Written by Karen Bryant - CEO Midsumma
... It has certainly been a tough year. An extraordinary year. One where we have all felt ‘removed’ in some way. From our workplaces, our extended families, our usual social spaces, our gyms, sports clubs, our friends, our favourite arts and entertainment venues and events.
For many in our diverse communities, this has been a time when we have been reminded of past and very personal isolation - from identity, pride, from belonging, from self, and from community. Personal journeys we may have felt we left behind long ago.
The waves of emotion have buffeted us as we passed through the days, weeks and months of this year, pushing us between confusion, uncertainty, hope, frustration, discovery. Processes of letting go of the well-worn and familiar ‘known’, as we have sought to harness a rising tide of new ideas, new beliefs and new passion.
We have watched stories unfold though our screens and radios; seen tempers flare as people drew lines to distinguish ‘us and them’ across a range of polarising topics. Seen others come together to support friends and strangers alike. Seeking to build a new sense of togetherness as fabulous new stories, and new expression have emerged from our communities.
We have perhaps each grown to appreciate the little things that we had previously let pass by unnoticed far too easily. The little wonders of nature, the importance of connection, the significance of gatherings, and of a simple hug or touch. Of ‘owning’ our cities through our activations and the all-important sense of place we bring to them.
We may not have been seeing each other in person at events throughout this year, hugging each other in that tactile way that says, ‘we care, and we belong’, but know that you have been, and remain, in our hearts here at Midsumma every day.
As this calendar year draws to a close, remember we are all a part of something important. Being an organisation like Midsumma isn’t just about the collection of events and programs lovingly conceived and curated each year. It is more than the mentorship and other artist development programs, the numerous phone calls and meetings we have with artists and stakeholders, more than new works created, stories shared, tickets sold, attendances achieved. More than passionate conversations about dreams and ideas as we strive to bring each to life. More than the role we play in the development, the progression of queer culture unique to our region of the world. It is of course about all of this, but also so much more. And also something far simpler. For it is the spaces, the gaps in between all these things, that bind us. The knowing that we have a clear sense of purpose, and a belief in one another and in ourselves, that sets us apart. Something intrinsic, in what it is we all represent.
I look to the new year with a renewed enthusiasm, a belief and a strong sense of optimism for a future I know we can realise together. One that will draw us all together in unique, meaningful ways. Next year when we come together, a little later than usual, and greet each other with repeated chorus’s heralding “Happy Midsumma” I think we may find it means even more this time around.
It seems to me appropriate to personally recommit to our shared future and our dreams and aspirations, as I sit here reflecting on our values (shared below), here at Midsumma.
Roll on 2021. We are looking forward to meeting and welcoming you into our lives.
And to all of you - we look forward to sharing all the wonders of 2021 and beyond with all of you, our Midsumma friends and family.
Happy Holidays to you all and thank you sincerely from the bottom of our hearts for all your ongoing support.
See you on the other side!
(Karen Bryant - CEO, Midsumma)
“We are a champion of LGBTQIA+ cultures, conversations and events
We promote, develop and celebrate queer arts and culture. We bring audiences and artists and communities together.
We are the intersection between people, ideas, stories and experiences. We are a focal point for connections and belonging.
We strengthen cultural voices of our communities and broaden the language of our allies. We share stories.
We create inclusive safe cultural spaces. Platforms for shared experience in a world which often underrepresents us.
We value diversity and we embrace difference.
We increase visibility and amplify voices that might otherwise not be ‘seen’ or ‘heard’.
We seek to better understand our own experiences and those of our communities within a broader local, national and international queer context.
We are outward focused, we engage externally. We seek new perspectives and paradigms; yet never forget the value of our past.
We are committed to a culture of shared responsibility.
We are a cultural connector and influencer.
We are a change-maker
We are a learning organisation, one that is constantly asking questions (and never expecting to have all the answers). We learn and coach and support others in their learning.
We are constantly evolving; we are active. Progression and development lie at our core.
We collaborate and champion collaboration.
We embrace and applaud courage.
We have the confidence to imagine positive futures; and to challenge, inspire and take risks in pursuit of these.
We lead conversations and we listen. Thought and cultural leadership is a driving philosophy behind our actions.
We are aspirational.
We are globally relevant and connected.”