Research projects

Art Smarts February 2012

Welcome to the February issue of Art Smarts

Australia is well served with statistical information about the arts and culture, and we are working hard to turn it into easily digestible facts in a new project, Art Facts... Read more

We also profile new research and resources for funding and policy, management and marketing and research and evaluation. I hope you find this useful.

Nick Herd

Research and Strategic Analysis

Top reading

Arts and culture in Australia - A statistical overview
Data and analysis from the Australian Bureau of Statistics - December 2011
The ABS has released is 2011 issue of Arts and Culture Compendium. It includes updated data about Australian attendance and spending on arts and culture, plus new figures from Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), Tourism Research Australia and the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC).

Skip to more top reading:

Funding and policy making - Management and marketing - Research and academia

Funding and policy making

Latest commentary on the National Cultural Policy
Articles from The Australian - January 2012
In an interview with Matthew Westwood, Simon Crean emphasised his belief in the arts' role in innovation, and his plans to harness the arts to industry, education and delivery platforms such as the National Broadband Network (NBN). The Australian's National Cultural Policy section and artsHub profile opinion and commentary on the NCP for those interested to read more.

Victorian Government review of organisations funding program
Media release from Victorian Premier and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu - December 2011
The Victorian Government has announced a review of the funding that supports 56 arts organisations with triennial funding arrangements. Premier Ted Baillieu, who is also Minister for the Arts, flagged the review would address the constraints on access to recurrent funding by new companies. The Sydney Morning Herald and  The Age report some responses from Victorian arts leaders.


 Debate over the state of Australian literature and call to revive 'Aussie classics'
Opinion pieces from Michael Heyward and others - January 2012
In the lead up to Australia Day Text publisher Michael Heyward has authored an opinion piece in the Age criticising Australian universities over a lack of consistent teaching of Australian literature.  He also argued that an anglo-centric publishing industry has allowed several significant Australian texts to go out of print. Crikey suggests we lack an 'established list of classic or canonical Australian titles', and a commentator in The Age has linked the state of Australian literature with Australian culture's 'tendency to anti-intellectualism'.

Calls for priority connections to the NBN
Opinion from Jack Goodman via Australian Policy Online - January 2012
The author argues that public libraries should be connected to the NBN as a priority, if the Australian Government wants to demonstrate the benefits of the NBN. His article cites the important role libraries play in communities, and their ability to provide free internet access to half the Australian population and 130 million visitors each year. 

News from The Australian - January 2012
The National Congress of Australia's First Peoples has demanded the NBN be rolled out to remote communities as a priority, due to numerous benefits for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders such as strengthening connections to community traditions and maintaining language. It is also argued that the NBN would improve community cohension and open new markets for arts and performance.

European Union proposes world's largest ever cultural funding programme
News from The Art Newspaper - January 2012
As the economic crisis deepens across Europe, the European Commission plans to launch the world's largest ever cultural funding programme, 'Creative Europe', with €1.8bn allocated for visual and performing arts, film, music, literature and architecture between 2014 and 2020. If the scheme is approved in late 2012, an estimated 300,000 artists are to receive funding. Commentators have questioned whether the programme will be able to deliver the social and economic benefits intended.

Inside the new UK Arts Index
Analysis and commentary from the Guardian - January 2012
The Guardian is publishing a five-part series analysing the National Campaign for the Arts' new Arts Index (now available for free download from the NCA website). Part one: public funding reveals consistent levels of investment from the treasury, lottery and local government between 2007/08 and 2009/10 - up to the 'eve of public purse tightening'.  Part two: private funding, reveals falls in private contributions to the arts and particular concern over uniform drops in individual giving. 

