Are we ready to reimagine the value of the arts?

03/10/2022 | 2 mins

How best to create a thriving arts and culture environment in Australia will be the subject of a public panel discussion to be held this week at the State Library of Western Australia and livestreamed for national audiences.

Hosted by The University of Western Australia’s Public Policy Institute, this event presents a timely opportunity to discuss a new policy framework to reinvigorate the arts and coincides with the new National Cultural Policy being established by the Federal Government.  

PPI Director Professor Shamit Saggar said a thriving arts landscape was the bedrock of a connected and creative society. 

“A new policy framework to reinvigorate the arts must result in a sustainable and equitable environment for artists, resilient institutions that are empowered to support artists, and promote  diversity of artistic content,” Professor Saggar said.

“How do we re-centre the arts as a public good? What reforms are needed to foster an equitable   environment for artists? What types of knowledge exchange might take place between the arts and other sectors?”

Arts policy

The panel, to be moderated by Dr Chris Lin from the UWA Public Policy Institute, brings together speakers from across the arts and culture landscape including Shelagh Magadza, executive director, Culture and the Arts (Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries); Jeremy Smith, senior producer of Performing Lines WA; Dr Catherine Noske from UWA’s School of Humanities and editor of Westerly Magazine and Dr Oron Catts, artist and director of SymbioticA in UWA’s School of Human Sciences. 

In outlining what he’d like to see in a future policy agenda, Jeremy Smith said he would like a policy environment for the arts and cultural sectors that backs bravery, encourages boldness and really shakes up the concepts and scales we consider when making, creating and playing.

Shelagh Magadza said that our values and their expression through art are woven throughout all elements of our society and economy; Dr Noske agreed there is a need to reconsider the value of the arts in negotiating our narratives and history; and Oron Catts said it’s important to retain the integrity of artistic practice when it comes to policy thinking.

Dr Lin said the conversation on a new arts policy framework was a timely one, with the commitment by the Federal Government to deliver a new National Cultural Policy. 

The free event will be held on Thursday October 6 from 5.30pm to 7pm at the State Library Theatre in Francis Street. Those wanting to attend can register here.

Media references

Liz McGrath, UWA Media Advisor, 0433 795 509

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