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Australia Council initiates discussion on arts landscape post-COVID

Image via Unsplash
Graham Strahle
| September 27, 2020

The Australia Council for the Arts has released a broad-ranging discussion paper on the effects of COVID on the arts and creative industries. Entitled Re-imagine: what next?, it is calling for public responses during September and October.

It describes how the coronavirus pandemic “has completely disrupted the arts and cultural industries”, how “future disruptions are inevitable”, and how rapid adjustment is necessary in order that “the arts and cultural industries …don’t just survive but thrive in the future”.

The 14-page document outlines how the Australia Council is seeking to initiate dialogue in “all segments and players across the industry”, and to do this it posits three key questions:

— How will the arts and cultural industries be inclusive of all Australians?

— How will the arts and cultural industries play a significant role in the nation’s recovery?

— How will the arts and cultural industries weather future disruptions?

Re-imagine: what next proposes that “Arts and culture have a critical role to play in supporting communities as their heal from the trauma of the bushfires and the pandemic”, and it cites polling by The Australia Institute conducted in May that shows that since the pandemic started, “the number of Australians who believe that arts and culture should receive more public funding has increased”.

More generally, the paper talks about how the pandemic has revealed the importance of online/digital delivery in the arts sector, and the crucial importance of new models of financial sustainability in moving the sector forwards.

For its part, the Australia Council is offering to take a coordinating and information-sharing role. It describes itself as “one part of the arts and cultural industries” and how it is therefore well placed to start this process and identify where change might be possible for all players and participants in the arts and cultural industries, present and emerging.

There are three ways one can participate. They are to contact the Australia Council directly, or start one’s own discussion and share with the Council, or pass on what one’s networks have been saying.

To facilitate the process, it will be running online discussions during 21 September to 13 October, as well as two online ‘town hall’ discussions on 30 September and 13 October. Register for any of these at the Re-imagine online portal.

It is anticipated that a summary of findings will be published in late 2020 with the aims of informing arts communities and helping determine the Council’s own priorities.

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