Cultural policies Australasia

Cabbage tree Tongariro by Christopher MaddenThrough 2010 and 2011 I wrote a number of essays for ArtsHub and Culture360 on cultural policy issues in Australia and New Zealand. I have put these essays, plus a couple of others, together in one collection and organised them around four broad themes:

  1. Australasian cultural policies (ie in general);
  2. Analyses of the cultural sector and cultural policy issues;
  3. Arts councils, arts funding; and
  4. The cultural policy system.

Putting them together like this gives them a coherence lacking in their chronologically ordered online counterparts. If you do download the full document I hope you find them interesting and useful. Online versions of all the essays appear on this website.

The collection is downloadable as a single document: Cultural Policies Australasia (PDF 1.8MB). A full list of contents is below. Continue reading


Measuring the economic impact of cultural policies

Sydney Opera House impactIs there a way to measure the impact of a country’s cultural policies overall, at a general, or ‘macro’, level?

Economic theory predicts that cultural policies will have an expansionary impact on the cultural sector (see Modelling the economic impacts of cultural policies). This article uses data from Australia and New Zealand to show the theory in action.

The article, published in Culture360 Magazine, uses data from Australia and New Zealand to compare trends in government cultural expenditure and cultural employment. The data reveal a remarkably strong correlation between cultural expenditure and employment in both countries: on both sides of the Tasman, as governments increased their financial commitment to culture, cultural employment grew.

The data are not only consistent with the predictions of Economic theory, they allude to a degree of cultural policy success in both countries.

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Australasian edition of Cultural Trends

In 2010 I coordinated a special Australasian edition of Cultural Trends, the academic journal that ‘champions the need for better evidence-based analyses of the cultural sector.’

The special edition, which is in two parts, aims to expose to an international audience a selection of issues occupying cultural policy researchers and statisticians in Australia and New Zealand.

As well as coordinating the special edition, I drafted two editorials (pre-print drafts available below) in which I try to crystallise the state of cultural statistics and cultural policies in Australasia Continue reading

A poverty of inquiry

Imagine if the number of Australians playing sport doubled in five years. Would the Sports Minister go out to the media crowing about the success of sports policy? Most likely. What if research showed participation in a football code – say, Aussie rules – tripled over four years? Would the AFL shout this from the rooftops, exalting a new wave of popularity for Aussie rules? You bet. Why, then, when trends of this magnitude occurred in the arts, hardly a word was said?

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Cross-country comparisons of cultural statistics

Taxpayers money by Louisa Bufardeci

Image: Louisa Bufardeci

Cross-country comparisons are popular in cultural policy. This paper looks at how cultural statistics are used in the making of such comparisons. Analysts have identified a general ‘sloppiness’ in comparisons of cultural data between countries. This article documents some of the major problems in both data production and data presentation and provides a ‘checklist’ of good practice.

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Compendium of data on artists’ work and employment in Australia

Data on the working lives of Australian artists has been combined into a comprehensive analytical report that looks at trends in the artist labour market going back to the ‘80s.

The analysis tells the remarkable story of a structural shift that occurred in the Australian arts sector in the first decade of the new millennium: an extraordinary increase in creative arts participation rates in the adult population coupled with a ‘crunch’ in professional artists’ employment.

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Artists’ work, incomes, tax and social security research

The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts and the Australia Council have released research reports on artists’ employment, professional practice, and tax and social security issues that I worked on in 2009.

The research explored the nature of professional artists’ working lives and trends in the Australian artist labour market as a basis for policy development.

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