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IDEA officially wraps up

The Imaging & Digital Entertainment Association (IDEA) has officially wrapped up after more than 40 years as the Australian photo industry’s peak body.

The Digital Show in 2015 was the last initiative of any kind from IDEA.

IDEA president, James Murray, said during the Association’s life time, it ‘fulfilled a rich and rewarding function representing photographic manufacturers, importers and affiliated service providers during periods of rapid and continual change’.

The Association’s function was to ‘liaising with governments, like-minded global associations, and other photographic and educational institutions’; as well as arrange annual trade shows to showcase members’ product portfolios to professional photographers and consumers.

‘Photographic displays, judging competitions, as well as industry expert lectures and presentations also featured as part of these events,’ Murray said. ‘While digitisation and the availability of mobile phone image capture led to new providers in the imaging and entertainment space, original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and suppliers reconsidered their need to actively participate in the exhibition events. This was despite the final 2015 Digital Show recording record public attendance.’

As noted by Murray, IDEA’s last big hurrah was the 2015 Digital Show. The years that followed were marked by inactivity and falling membership, leaving the once-mighty association in no position to claim to be a peak body representing anything.

‘Progressively, over the past five years there was a decline in IDEA membership to the point where just six of the original members remained – Nikon, Leica, Epson, Kayell, CR Kennedy and Raleru,’ said Murray. ‘After many efforts to revive the membership, the Board of IDEA came to the conclusion that it was best to wind up the Association and distribute any remaining assets and funds to a similar Not-for-Profit registered organisation.’

Although prior to virtuously diverting the remaining funds – as is required by IDEA’s constitution – the Association offered cash grants to th remain few members for marketing campaigns.

Here’s what we wrote at the start of 2021:

The latest IDEA financial report lodged with the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission shows there was $387,000 in cash remaining in IDEA’s account. IDEA enjoys tax-exempt status as a non-for-profit organisation which is supposed to promote the interests of the industry it is supposed to serve. It has clearly been neglecting those obligations for many years now.

Each of the five businesses benefitting from the grants can qualify for up to $60,000 each towards a marketing campaign ‘to amplify and extend community awareness of photography, videography and their related products and services, but to also inspire consumers to recognise the unique features on cameras that are not available on mobile phones.’

An Inside Imaging Readers’ Poll asked, ‘Does dividing up remaining IDEA funds among board members’ companies, and then shutting the association down, a good option for the industry?’, with 76 percent stating ‘no’.

Does dividing up remaining IDEA funds among board members' companies, and then shutting the association down, a good option for the industry?

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RMIT University has now been named as the recipient of IDEA’s remaining funds, which equals whatever is left over after the IDEA-sponsored marketing campaigns, and administration, audit and legal costs.

‘The endowment will be used as scholarships to assist in the education of young aspiring photography students,’ Murray states. ‘The scholarships will be awarded on the basis of both merit and the need for financial support to ensure students are able to continue in their studies and achieve their degrees.’

Inside Imaging has asked exactly how much was donated to RMIT, as the figure could be anywhere between a couple hundreds bucks to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

‘IDEA advises that the endowment will sufficiently support successful scholarship applicants over the next decade, providing a significant long-term benefit to the industry and an investment in the future of photography,’ Murray responded to Inside Imaging. So there you go.

RMIT’s associate dean of Photography, Alison Bennett, said the university is ‘grateful to IDEA for recognising and supporting the integrated industry training and practical experience that our photography students have access to as they become the image-makers of the future’.

‘Photography is a rapidly changing field of practice. This endowment is an astonishing gift that will support exemplary emerging practitioners to prepare for the future of photographic imaging practice,’ Dr Bennett said.

And that officially leaves Australia without a photo industry association.

One Comment

  1. Phil G Phil G November 10, 2022

    If IDEA was such a good idea it should have passed the funds 10+ years ago to a new PMA like what NZ has done. First Dave then James weren’t the right people to be running an industry association IMHO.

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