Imagining 2030. Preparing for a National Arts, Culture and Creativity Plan

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Written by: A NEW APPROACH

Arts and culture are a key part of creating moments and places that bring people together: great places to live, work, visit and do business.

Our cultural and creative industries, institutions and individuals are important in terms of their contribution to the economic footprint and employment. They spur innovation across the economy, as well as contributing to numerous channels for positive social impact such as well-being and health, education, inclusion, urban regeneration and many others.

Talking to middle Australians, they told us that imagination, belonging and inspiration all grow out of engagement with arts, culture and creativity, and that these opportunities are fundamental to being Australian. They also told us that today, ‘arts and culture’ means everything from film, design, and interactive gaming, through to community festivals, visiting the war memorial, or singing along to the radio in your car. From the picnicker at the Symphony in the Park to the visual art teacher in a rural school; from our writers and international pop stars to the theatre technician doing the lights for a local dance school’s performance: Australians believe arts and cultural activities are an integral part of life. Our cultural and creative industries are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. While all Australian governments have provided support, a coordinated approach is required to assist with the cultural and creative industries.

A National Arts, Culture and Creativity Plan (NACC Plan) is a practical way for the Federal Government to facilitate more coherent and effective public and private investments across these industries, as well as legislative, regulatory and policy settings. A NACC Plan will assist with the cultural and creative industries’ recovery, while supporting employment and economic growth. This aligns to the priorities of the National Cabinet and the measures announced in the Commonwealth Budget.

The purpose of this Analysis paper is to help the various stakeholders of a NACC Plan prepare to be part of its development. The participation of all stakeholders — including consumer and investor groups, the three levels of government, businesses, philanthropists, industry representatives, peak bodies and the general public — into the development of a Plan will give it the greatest likelihood of buy-in and success.

This paper proposes a development process and inclusions for a NACC Plan, informed by existing national 2030 plans for agriculture, sport, innovation, tourism and defence technology. It outlines the common elements of these existing 2030 plans and shows how they could apply to a NACC Plan. These elements include:

  • A bold vision designed to engage the imagination of a wide range of a Plan’s stakeholders
  • An overview of the current context, showing why a Plan is necessary
  • A demonstration of what the future will look like with and without the successful implementation of a Plan
  • A framework showing how stakeholders of a Plan will work together
  • A series of themes or focal areas that should be addressed in order to achieve the Plan’s goals, and
  • A framework for how success will be measured.

We encourage people to begin considering these elements and to discuss these within their communities and with their stakeholders. It may be helpful to consider:

  • What does ‘relevance’ and ‘significance’ mean in different places and communities in the 21st century?
  • What do I think the purpose of public (government) funding is?
  • How should a Plan reflect the changing demographic makeup of Australia?
  • How should a Plan enable cultural and creative industries, institutions and individuals to be more productive in the future?

Our suite of Insight Reports, covering themes of funding trends, benefits, perceptions, policy drivers and economic impacts, may assist in exploring these questions.

This paper also provides a guide to the commonalities in the way existing 2030 plans were developed or are being developed. These phases include:

  • Background research
  • Consulting with stakeholders
  • An iterative writing-consulting-rewriting process
  • Implementation of the plan, and
  • Monitoring and evaluation.

The current Parliamentary Inquiry into Cultural and Creative Industries and Institutions has provided up-to-date industry intelligence to inform the next steps for a NACC Plan.

Following the Inquiries’ report, ANA recommends the Federal Government establish an independent process to draft a NACC Plan, drawing on both evidence presented to the Inquiry and the formidable body of current data and research that is publicly available.

An independent process of this type would involve appointing an Inquiry Chair, as well as a Secretariat with relevant expertise drawn from the relevant departments — including the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, as well as Treasury, and the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Industry, Science, Energy and Resources; Health; and Education — alongside a range of statutory authorities. Any process would need to involve wide consultation, not only with creators, but with all the stakeholders along the arts and cultural value chain.

Many of the industries, institutions and individuals that produce this diverse array of outputs are inherently entrepreneurial — this is not new. What is new, however, are the significant changes to business, investment, distribution, consumption and production models as well as the interdependencies between different activities. These have been precipitated by digital disruption as well as changing demographic interests. Thus, a NACC Plan should take an inclusive approach to defining arts, culture and creativity. This could be based either on ABS categorisations of Australian cultural and creative industries, or on a selection of these classified as “arts and culture” industries. This paper outlines these two options in detail.

A NACC Plan which integrates the perspectives of investors, producers, distributors and consumers, and reflects the demographics and values of contemporary Australia, will be a constructive step forward in generating social, economic, employment and cultural benefits, and will significantly embolden our national cultural life.

Artists, people, and government all believe that arts and culture can improve well-being directly by making audiences happier, more understanding, and more together…In a fractured world with declining trust in institutions, arts and culture can play a lead role in promoting a shared identity that helps communities to hold together.

John Daley in Performing Arts Advocacy in Australia (2021, pp. 25 & 29)


The full paper is at https://newapproach.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Imagining-2030-ANA-2021-01-3.pdf

May 2021

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