After more than 40 years as the peak industry body, the Imaging & Digital Entertainment Association (IDEA) is wrapping up its operations.

IDEA president, James Murray said the decision was made at the 2020 AGM and General Meeting, concluding it would not be financially viable to continue.

“For more than four decades, the Association fulfilled a rich and rewarding function representing photographic manufacturers, importers and affiliated service providers during periods of rapid and continual change by liaising with governments, likeminded global associations, and other photographic and educational institutions,” Murray said.

“Another major function of IDEA was to arrange annual photographic shows in alternating capital cities where members showcased their products and services to industry, professional photographers and in later years, consumers. Photographic displays, judging competitions, as well as industry expert lectures and presentations also featured as part of these events.

“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.

“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. 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

“The board of IDEA voted to allocate the remaining funds in the form of an endowment to the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), leaders in Art and Design in the Asia Pacific and a university that prides itself on the art of photography and related disciplines.

“The endowment will be used as scholarships to assist in the education of young aspiring photography students. 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,” he explained.

RMIT Associate Dean of Photography, Dr Alison Bennett said the educational institution welcomes the opportunity to be able to provide scholarships to talented photography students.

“RMIT 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.”

Murray paid tribute to the past and present IDEA directors for their outstanding support, industry commitment and professional management, while expressing his sincere thanks and great appreciation to Eve Phillips who has worked over many years to ensure IDEA, members and the industry achieved the best results.