BMG and University of Newcastle to launch Australian-first Indigenous scholarship program to inspire a new generation of music executives

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Global music company BMG has expanded on its successful partnership with the University of Newcastle’s School of Creative Industries in the Faculty of Education and Arts to launch its first round of Indigenous scholarships, creating more pathways to employment for the next generation of students.

Heath Johns, Managing director BMG Australia and New Zealand
Heath Johns, Managing director BMG Australia and New Zealand

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 University’s School of Creative Industries, as well as to Fifth year Law students - providing a diverse range of integrated learning opportunities with BMG.

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

Students will have all accommodation expenses covered in addition to a lump sum scholarship payment as they immerse themselves in a work integrated learning placement at BMG’s newly opened state-of-the-art HQ, located on the lands of the Gadigal clan of the Eora nation in Surry Hills, featuring a full-service recording studio ‘The Gallery’ and dual self-contained production rooms.

BMG is a full-service music company with an Australian roster that includes artists and songwriters such as Peking Duk, Chet Faker, Dope Lemon, Alison Wonderland, Crowded House, Dune Rats, Golden Features, Winston Surfshirt, CHAII, Hockey Dad, What So Not, Kwame, Tim Minchin and Julia Stone amongst many others.

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

BMG Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand, and University of Newcastle 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 of Newcastle 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.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky AO said he welcomed the extension of the partnership with BMG and the focus on supporting Indigenous students.

“The University of Newcastle has had a long-standing commitment to Indigenous education, we are immensely proud of our track record in this area and these scholarships provided by BMG is a fantastic initiative that will further cement the University’s commitment to growing our Indigenous student and staff population,” said Professor Zelinsky.

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

More information here:

BMG Indigenous Music Industry Scholarship - Creative Industries

BMG Indigenous Music Industry Scholarship - Law


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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.