Information is power: surveys help argue the case for arts sector support

Now is when we most need data from arts organisations in order to better lobby our governments and present a clear case for support.

Numbers are power. Numbers are heard. In a climate when so much information is circulating, arts organisations need to speak to government in the language they know – numbers.

Several organisations have recognised this need to collect data. Be sure to lend your voice and experience to the data banks to ensure our sector is correctly accounted for in this national crisis.


1.  I Lost My Gig Australia

I Lost My Gig Australia (ILMG) is an initiative of the Australian Festivals Association (AFA) and the Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN), established as a quick response data capture project to quantify the impact of COVID-19 on performers, musicians, production teams, crews, and venues.

As of 27 March, that impact was sitting at $316 million in lost and cancelled work opportunities. The website states: ‘It is vital we get accurate figures of the loss to the Creative Industries so that we can advocate collectively … Just to be clear,  we are not managing the collection of any donations or funds, we’re merely trying to ensure people are connected.’

2.  Ausdance

Ausdance, the peak body for dance, is collecting data specific to dance professionals, individuals, organisations and companies in order to advocate at Federal, State and local levels and ensure the relevant information is on the table during funding, rescue and stimulus discussions. 

This survey provides an understanding of the immediate and medium-term needs of dance professionals. Live updates are available to any industry bodies at any time and specific information can be requested. Ausdance notes: ‘Obviously, the more respondents, the more accurate the data.’

3. NAVA  

The National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) is also conducting a survey to better understand the effects COVID-19 is having on the visual arts sector. It will be used as an advocacy tool to leverage increased support from governments. We encourage you to participate in the survey here.

4. Diversity Arts Australia

Diversity Arts Australia is working closely with the sector to advocate for culturally diverse artists in the wake of cancellations and postponements to arts projects. They need data to understand the impact on our artists and cultural producers to make a stronger case for assistance. Take their two-minute survey to help them advocate.

5. MusicNT COVID-19 NT Industry Survey

MusicNT is undertaking an industry survey to gauge the impacts of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the Northern Territory’s live music sector. Preliminary results clearly show an immediate economic impact being felt across the Territory. The sector, worth over $74 million to the NT economy, needs support now. Please provide your input to help them get a more accurate gauge on the impact of the pandemic across the NT’s music industry.

6. Message from The Australia Council for the Arts

Council is aware that a number of surveys are underway in Australia and around the world to gather data on the impacts of COVID-19 on the arts and cultural sector. They are working with the Australian survey organisers to draw results together in a national sector-wide summary. To help consolidate data, if you are currently running a survey or considering it, please get in touch at The Australia Council will also convene a working group to facilitate future data collection of longer term effects in the coming weeks.

If you are conducing a COVID-19 survey, let us at at so we can update this list in order to ensure the most accurate data for our sector moving forward.

Visual Arts Writer
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