The arts, culture and creative industries are important contributors to the National economy, social fabric and in meeting broad sustainable outcomes
In 2018/2019 the creative industries contributed approximately $7 billion or 1% to Australia’s economy (The Big Picture: Public Expenditure on artistic, cultural and creative activity in Australia).
Yet, public expenditure on cultural activity per capita has dropped by 4.9% over the period of 2007-2018.
Expenditure as a percentage of GDP is well below the average of other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member with Australia ranked 23 out of 34 countries.
Also to be addressed is the negative effects of insufficient and intermittent funding through the lack of a policy framework. There has been a decline in funding in real terms across the sector. The efficiency dividend imposed on the national cultural institutions, stagnant funding levels of major organisations and reduced funding options for smaller companies and independent artists, have had a cumulative effect across the sector. The result has been reduced capacity to deliver core functions, worrying trends relating to mental health and well-being of the arts/culture workforce and a marked decline in the ability to invest in strategic initiatives, longer term outcomes and innovative practice.
So, What Is At Stake?
The Creative industries employs approximately 439,000 people (The creative Economy in Australia: Cultural production, creative services and income, 2016)
There are approximately 25,355 creative businesses Australia wide – 67% are sole traders. (Statistical snapshot: count of small businesses Statistical snapshot: count of small businesses – Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au) in 2019-2020 employment in the arts sector approximately 20,000 jobs were lost. In a period of 10 years job growth for small businesses has been at 4 % (ABS Australia Industry Australian Industry, 2019-20 financial year | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au)
Indigenous Employment & Community Revenue
The Aboriginal arts sector in Western Australia generates 61% of Aboriginal sales nationally.
Between the 2011 and 2016, creative employment in Australia grew by an average of 2.2% per annum, nearly twice that of the entire workforce.
International Tourism Opportunities
International arts tourist numbers to Australia grew by 47% between 2013 and 2017, a higher growth rate than for international tourist numbers overall (37%).
Domestic Tourism Offerings
Australians who engage with the arts while exploring their own country are growing. Since 2014, there have been increases in the numbers of tourists engaging with arts activities on daytrips (+14%) and overnight trips (+20%)
Case Study: Barking Gecko Theatre Company — Gecko Ensembles
Barking Gecko Theatre believe when children’s creativity is nurtured, their potential is endless!
Gecko Ensembles are Barking Gecko Theatre's weekly drama classes for children. It’s where self-expression leads to self-confidence, as children stretch their imaginations in exciting directions.
Gecko Ensembles focus on the learning that comes from engaging with drama processes. Children question, explore, imagine, and create. Through exploring some of life's big questions children develop collaboration and communication skills and build resilience and empathy. They challenge themselves, listen to each other, learn new skills and most importantly, have fun!
Gecko Ensembles celebrate children’s diverse ideas, interests, and imagination. Children act as Barking Gecko’s creative consultants, exploring the same content as Barking Gecko’s artistic teams are exploring in our rehearsal rooms. Classes are facilitated by Teaching Artists, who are accomplished industry professionals, passionate in helping young people discover their potential through drama.
Available for Little Geckos (5 - 7), Junior Geckos (8 - 12), Senior Geckos (13+) at several locations across metropolitan Perth and regional WA.
The Little Gecko Ensembles are all about learning through highly structured drama activities. Children develop confidence in their physical, vocal, and imaginative expression through a series of exciting exercises in a fun and creative learning environment. Class sizes for Little Geckos are capped to a maximum of 16 to ensure individual attention on each child.
Barking Gecko Theatre’s Junior Gecko Ensemble is the perfect place for children to have fun and lose themselves in the joy of drama, while also refining social, emotional, and creative skills. Ensemble members enjoy extending themselves as they delve into the craft of acting, learning new drama skills, developing characters, play making and script interpretation.
The Senior Gecko Ensemble is all about building drama skills and professional practice in an environment of imagination and possibility. Over the year this ensemble will explore acting fundamentals and a range of theatre devising techniques, in a playful, supportive, and professional environment.
Why we need a National Cultural Plan?
“We acknowledge the agency and capacity of young people. We speak to the whole child, in the here and now – not to audiences, or citizens, of tomorrow. We listen to children’s voices and look at the world from their point of view, and we build that perspective into the art we make.” – Barking Gecko Theatre
Case Study: Regional Arts WA — Regional Arts Network
For the past 2 years, Regional Arts WA’s statewide initiative called the Regional Arts Network (RAN) has been looking to change the way the regional arts sector talks to each other. The Regional Arts Network has been established to facilitate regional communities connecting with both their local geographic catchment area and across the State as a whole.
