ABCTV has confirmed Katrina Sedgwick, the Head of TV Arts, is leaving the organisation in February 2015 to take up the position of Director/CEO of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne.
While Sedgwick is understood to have left the ABC of her own accord, now that the position is vacant questions are being asked if the role of a Head of TV Arts will continue. This website understands ABC Management are now considering merging the Arts portfolio with another department such as Factual Programming as the organisation looks to reduce the layers of middle management and lower costs.
Should the Head of Arts role be abolished it would likely see Arts producers increasingly compete against programming from other sectors for funding.
Last month it was confirmed up to 400 ABC staff would lose their jobs and a number of programs would be cut after the public broadcaster had its budget cut by $254 million over the next five years.
Despite several attempts by this website yesterday, two senior ABC spokespersons failed to confirmed the ABC would look to replace Sedgwick with a new Head of TV Arts.
A decision to cut the Head of TV Arts role will no doubt anger many in the artistic community whom already feel the broadcaster is not doing enough to cover the sector.
Since joining the ABC in April 2012 Katrina has been responsible for leading a bold vision for Arts on the ABC. She has led a dynamic team, commissioning an ambitious slate of programs with highlights including: Autopsy on A Dream, The Art of Australia, I Want to Dance Better At Parties, Hannah Gadsby’s Oz, The Real Mary Poppins, Art & Soul 2, and the AACTA nominated documentaries Brilliant Creatures and Tender. She has overseen ongoing series The Book Club, Jennifer Byrne Presents and At the Movies, which had its final screening this week to over 900,000 people Australia wide.
Katrina has also driven a new strategy for Arts across the ABC, chairing the ABC Arts Council and establishing an ABC Arts brand that engages with and leverages arts content across the ABC platforms – TV, Radio, News and Online – particularly through ABC Arts Online (abc.net.au/arts).
“I’m leaving the ABC with genuine regret – I’ve loved my time here - but this is an opportunity I just cannot turn down. It has been an enormous learning curve working inside a broadcaster of this size and scale, but it’s been both very creative and very satisfying to work with so many wonderful people across the ABC as a whole. I will particularly miss my colleagues in TV Arts who are such a brilliant team, the ABC Arts Council and the TV Executive. And I’ve loved working with some truly amazing program makers both inside and outside the organisation. I hope that we can continue to collaborate in new ways through ACMI!” says Katrina.
Richard Finlayson ABC’s Director of TV says ”Katrina brought vision and ambition to ABC TV’s Arts slate, and by recognising the power of bringing the various platforms together, she created a single brand, ABC Arts, that will be the leading curator of Arts-based content in the country."
“Not only has she nurtured new and emerging talents, she has found breakthrough moments for Arts programming, like The Art of Australia and Brilliant Creatures both of which have reached massive national audiences and keep Arts in the mainstream conversation.
“We’re sad to lose Katrina, but I’m sure we’ll continue to work alongside her in her new role.”