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Thursday, January 21, 2021

BMG launches scholarship program to support Indigenous students

It represents Australian artists and songwriters like Peking Duk, Chet Faker, Crowded House and Tim Minchin, and now Indigenous students enrolled in the University of Newcastle’s School of Creative Industries will have the chance to experience what it’s like to work for BMG.

The global music company has expanded on its successful partnership with the University of Newcastle (UON) to launch its first round of Indigenous scholarships. 

The philanthropic partnership will see two scholarships offered each year for an initial three-year period and will be open to Indigenous students enrolled in the School of Creative Industries, as well as fifth year Law students.

The scholarships offer the recipients the opportunity to work alongside some of the world’s biggest and most-established artists and music industry professionals. 

As part of the scholarship, students will undergo a placement at BMG’s newly opened state-of-the-art HQ, located in Surry Hills.

All accommodation expenses will be covered, in addition to a lump sum scholarship payment.

A 2015 study by the Australia Council for the Arts found that only 2.1% of Australians working in creative industries were Indigenous.

BMG Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand, and UON Alumnus, Heath Johns said there was a desperate need for more diversity and inclusivity within the music industry, and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were not appropriately represented at an executive level.

“BMG want to help drive that change and close the gap in the music industry, and that begins by BMG taking an active lead in inspiring a new generation of First Nations music executives,” Mr Johns said. 

“We have a local industry rich in incredible Indigenous music talent but it’s imperative that the executive pool in our industry follows suit. 

“We are excited to offer these scholarships and actively mentor young Indigenous students through every stage of the modern music business.

“Our support will continue long after they leave our office and head home, our entire team is committed to life-long mentoring.

“We will open doors with other industry partners and work with these students to build future employment opportunities either at BMG or elsewhere in the industry.”

The School of Creative Industries and BMG have an existing unique partnership that has already seen several collaborative projects created between students and BMG artists, giving students an incredible introduction to the industry.  

Head of the School of Creative Industries, Professor Paul Egglestone, said the partnership development was an exciting opportunity to directly support Indigenous students.

“By expanding our partnership with BMG, together we can play a meaningful role in providing opportunity for Indigenous students who have a passion for the creative industries, and ultimately improve employment outcomes for Indigenous peoples,” Professor Egglestone said. 

Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Strategy and Leadership, Nathan Towney, said that with more than 1,500 Indigenous graduates, the university was deeply committed to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, well-being and educational opportunities.

“A partnership and scholarships like this one with BMG will have tremendous outcomes for Indigenous students with a passion for the music industry,” Mr Towney said. 

“By providing financial support in the form of scholarships, students can be relieved of the financial burden that often comes with full time study and instead have the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the music industry, which could lead to genuine employment prospects.”  

Applications are now open, and scholarships will be awarded in 2021 based on academic achievements and career aspirations.