RAN’s eco system is a web of like-minded arts and cultural organisations committed to connecting communities state-wide. Each Hub organisation acts as a resource to increase local decision making by strengthening relationships with local governments and stakeholders, whilst seeking development opportunities for artists and arts workers within their communities. Hubs then feed local knowledge into the state-wide Network to build a collaborative structure to deliver projects, advocacy, and strategies across the State.
Target Group – representation across the whole state of Western Australia
- Made up of 9 member arts and community organisations - across the state in Broome, Port Hedland, Carnarvon, Carnamah, Moora, Northcliffe, Denmark, Margret River, as well as Regional Arts WA.
- The nine Network Hub organisations connect communities and increase their sense of belonging to both their community and the wider state by covering 50% of WA’s regional population
- The lives of regional communities are enriched through the development and nurturing of over 160 regional leaders through the Creative Leadership Program
- The Network fosters mental, social and economic wellbeing successfully advocating to 11 local governments who have committed to developing strategic arts and cultural plans for their communities.
Why we need a National Cultural Plan?
The development of a National Cultural Plan would enable regional communities and their artists to take a long-term, more considered approach to their activities and the achievement of these outcomes - work which will also gain traction from aligned plans at a State and Local level.
Case Study: TURA New Music — Sound FX Fitzroy Valley New Music Project
Sound FX commenced in 2017 by Tura New Music and is led by award-winning community music facilitator, researcher and educator Dr Gillian Howell, Dean’s Research Fellow, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, The University of Melbourne, and Co-Chair, International Society for Music Education’s Community Music Activity Commission.
Sound FX explores music, story, cultural knowledge, and language through long term collaborations with education and community partners in the Fitzroy Valley. The project aims to strengthen and diversify the ways that music-making can support community goals around language knowledge, wellbeing, and healing. The co-creation of new music is at the core of our approach. Tura’s creative collaborations support the revitalisation of local Aboriginal languages whilst developing new cultural works for performance, education, and wider distribution, and create new opportunities for community members to develop their musicianship and make music together in diverse ways. We look to support and enhance locally grown creative projects through the annual visits of Tura and its artists.
Over the next 3 years Tura will embed Sound FX in the community to support the on-the-ground community program to be sustainable.
Target Group (70-80% indigenous):
- 2017–2019: Total 2891 (includes schools/workshops/public concerts)Growing from 480 in 2017 to 1050 in 2019.
- 2020–2021: Due to Covid restrictions numbers were impacted.Total – 670 (370-2020, 300-2021)
- 2022: Total participants and event attendees across two residencies 900. Broadcast of Flow album and allied language commentary 5,000.
Sound FX builds on the success of its earlier iteration, the Fitzroy Valley New Music Project, which resulted in:
- Six residencies between 2017 and 2020, plus locally led residencies in 2021 with sound artist Sam Newman, and dancer Tara Gower during lock outs.
- The creation and recording of 14 new songs, sung and recorded by young people from Fitzroy Valley District High School/ Bayulu RCS. featuring Bunuba, Walmajarri, Gooniyandi, Kriol and English collaboratively between Indigenous community members and Tura artist Gillian Howell.
- One of the songs, "Flow", was performed by Tura Musicians during the Sonus Tour (2019). It is the ‘school bell’ music that marks the start of school days at FVDHS. [video to be shown)
- Enhancing the existing partnerships with Fitzroy Valley District HS, Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre and its subsidiary Baya Gawiy Children and Family Centre and Bayulu Remote Community School through providing opportunities for community members to participate in a series of residencies by the visiting Tura artists utilising arts practices including music composition, songwriting, sound art, dance, instrument making, and visual art.
- Exploring new and innovative ways to tell traditional and contemporary stories that are relevant to Aboriginal children and reflect their world back to them in compelling, surprising, delightful, and thought-provoking ways.
- Direct language themes and learning tasks led by language teachers and early childhood educators.
Why we need a National Cultural Plan?
Based on the success of the Fitzroy Crossing New Music Project, Tura aims to initiate partnerships with remote and rural communities across Australia, building on well established relationships in those communities. The success and social impact of the project is well documented in the Tura Tracks research.
A national cultural plan would reduce the silo effect of funding projects based on their geographical location rather than the efficiencies of a national approach. Implementing Sound FX, a proven and unique program, in remote communities throughout the country, with economies of scale to take the program where it will have the most impact on those communities.