Management and marketing

Music festival promoters face challenging times
Commentary from several major news outlets - January 2012
Despite record crowds in some areas, a significant number of Australian music festivals closed down in 2011 - reportedly due to financial difficulties.  Comments from festival spokespeople reported in The Age suggest there is an over-supply of festivals and flagging demand.  The Sydney Morning Herald suggests festival ticket prices have risen faster than wages over the past 10 years, however the extent of the rise is not clear from industry pricing data reported by Live Performance Australia.  Moshtix's 2011 'State of Festival Market' research suggests that the line-up of acts, size and quality of experience are also key factors at play, with many survey respondents preferring intimate pub gigs to festivals.

Art and commerce: productive collaborators or strange bedfellows?
Two opinion articles from the Guardian - January 2012
A recent blog from the culture section of the Guardian highlights opportunities for new media collaborations between artists and businesses. In 'Art and commerce: how new media storytelling is bridging the gap','s Constantin Bjerke explains that 'brands want to engage consumers in the same way artists engage audiences', and highlights some successful recent collaborations. 

Robert Newman presents a more wary view of the impact of corporate sponsorship on cultural institutions.  His article 'Why are Britain's great art houses in bed with Big Oil?' comes after three leading British museums and galleries announced they have renewed sponsorship deals with BP worth £10m despite opposition from environmental campaigners.  He thinks sponsorship arrangements may inhibit freedom of artistic expression and the ability for cultural institutions to play their due role in public debate.

International report on digital music 2012
Research and statistics from IFPI - January 2012
IFPI's Digital Music Report 2012 was published in January, providing a comprehensive overview and analysis of the global digital music business at the start of 2012. IFPI report that digital music revenues are up 8% to US$5.2 billion, online music services have spread to 58 countries and some progress is made with anti-piracy efforts.

More ideas for marketing and social media engagement by arts organisations
Tips and tricks from artsHub, the Guardian and the Australia Council - January 2012
The Guardian features several useful blogs this month for arts marketing and management. Katy Cowan has 10 tips on 'How to put together a marketing plan', and a social media checklist is just one tool in a comprehensive Business Survival Toolkit published by Creative and Cultural Skills last April, and profiled in Catherine Large's article 'Survive and thrive: how to plan your way to a brighter future'. 

If in doubt, we'd suggest going back to the facts. The 2011 Connecting:// arts audiences online research and blog of tips and tricks was based on a survey of over 2,500 Australian arts-goers. 

Insight from fundraising activity in the UK arts, heritage, museum, library and sport sectors
Qualitative research from the Culture and Sport Evidence (CASE) programme - September 2011
This case study research revealed a changing environment for fundraising over recent years. The researchers identify organisational characteristics that favour fundraising, such as the role of leadership and trustees. They also suggest measures to facilitate future fundraising efforts, including practical measures, and measures to support culture change around charitable giving in the arts and culture sectors.
Artistic triumphs and economic challenges in symphony orchestras
Book from Stanford Emeritus Professor Robert J. Flanagan‘s from Yale University Press
'The Perilous Life of Symphony Orchestras, Artistic Triumphs and Economic Challenges' will be of interest to anyone working in, volunteering for, or listening to orchestras. The volume contains interesting data, and its bibliography will be helpful to readers who want to delve into the subject of the economics of symphony orchestras and their prospects for financial health and artistic vitality.

Research and evaluation

Measuring cultural value - the debate continues
New blog from DCMS - January 2012
The UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport has launched into a second phase of their research into measuring the value of culture, after the phase one report from Dr Dave O'Brien recommended economic valuation techniques be used by the cultural sector when articulating its value to central government.  They have launched an interactive blog to stimulate discussion across the cultural sector on the very idea of measuring cultural value. Blogger Dr Claire Donovan is calling for views on different measurement approaches.

Upcoming event from the Australia Council, QUT and the City of Sydney - March 2012
Next month we will bring these discussions closer to home, when QUT hosts Hasan Bakhshi of NESTA here in Australia. Hasan will join a panel of experts on 20 March to discuss capturing cultural value at free evening event in Sydney. You can register your interest now to receive more information. 

