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Funding cuts have forced organisations into a perilous struggle for survival. roncaglia

Our arts organisations are in a dance of death

Arts organisations and museums all over the country will have been scrambling to get their grant applications in to the Arts Council by 12pm. And they should be worried. The news in all of the culture…
The “intangible benefits” of arts are absent from the policy documents of the three main parties. (Mural by Hobart artist Robert O'Connor). petahopkins

The curious business-speak of Tasmanian arts policy

This Saturday’s Tasmanian election is the first since Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) opened on January 21 2011, and it’s no surprise that the creative arts and industries have featured heavily…
mrtruffle

Luca Belgiorno-Nettis should just buy a yacht

Luca Belgiorno-Nettis’s family contributed A$600,000 toward the A$10 million budget of this year’s Sydney Biennale (Australia’s largest outdoor arts festival), continuing a long family tradition of generous…
Politicians and artists often join together in an uncomfortable game. Alan Porritt/AAP Image

The art of being awkward: Brandis is wrong about the Biennale

As anyone who works in the arts business well knows, when art and politics meet (and certainly when art and politicians meet …) the result is more often than not awkward. Many of us will remember the fuss…
The Federal Minister for the Arts George Brandis has proposed a way to to deal with grant applicants who refuse corporate funding. Alan Porritt/AAP Image

We should value the Biennale protest, not threaten arts funding

Today it was reported that the Federal Minister for the Arts George Brandis has requested that the Australia Council draft a new policy to deal with grant applicants who refuse funding offered by corporate…
The Sydney Biennale boycott campaign has raised important – and difficult – questions about how we fund the arts. Wexner Centre

Is there any clean money left to fund the arts?

In the wake of the Sydney Biennale’s split from its major sponsor Transfield in recent days, certain uncomfortable questions are again floating very close to the surface. In the late 1990s, I had a successful…
Harder to make than Philomena. ©2012 Final cut for real APS, Piraya Film AS and Novaya Zemyla LTD

Documentary funding gap stalls great films like The Act of Killing

This may sound like a strange request, but if you go to see Joshua Oppenheimer’s brilliant, Bafta-winning and Oscar-nominated The Act of Killing, pay close attention to the opening credits. Before the…
Every year thousands of people visit the VCA campus to check out the young artists’ work. Ollanani

Alas, arts precincts maybe can make cultural cities

The release last month of a Melbourne Arts Precinct Blueprint by Arts Victoria, that promises further development of the cultural precinct in the city’s Southbank, hasn’t come without its fair share of…
Arts precincts have a tendency to become an arts ghetto, shut off from the broader community. PreciousBytes

Alas, arts precincts don’t make cultural cities

Melburnians are oft to claim that they reside in the “arts capital” of Australia. Such self-perception (justified or not) reflects and helps to elevate the profile, quality and ambition of artistic activity…
Street life helps us to pretend we’re not just Pavlov’s dogging it to capitalism’s sonorous bell. a little tune

Street life: how do you revive a dull urban area?

Sixty-six years ago, the esteemed town planner Frank Heath took a bite out of his home town of Melbourne – from a safe distance. The Melbourne Herald was interviewing Heath in London. Quite possibly causing…
The Last of Us is as gripping as many of the films you’ll see in the cinema. PlayStation Europe

We’ve delivered our Citizen Kane, now give gaming an Oscars ceremony

Hollywood’s most celebrated actors, actresses and directors are, by now, finalising their outfits and having their manicures in preparation for the impending Oscars ceremony on 2 March. It’s considerably…
Supposed self-censorship by the Queensland Theatre Company over a joke about Campbell Newman has raised few laughs. Dave Hunt/AAP

Arts companies should be able to tell governments to bugger off

The joke was in, then out, then in again. Over the last week a story reminding us of the delicate politics of arts funded by the government and the need for good governance leaked out of the Queensland…
It’s time to wake up to London’s cultural dominance. shutterstock

Hard Evidence: does London get too much arts funding?

London has 15.4%, one eighth, of the population of England. It is well known that London receives a disproportionate amount of UK arts subsidies, but perhaps not the vast extent of this. Our independently…
Culture: not just contemporary dance in London. Jonathan Brady/PA

The arts don’t need more lobbying, but a radical new vision

Pinning down definitions of the words “culture” and “arts” has always been notoriously difficult. But over the past 60 years, fast and profound social, economic, technological and cultural changes have…
We need to find a more meaningful way to talk about arts and culture. OsamaSaeedDotOrg

Sun Tzu says: the cost of culture shows the value of nothing

Measurement determines estimation; estimation determines calculation; calculation determines comparison; comparison determines victory. So wrote Sun Tzu in The Art of War 2,000 years ago. Since that time…
The iconic House is being used for postmodern public financing. Quentin Jones/AAP image

Shelling out for tiles at the Sydney Opera House

Want to help raise the roof on one of Australia’s most iconic assets? Look no further than the Sydney Opera House’s latest public appeal, Own Our House, which launches today. The Sydney Opera House is…
How do we decide what art is worth – by the economic benefits it delivers or some notion of intrinsic value? fedee P

The tricky notion of ‘value’ in the arts

There’s plenty of discussion about arts funding in Australia – but are we ready to tackle tough questions around the “value” of the arts? That’s a challenge that will involve scrutinising the “benefits…
The Melbourne Ring Cycle is expensive – but it may be worth it. Keith Saunders

Should we fund Wagner operas or statues of Kyle Sandilands?

The cultural dollar is tight. Why spend taxpayers’ money on mounting Wagner operas rather than – say – erecting a mile-high statue of Kyle Sandilands on the moon warning alien civilisations what to expect…
Should the state become a funder of last resort for the arts? Abode of Chaos

Reforming arts funding is not a job for the market

Jason Potts’ article for The Conversation earlier this week purports to bring an economist’s clear-eyed vision to the small problem of arts funding – and in this it follows quite a few others who tell…
Public funding should promote unintended consequences. Abode of Chaos

You’ve got $7 billion – so how will you fund the arts?

Last year the Australian Bureau of Statistics did the maths – government spends about A$7 billion annually in Australia on arts and culture. The exact dollar figure varies depending on what we count, but…

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