Beyond benchmarks: what matters in Australian culture

Why have we turned culture's value into something to be scaled, measured and benchmarked?

Tracks Dance Company’s 2018 production In Your Blood brought joy to audiences and participants alike, but how do funding bodies measure joy? Photo credit: Duane Preston.

This is an edited extract from the new book What Matters? Talking Value in Australian Culture. It is a longer read, at just under 2500 words.

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Julian Meyrick, Robert Phiddian & Tully Barnett
About the Author
Dr Julian Meyrick is Strategic Professor Creative Arts at Flinders University. The son of an English father and Australian mother, Julian studied politics and economics at Exeter University. He took an MA in theatre directing in the US and was later Associate Director and Literary Adviser at Melbourne Theatre Company. He has a PhD in the history of Australian theatre and was a Research Fellow at La Trobe University. He is a co-editor of Australasian Drama Studies, a member of the Currency House Editorial Board and Artistic Counsel for the State Theatre Company of South Australia. He is a regular media commentator on matters of Australian theatre and Australian cultural policy. Robert Phiddian teaches in Renaissance and Eighteenth Century literature and has a special interest in political satire, parody, and humour. He researches political satire, especially current Australian political cartoons with Haydon Manning. He was Chair of the Adelaide Festival of Ideas, and has particular interests both in the quality of public language and in writers' festivals. Tully Barnett is a Research Fellow in the School of Humanities and Creative Arts at Flinders University where she works on a cultural value ARC Linkage project Laboratory Adelaide: the Value of Culture and for the Australasian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres. She also conducts research around literary reading, book digitization projects and e-reading devices.