NiTRO Creative Matters

Perspectives on creative arts in higher education

From the President: Is it ever safe to go out in the cultural policy waters?

The next six months is going to be an interesting time, and we imagine that there will much said and disputed as we move the towards the next federal election.

Let’s face it, cultural policy is a highly politicised domain. This is probably unsurprising, as human culture itself is the thing that we create with our collective consciousness, through desires, fears, imagination and ambitions. Inevitably, it is volatile and dynamic. So, it seems that is never really safe to go out in the water. However, that is what we like about it, I guess, and it is why it is important to restate the principles and emphasis as different times and in different contexts.

The Australia Council for the Arts recently released a report that makes the case for us. In its opening statement, International Arts Tourism: Connecting Cultures states:

“Art is an international language that transcends borders. In sharing Australian stories with the world, the arts are a highly influential and powerful tool for building national identity and cultural exchange.”

The report outlines that the tourist participation in arts-related activities outstrips others: “More international tourists engage with the arts than visit wineries or casinos, or attend organised sports events.”

While not meant as a competition between industry sectors, it is useful to have this material and to understand the growing demand and interest in the arts in the very mobile and transitory world in which we are living. It comes as no surprise to us, but it is good to have our intuitions confirmed with evidence.

It will be nice when we don’t have to defend ourselves with statistics and economic cases like these but it seems to be necessary. Possibly particularly in times of polarising world views and seeming organised reactionary forces mobilising. We know where that leads.

What to do? This issue of NiTRO deals with a number of approaches to cultural policy and I am sure we will all find this a stimulating discussion. And the next six months is going to be an interesting time, and we imagine that there will be much said and disputed as we move the towards the next federal election.

Watch this space.

Other recent news

Other related news

For many, 2022 has been a year of transition. Whether moving into new roles or university structures, new (or extended) forms of teaching and learning, different research and research training landscapes, not to mention refreshed national governance and priorities, many of our DDCA members will remember 2022 as the year where changes brought about by COVID-19 started to settle in.

Welcome to this penultimate edition of NiTRO for 2022, which has been expertly curated by Dr Alejandra Canales and her colleagues at The Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS).

Welcome to the latest edition of NiTRO. The clocks (for some) have moved forward, and I know many of us are looking forward to a well-earned summer break. But alas, there is still a lot to do before then!

Arts and culture in Australia is on the turn. We hope. Since the recent federal election, from which the Australian Labor Party came back into power after a 9-year hiatus, there has been a lot of “noise” about the potential of a real future for arts and culture. “New National Cultural Policy”, which is currently accepting submissions (the DDCA is collaborating on a submission with our colleagues at the Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities – DASSH), is just one sign of the Federal Government's commitment to what many of us already know to be the lifeblood of

Welcome to the 42nd edition of NiTRO, which examines a broad range of approaches and viewpoints on the Creative Arts PhD, edited by David Cross and Jenny Wilson

Welcome to the 41st edition of NiTRO, our second for 2022. The pandemic is still very much with us as we are open up and international travel returns. Most students have returned to campus, yet classes continue to be plagued by high levels of absenteeism, and academics manage a range of hybrid approaches, a complex task in many artistic disciplines.