Australia Council Submission - Creative Australia

11 April 2008

Towards a creative Australia: the future of arts, film and design

(a) Future directions for Australia’s principal arts bodies

(e) How we build on the creative sector’s potential as a major Australian export industry

Australia has made a substantial investment in its principal arts bodies over decades. By 2020, a number of these will be approaching the centenary of their foundation. What can we do between now and 2020 to ensure that in that year they will be dynamic, vibrant and relevant organisations nationally and internationally? Future contributions by arts bodies to Australian society can be assured through:

Education

International research demonstrates that when children engage in the arts as part of their education, their skills increase in other areas. Embedding the arts in our education curricula will allow young Australians to realise their full potential, and provide the “big ideas” thinkers of tomorrow, on whose creativity and skill the nation will rely for its stability and prosperity. Providing arts training to all primary and secondary school teachers will facilitate this growth.

The explosion of digital technologies has created opportunities for Australians to access the arts and for industries to employ artists. If these resources can be harnessed effectively, no 18-year-old Australian will leave school without being exposed to the full range of the nation’s, indeed the world’s, creative arts. This is a challenge for governments and art creators that must be considered urgently through collaboration between the arts and media organisations.

But the education agenda is wider than this. Through effective audience development and community engagement programs, we can encourage more Australians to embrace the arts as an intrinsic part of their physical and emotional vocabulary, competency and democratic inheritance.

The arts as a key participant and contributor to the wider economy

Our nation needs an ongoing resource of big, new ideas – ideas that will take Australia and Australians to the forefront and help build our economy though solid thinking and reflection, effective problem solving and the creation of new opportunities. The finest of our arts practitioners can take a vital role in this, applying their finely tuned creative processes to new challenges. And thereby helping the nation approach the future with new levels of confidence and innovation. This is true in media, digital content development and a wide variety of creative industries.

International

The arts help tell the world about us and are a wonderful tool in cultural diplomacy, particularly in the Asian region. The arts will become increasingly vital in assisting Australian governments and industry to achieve their aims in new markets such as the People’s Republic of China and India, where the arts are already respected as an intrinsic part of the culture.

The arts in the regions

The arts bind regional and rural communities together, and slow the exodus of young people from the regions to capital cities. We must foster a wider participation and appreciation of the value of the arts in regional networks and organisations, so that appropriate infrastructure can be provided to communities in every centre and the arts can be integrated effectively into everyday life. 

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