Making an arts advocacy plan

With the next federal election likely for the first quarter of 2022, arts organisations are gearing up for big impact.
Person in leopard-print pants holds a sign saying Save the arts

This year I’ve worked with a range of artform, cultural and place-based organisations, informal sector groups and formal consortia, as well as peak bodies across Australia, to develop a diverse array of advocacy approaches.

Great advocacy, however, doesn’t need formal planning, and nor is it something we only switch on come election time. Great advocacy is an ongoing conversation that strengthens our communities by strengthening our voices.

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Esther Anatolitis is one of Australia’s most influential advocates for the arts. She is Deputy Chair of Contemporary Arts Precincts, the team behind Collingwood Yards, and Honorary Associate Professor at RMIT School of Art. Esther has led arts and media organisations across all artforms, and her consultancy Test Pattern focuses on creative practice, policy and precincts, as well as advocacy and public value. A hallmark of Esther’s arts leadership career has been her tenacious civic engagement, ensuring that artists’ voices and arts issues feature prominently on political agendas. This work has ranged from strategic development and private advice to public events, regional marginal seat forums, candidates’ debates, specialist workshops and Australia’s first advocacy training program for the arts. A prolific writer, Esther’s work regularly appears in literary journals, newspapers, and across the arts and design media. Her book Place, Practice, Politics is published by Spurbuch. Follow her on Twitter: @_esther.