Artswashing dilemma continues to plague festivals

Darwin Festival is the latest arts organisation to fall afoul of protestors demanding the festival divest itself from a sponsorship with energy company Santos.
a large music concert crowd and stage with small fireworks being set off.

Late last week, Darwin Festival launched its 2022 program. On the same day, a delegation of Traditional Owners from Larrakia Country, the Tiwi Islands and the Beetaloo Basin, joined by members of the Northern Territory arts group Fossil Free Arts NT, held a ‘Darwin Festival Dump Santos’ campaign rally in Darwin’s CBD.

The campaign includes an open letter signed by over 200 Australian artists (including 130 from the Northern Territory) calling on the festival to end their decades-long sponsorship deal with Santos, one of various energy companies conducting exploratory gas projects and drilling for gas (fracking) in parts of the NT.

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ArtsHub's Arts Feature Writer Jo Pickup is based in Perth. An arts writer and manager, she has worked as a journalist and broadcaster for media such as the ABC, RTRFM and The West Australian newspaper, contributing media content and commentary on art, culture and design. She has also worked for arts organisations such as Fremantle Arts Centre, STRUT dance, and the Aboriginal Arts Centre Hub of WA, as well as being a sessional arts lecturer at The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).