Australia Council calls for your input on COVID’s impact

A new discussion paper released by the Australia Council calls on members of the cultural industries to come together to discuss the future of the arts in the wake of COVID.

With the release of the discussion paper Re-Imagine: What Next? the Australia Council looks at the impact of COVID-19 on the arts sector and ask: where to from here?

The paper aims to start conversation and seeks input from artists and arts organisations across Australia. To achieve this, throughout September and October 2020 the Australia Council will hold a series of online town hall discussions to spark debate.

A range of focus groups will also be convened. 

Discussions will focus on the following questions:

  • What do we want the arts and cultural industries to look like in 2030? 
  • How do we get there?

Robust discussion leading to a future plan

In opening up dialogue to address how the industry can move forward after COVID, the discussion paper outlines a number of talking points, based on the initial two questions to encourage debate and discussion.

These are:

  • How will the arts and cultural industries be inclusive of all Australians?
  • How will the arts and cultural industries play a significant role in the nation’s recovery?
  • How will the arts and cultural industries weather future disruptions?

Opportunities for the Australian arts and cultural industries

Opening the discussion up across the sector, the paper, town hall meetings and other consultations offer an opportunity to talk about what the pandemic has taught the industry about strengths, challenges and opportunities. It draws from a wide range of voices across the industry to highlight learnings and asks us to question how the Australian arts industry can continue to be diverse and accessible.

Caroline Bowditch, CEO Arts Access Victoria, explains the need for the industry to continue being accessible even as the economy continues to open up again.

‘For many Deaf and Disabled people, the world has never been accessible. Whilst this may be uncomfortable for some in the non-disabled community, this current world is one where we do not need to wade through ableism to attend a workshop, a meeting, a rehearsal. No microaggressions, inappropriate questioning or judgement or judgement on public transport, no having to experience our access needs not being met, ignored or forgotten,’ Bowditch said.

The report also ask how the industry will place First Nations arts and culture at its heart.

Veronica Pardo, CEO, Multicultural Arts Victoria, said: ‘With a focus on cultural equity, we could have a roadmap for decolonising the arts, led by First Nations people, as well as a compass for understanding who we are as immigrants on Indigenous land.’

Next Steps

The series of town hall discussions will be hosted online in the coming weeks, with information about how to register available on the Australia Council website.

  • Public town hall 1: Wednesday 30 September 
  • Public town hall 2: Friday 2 October 

You can also make a submission online via the survey.

In addition to the town hall sessions, the Australia Council encourages people to share their thought and ideas about the future of the arts and cultural industries with them. Findings will be shared once the consultations are completed.

Visit the Re-Imagine: What Next? website to register for town halls or read the discussion paper.

Staff writer
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