Some Public Advocacy Activities


Towards a rational policy for the equitable promotion of the creative arts: a talk given by Roger Dean at the Currency House Breakfast series, Sydney Opera House, 22 October 2008. Introduced by Wendy McCarthy. Streaming Audio available for listening and download at the Currency House Website..

Synopsis: Dean argues that given there is to be government funding for the creative arts (an essential), then it should be distributed in such a way as to promote both the creation and the presentation of art works equitably. He develops a detailed argument based on population distributions and numbers of active artists, concluding that approximately 68% of total Australian government subsidy for the creative arts should go to the presentation of works originated before 1950; 23% to presentation of post-1950 works (which would include c. 2.3% for the presentation of new Australian work); and 9% towards the creation (composition, writing etc) of new work. Presently the latter two components seem to be substantially underfunded. Funding should be based on a single competitive pool, with a uniform demand for quality of work, and in most cases also for innovation and Australian content. An essential feature of the funding distribution would be that the availability in different areas of activity should change with time, representing in part the degree to which they consume the attention of Australian creative artists. Thus for example, the development of a new creative field (such as computer music in the 1950s), inevitably creates a requirement for a change of distribution; and similarly, fields may cease to attract many creative workers, and hence their need for subsidy can be reduced (e.g. opera), while preserving funding towards the presentation of a repertoire of older works in the field.



Note also the 2008 Peggy Glanville Hicks lecture, promoted by the New Music Network: given on 1December 2008 by austraLYSIS member Sandy Evans, the eminent jazz musician. Sandy also argued for change in arts funding. She advocated funding for the formation of an 'orchestra' of new music creators, structured as fellowships for 100 creators around Australia, who would (as in the Australian Research Council or National Health and Medical Research Council fellowship schemes) receive funding for their basic salary, together with project support, which they would expend in developing work, by paying for the participation of other artists and for the ancillary costs of making and presenting such work. Sandy noted that the Sydney Symphony Orchestra comprises around 100 musicians, and used this as part of the basis for her argument that we need 100 creator-fellows within a new funding mechanism, again directed towards high quality and innovation, and the creation and development of Australian artistic identities. As she imagines it : "the Australian New Music Collective (ANMC) ... comprises 100 leading Australian musicians from the fields of jazz, improvisation, world music, sound art, electronica and contemporary classical music." Read the transcript.

Many austraLYSIS members are active in educational work, and they also contribute to institutional developments and governance. A continuing involvement with the Australian Music Centre has lead to Australian Research Council funding which has advanced the digital repository, an accessible archive presenting Australian acoustic and electro-acoustic work to the world; material is available for research, borrowing and purchase, as appropriate. Dean and Evans also fight for the appreciation, recognition and support of Australian improvised music in many other contexts: for example in presenting two radio programmes on BBC Radio 3 on Australian Jazz (2010), and discussing its future at the Jazz Groove Festival 2012.

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