Adam Suckling, CEO of The Copyright Agency discusses the Cultural Fund and bringing Indigenous stories to the classroom

Earlier this year it was announced that The Copyright Agency was to team up with remote publishing house Magabala Books, and the Australian Literary Educators Association to devise a series of specially created teaching resources for 15 Indigenous stories; which would then be made available to teachers via the Reading Australia website.

These resources have been designed and devised to facilitate the introduction of new Aboriginal perspectives and Indigenous stories into classrooms across the country. In our second, and final interview, about the new program, we sit down with Copyright Agency CEO Adam Suckling, to find out a little bit more about the Cultural Fund, and the goals and inspiration of this new program.

What is the Cultural Fund, and how does it operate?

First, a bit about us. The Copyright Agency is a not-for-profit organisation which licences the use of copyright-protected words and images. We pay the licence fees to our creator members.

Our philanthropic Cultural Fund and Career Fund provide crucial annual grants to cultural organisations and creators, such as writers and artists, to deliver new work and fresh initiatives. We’ve given some $22m to the creative community since 2004.

What was the starting point for this program? How did it all come about?

Through the Cultural Fund, the Copyright Agency set up the website Reading Australia to support teachers of literacy and history with terrific resources written by teachers for teachers – from Foundation to Year 12. It’s been going for three years now.

One of the priorities of the Australian curriculum is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures, but teachers spend a lot of time searching for great resources to bring these perspectives to life.

To help make it easier for teachers to find great material, we gave $33,550 to the Indigenous WA publisher Magabala Books, who partnered with the Australian Literacy Educators Association to produce the resources for the 15 Indigenous books for primary students. The first of these resources will be available at www.readingaustralia.com.au by the end of March.

What do you hope to achieve with this program?

We believe every student in Australia should be leaving our school system with a real appreciation of our diverse and uniquely Australian stories. With Magabala Books’ teaching resources being available for students and teachers across the country, on the Reading Australia website, we hope to help teachers being these stories to life in the classroom.

How important is it to have Australian stories within the national curriculum?

It’s absolutely important. Allowing students to have access to these unique Australian perspectives lets them explore and learn more about the world they live in.

How involved have teachers been in creating the resources for these 15 titles?

All of the resources on the Reading Australia website are written by teachers, for teachers. And we regularly work with the teachers and their associations, taking into account their feedback about what kind of resources they want.

Can you see, or would you like to see, this program expand beyond primary level and into high schools?

The Reading Australia website already contains many resources for high school teachers and students, and we will continue to add new resources. Our experience is that teachers are hungry for this type of high-quality material.

Our kids should be able to grow up reading Australian stories which reflect the diversity of this country’s people and their experiences. The Copyright Agency is committed to providing access to great Australian stories to fuel a genuine passion for reading and life-long learning.

To access the specially created resources, essays, monthly updates, book news and competitions, teachers can visit the Reading Australia website and register for FREE.

For more information on The Copyright Agency and their work visit HERE

You can find our interview with Magabala Books Chairperson Edie Wright HERE