ARPA News February 2016

ARPA News February 2016

Notes from the 2016 face-to-face meeting of the Australasian Religious Press Association.

The ARPA executive met at The Golden Grove Healing Centre in Newtown, Sydney 5-6 February. The executive meeting included the appointed members from the 2015 AGM, Sophia Sinclair (Press Service International, but also there in her role as ARPA Minutes Secretary) and Sarah Richards (Bible Society of New Zealand). Penny Mulvey (Crosslight) joined via Skype on the Friday night and this worked very well. The following is a brief outline of some of the matters considered. The ARPA executive also has oversight of the organisation’s finances and reporting.

Thank you to the staff at the GG Centre for their hospitality. It is an excellent venue (and a Christian oasis) in the middle of Newtown and a short trip from the airport. 

Ramon Williams ARPA Scholarship and Sponsorship

Firstly the Ramon Williams Scholarship information was slightly revised (the main change is that the age for entry will be up to 33 years) and the revised notice will be provided to members soon for consideration.

Appeal for Donations for the Ramon Williams ARPA Scholarship

Secondly, the executive endorsed an appeal and fundraising proposal from former President and Life Member Errol Pike that will seek to establish a fund to enhance the scholarship by offering multiple scholarships (an initial thought is 3 for Australia and 1 for New Zealand) and also secure the financial base of the scholarship for several years to come. This will involve a wide appeal and contact.

The first stage of this is to secure names of possible people who may contribute to this fund and ARPA invites our members to provide names of potential donors or contact details for organisations, trusts and foundations who may be contacted about supporting the development of this scholarship.


New Zealand ARPA Promotion

There will be a mailing to non-ARPA members in NZ with the hope of bringing in more members, especially in the NZ scene. ARPA NZ Vice-President Justin St. Vincent is co-ordinating this and has been keenly promoting the work of ARPA with the hope of bringing in new members, especially with the hoped for 2017 New Zealand conference.

Future ARPA conferences – 2017, and 2019 – 2020

There was a wide-ranging discussion about locations for future conferences. Information has now been provided to ACPA outlining that ARPA is exploring Auckland for the 2017 conference and inviting consideration of this as well as looking ahead to 2019 and 2020, with Perth raised as a possibility and also Singapore, making ARPA a truly Australasian gathering. The idea of looking ahead is to also allow time for members to plan to attend these locations if they are accepted.

 2018 Conference– Proposal concerning Joint arrangements with ACPA and the Australian Catholic Communications Congress (this matter was considered at the 2015 ARPA AGM and referred to the ARPA executive).

Note: ARPA has been represented at the last two Catholic Communications Congresses (2012 and 2015) and has been warmly invited to connect in a more defined way in 2018.

Aoife Connors, the Media and Communications Director of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference was present at the executive meeting on the Friday night and presented a paper concerning the possibility of linking the dates and logistical arrangements for conferences in 2018. As members know ARPA and ACPA are usually held at a similar time and in an expression of collegiate contact the ARPA executive supported an invitation to “work together with members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) Media Council Association (ARPA) and the Australian Catholic Press Association (ACPA) to appoint a steering committee to plan, organise and execute the next Australian Catholic Communications Congress at the same location and date during 2018, so that there would be some overlap for delegates who may wish to attend more than one of the conferences.”

ARPA Conference costs and arrangements

Arising from questions raised about holding conferences at hotels and costings, the President prepared a discussion paper for consideration. Background material about ARPA conferences was also provided. The executive agreed that it was helpful to consider each conference individually and because different cities had different possibilities a key was flexibility. It was also noted that sponsorship was very significant, and increased sponsorship will help keep registration costs to a good level. A copy of the paper was made available to all members for information.

New Member

ARPA welcomed CASE as a member (  Members who attended the 2014 ARPA conference would remember receiving a copy of the special CASE magazine edition on the Church and Media.

Review of ARPA Awards 2016

The annual review of the awards was undertaken and there will be some changes to the wording of awards and entries, but the major change is that there will be two new awards/division of awards.

  • Best Cover will now be awarded for Best Cover Magazine and Best Cover Newspaper.
  • The Column/Blog award will become two awards: Best Column and Best Blog.

It would be helpful to begin to think about your award entries and also Gutenberg nominations. The closing date will be May 20th (Full entry details will be sent in the new few weeks).