Revising estimates of the size of Britain's creative industries
Blog post from Hasan Bakhshi and Alan Freeman of NESTA - January 2012
After the DCMS revised its earlier estimates of the size of Britain's creative industries, NESTA respond to some of the negative reactions from the sector. Hasan Bakhshi and Alan Freeman point out the lack of 'agreement on a single definition of the creative industries' a 'need to get real, correcting a woeful lack of attention to decent creative statistics'. They call for 'genuine resources to be allocated to evidence provision for what remains a decisive industrial sector for Britain's future.'

Public art and the challenge of evaluation
Article from Katherine Gressel and Createquity - January 2012
This comprehensive post from Createquity explains the key challenges associated with reliable quantitative analysis of the impact of public art. Author Katherine Gressel argues that new technologies and effective partnerships are facilitating better evaluation through assessment of factors such as audience engagement, benefits to participants, and community stewardship of completed public art works. The post draws upon Ixia's 'Public Art: Guide to Evaluation', which offers a useful roadmap for approaching the evaluation of any type of public art project.

Arts and the creative industries: one year on
Interview with Professor Justin O'Connor via Arts Interview
Justin O'Connor provides some follow-up commentary to his report Arts and Creative Industries, published by the Australia Council in January 2011. He believes the role of the arts in Australia deserves a bigger discussion and calls for arts institutions to 'think about engaging with the non-publicly funded sectors about infrastructure funding, about engaging with more complex fields, things like small bar policy or how best to regulate or encourage private capital investment into the sector, how best to engage with urban planners and community policy makers.'

Video gaming industry the fastest-growing form of mass media in coming years
Commentary from The Economist's Special Report on Video Games - December 2011
According to PwC the $56 million global video-game market is more than twice the size of the recorded-music industry, and about three-fifths the size of the film industry. With rapid growth also predicted, The Economist releases a Special Report which charts the rise of the industry and outlines some of the key trends that demonstrate the growing importance of the sector - including the monetisation of virtual goods. 

Launch of the new ENCATC Journal of Cultural Management and Policy
Journal and journal articles from European Network of Cultural Administration Training Centers - October 2011
ENCTAC have launched a new annual publication with articles on cultural research to stimulate the debate on the topics of cultural management and cultural policy among scholars, educators, policy makers and cultural managers. The Journal is based on a multidisciplinary perspective and aims at connecting theory and practice in the realm of the cultural sector.  Two articles from the first edition include a review of local art museum communications and suitability for reaching new audiences, and an analysis of strategies for improving governance and management models in the cultural sector.

Why arts events and academia make a winning partnership
Commentary from the Guardian - January 2012
The author shares an experience of a recent collaboration and argues that by working in partnership with cultural event professionals, academics can host events that amount to more than the sum of their parts: 'By sharing the load, attracting big names and using our respective skills, cultural events and value of the intellect can once again take centre stage.'

From the Director of Research

Welcome to this month’s issue of Art Smarts.   

As reported in this issue the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the 2011 issue of Arts and Culture Compendium. There is a lot of useful information, and studying it allows one to get a picture of what Australians are doing in Arts and Culture. For example, it points you to the statistic that 403,900 Australians aged 18 and over volunteered for an arts/heritage organisation in 2010. And that 4.5 million adult Australians attended art galleries in 2009/10.

Australia is well served with statistical information about the arts and culture, particularly that available from the ABS. We are working on a new project called, simply, Arts Facts, to distill the plethora of reports and tables into easily digestible statistics about the arts in Australia. This will organize the available data by art form, combining analysis and interpretation of the key statistics, with accessible presentation in a variety of formats, including online. The objective is that this will better inform capacity building and strategic planning.

In the middle of this year the ABS will also be publishing the data from the 2011 Population Census. This will most likely update the useful ABS site on Census data. When this information becomes available our intention is to explore how the new data can update our picture of the arts in Australia.

Nick Herd
Research and Strategic Analysis

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