we can move ahead with our mentorship programs Pathways Disability Mentorship Program and Futures Early Career Mentorship Program. Delivery of career/skill development mentorships and our peer group workshop program’s will, of course, need to be delivered through new remote ways over the coming months, but we are flexible and adaptable.  We can make these adjustments work effectively for everyone involved so that participants still gain all benefits and casual arts and community workers can still be engaged as mentors and workshop leaders through these programs.

Providing we can maintain our critical income levels (donations and sponsorship on which we heavily rely on), we can also continue to work with community groups, independent artists and arts groups on the development of ideas and future projects, as we work towards ensuring that our communities can come out of this as strong as possible.

The development and sharing of peoples creative stories remains vitally important and we are also looking at how our Midsumma enewsetters and artists hub blog might assist other members of our community with online distribution and promotion of any work they are doing, as many turn to new innovative ways to have their voices heard and their stories told. We are also considering how we might increase our ability to make our considerable project development/producing and funding application writing expertise available to assist the many vulnerable independent members of our communities get through this difficult time.

We are working hard to ensure that through all these continuing programs we can ensure that wherever possible all contracts and casual staff who would have been employed by Midsumma over this winter period will continue to be provided with work from us (even if work is delivered in different remote ways). So many casuals and contract staff are losing work and livelihoods everywhere and we want to make sure we are doing all we can to look after and protect those who work so hard to look after our needs each and every year.

I am very sorry to have to share with you that we have decided that we now have no choice but to postpone Midwinta Gala for 2020. This is particularly disappointing to us as we know how much this ‘night of nights’ means to people in our communities.  Pandemic implications continue to develop at an almost unbelievable rate and the current expected timeframe of social distancing measures will last most if not all of winter.  At this stage it is unlikely the event would be able to go ahead and as a small organisation so reliant on raising our own revenue to survive we simply cannot move ahead with committing significant costs for the event at this time without increased immediate risk to Midsumma. I hope you can all understand – we are already commencing new plans to do Midwinta Gala as part of amplified Pride celebrations in 2021. 

In our contribution to physical distancing, from this week our small core Midsumma staff team will be working from home. Phones will continue to be monitored and other correspondence responded to. Through this all we will ensure that everything Midsumma does for our communities can continue, whilst we are also being socially responsible in assisting to keep people safe and healthy. 

We are currently compiling final reports on the 2020 Midsumma Festival and will share with you the fabulous results shortly. We are so proud of all that was achieved this festival and have some fabulous stories to share from this. We all need good stories.

We are completely committed to doing whatever we can to continue our support directly to the very many marginalised vulnerable individuals and communities that we work with. And we remain committed to you all, our vital and valuable supporters and we will stay in touch to keep you up to date on developments. I am always personally available to be contacted by any of you if you have questions or concerns.

We at Midsumma will make sure we are all here for one another.

In the meantime, stay safe. Together we are strong; and together we must stand.

Warmest Regards Always





* Photo by cottonbro


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