Combining Your Passions On A Palette: Peter Turner

What do you get when you mix a passionate splotch for art with a dollop of legislation, policy and licenses? Well, you get an onomatopoeic question with a confusing legal ending. On top of this, you experience the most rewarding internship.

During the winter break, I had the privilege of interning at the Arts Law Centre of Australia (ALCA) based in Sydney. Every day, I hastily strode down Victoria Street in Potts Point before turning left down the historic Butler Stairs. I gazed over Woolloomooloo Wharf before entering the Gunnery to start my day.

My typical working day included a vast array of tasks. I assisted in drafting licence agreements for various creative industries, updated the ALCA information sheets for clients due to recent media law reform, contributed to position papers regarding the rights of artists, and wrote memorandums of advice for vulnerable clients. There is no possible way that this list could do justice to all the projects I participated in at ALCA and how keen I was to get stuck into them. Did I mention the office was on top of an art gallery?!

My initial thoughts while seeking approval to undertake the Legal Internship subject were very simple. I’m a boy who loves theatre. I grew up around it and it is something that I hold incredibly close. So why not combine your passion with your legal studies? However, with the benefit of hindsight, I know what I initially went there for was not what I found the most rewarding.

A subset of ALCA is the Artists in the Black Program which delivers targeted legal services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists around Australia. Through this program, I was able to engage in fundraising, education projects and conversations regarding Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property as well as the protection of Traditional Cultural Expressions in general. If it wasn’t for my internship at ALCA, I I would never have discovered my passion for this (non-theatre related!) subject matter and the necessary law reforms that fall under it .

One of my favourite days during my internship was when I ventured out to the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence in Redfern where they were hosting their annual NAIDOC event. My colleague and I ran a stall representing ALCA and provided necessary resources for those who were not fully aware of their rights. This was an incredibly nourishing day where bonds were formed, and where I realised that my initial aims for the internship had changed.

Here comes the advice.

If you want something out of your law degree go and seek it. We are all immensely fortunate to be in a building where opportunities are waiting for us. They are there if we go looking. I went into my internship wanting to combine my passions on palette and came out with a completely different shade of blue. It wasn’t the blue that I intended it to be, but it’s beautiful nonetheless and it’s something I never expected.

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