How your Workplace can Positively Impact your Journey to Australian Citizenship: an interview with Andy Beecroft of Adelaide Fringe

Sun, Sep 17 2023
How your Workplace can Positively Impact your Journey to Australian Citizenship: an interview with Andy Beecroft of Adelaide Fringe
It’s Australian Citizenship Day, so we’ve sat down with UK expat, Andy Beecroft of Adelaide Fringe’s international arts marketplace Honey Pot, to discuss his journey to citizenship and how his employment at Adelaide Fringe benefitted this journey. 

Andy was born in Sheffield in the UK in 1977 and attended university in Liverpool where he graduated with a degree in film studies. From here he developed his career in film and the arts, working for film and TV companies before moving across to festivals in the UK and Ireland.

Here’s our chat with him!

Adelaide Fringe CEO Heather Croall and Andy Beecroft standing in front of Fringe 2023 Poster backdrop.
Adelaide Fringe CEO Heather Croall and Andy Beecroft. Photo: Jack Timberlake, 2023.
What was the catalyst that prompted you to consider Australian Citizenship? 

“I had been living and working in Australia since 2010 and was fortunate enough to have held visas along the way. I knew from securing a full time position in 2017 that my goal was to attain citizenship and commit to a life here. I also met my partner (a dual Colombian and Australian citizen) in 2018, and in 2020 we brought our beautiful baby boy Santiago into the world, who is Australian by birth. Our life here has true meaning and roots. In 2021, four years after securing permanent residency, I immediately applied for citizenship.”

When did your journey to Australian Citizenship begin?

“In 2010 I was employed by Adelaide Film Festival and continued to work 5-month contracts with the organisation until 2015. That same year Heather Croall was appointed as the Director of Adelaide Fringe. I had worked for Heather in the UK for 8 years and it was in 2016 that I joined Adelaide Fringe to manage the Honey Pot Marketplace. By 2017 I was appointed the year-round Marketplace Manager and Fringe supported me in my permanent residency application that same year.”

Were there any specific skills or qualifications that played a crucial role in securing employment in Australia (with Adelaide Fringe) and did this play a role in your citizenship journey? 

“I had worked within festivals for 7 years across programming and industry engagement and therefore understood the international collaboration and growth opportunities within festivals. The idea was to come to Adelaide to assist the Adelaide Fringe Director in developing the growth and connectivity in their marketplace. This fed into my residency application and we used the skill shortage of Arts Managers in South Australia to lodge a sponsorship application through South Australia with Adelaide Fringe being my sponsored employer.”

Has your employment at Adelaide Fringe contributed to your overall experience and understanding of Australian culture and society?

“Adelaide Fringe has had a massive impact on my understanding of Australian culture and society, respecting and acknowledging First Nations connection to Country and adapting my working practice to reflect this. I have learnt and continue to learn each day from the culturally diverse staff within Adelaide Fringe. Having a connection with Kaurna Elders, sleeping on country and having daily exposure to Kaurna and Ngarrindjeri language coupled with the laid back and welcoming nature of the people I work alongside in my industry has shown me how special this society is and I feel embraced and welcome each day at work.”

You manage the Honey Pot team at Adelaide Fringe, can you talk to us about that?

“I oversee a huge international arts marketplace that facilitates connections and programming opportunities for Adelaide Fringe artists. Honey Pot hosts hundreds of programmers from around the world who come to Adelaide Fringe to explore and see works and take them back to their respective festivals, venues and events. Honey Pot is hugely successful and each year generates hundreds of outcomes worth millions of dollars. Honey Pot represents a growing arts export for South Australia both nationally and internationally.”

Given that Honey Pot is a relatively unique arts marketplace, have you developed specialty skills in your role that made an impact on your journey to becoming a citizen? 

“Honey Pot brings in programmers from up to 30 countries so I see the depth and diversity of Australia’s culture all the time. Honey Pot is also one of the premiere arts marketplaces in Australia and we host hundreds of Australian industry delegates, so I have been fortunate to visit many places around the country whilst getting to know people and places from all around over Australia which has made me love it even more and allowed me to understand the people and culture beyond just South Australia.”

Did you receive any support or guidance from your colleagues or managers at Adelaide Fringe during the citizenship process?

Adelaide Fringe was instrumental in getting me to Australia, providing a job,  helping me find a migration lawyer, sponsoring my visa and encouraging me to make this all happen. My intentions to become a citizen were always met with smiles, congratulations and belief that it was going to happen for me. I couldn’t ask for a better support system than what I have here at Fringe.”

Looking back on your journey, what advice would you give to someone starting their citizenship journey? 

“It's a long process, and long for good reason, as it gives you time to really evaluate why you’re pursuing citizenship. For me it meant leaving friends and family in the UK and starting new, but that was also the appeal and what drove me, so I think you need to consider the impact it will have on you and your life. If your drive and passion is in becoming a citizen, then know there is an official process that starts with gaining permanent residency. I feel that was the most difficult and uncertain, after that I was confident the road to citizenship was going to happen but I controlled that journey. I also see myself as a citizen of the world. I haven’t changed as a person. My history and culture and background all came with me as I began my citizenship journey and that is what makes this process so special for everyone.”