Local government: Francesca Valmorbida, Municipal Association VIC
Partnership Approach – equal investment should mean equal contribution to sector development and delivery, and Integrated Planning – 3 governments to work with the sector and allied industries including health, tourism and sport
Direct Funding – benefits of having councils responsible for local delivery especially around recovery and Strategic Investment – LGAs are a valuable part of the ecosystem (advocates, ambassadors and local specialists)
Collaboration – leverage comradery across most of the sector to develop long-term and impactful strategic plans, with Consistent Messaging – plain language tools illustrating value, benefits, jobs, future career prospects, education, etc
Francesca Valmorbida (Municipal Association VIC), noted that a lot of what she heard today is being reiterated around the country, and that the overarching message is that collaboration is key to a strategic approach to our future. While it is such a significant portion, it is evident that local government is not considered part of the art sector in consideration of planning, funding and staff. Francesca describes her recent work, noting that without the funding needed it has taken her 3 years longer than it should have. She has recently discovered that the Australia Council started assisting local councils with the funding of community arts officers from its inception in 1973. This framework established 50 years ago is still benefiting communities - what can we do to maximise this now?
State government: Sue Procter and Peter White, Create NSW
In 2019/20 Create NSW delivered a significant reform of the NSW Arts and Cultural Funding Program and introduced ten new Artform Boards, including a Visual Arts Board. Led by Simon Mordant, the Board consists of industry leaders with significant experience in regional galleries, leading visual arts organisations and Aboriginal visual arts practice. In addition to assessing applications through Create NSW’s competitive rounds, the Board advises the Minister on issues relating to visual arts practice in NSW.
Create NSW is developing a new Aboriginal Strategic Framework with a key focus on NSW Aboriginal Visual Arts development – A NSW Aboriginal Visual Arts Action plan will address the long term issues that have impacted the viability and growth of our sector within NSW. Key elements are broadscale ecology mapping of the sector and needs analysis in areas of NSW Aboriginal market development, presentations and promotion, and cultural viable and sustainable training and professional development pathways.
Create NSW is working closely with other departments of NSW Government in delivering significant investment in public art especially along the new Metro light rail. To support this investment, Create NSW is developing a best practice guide: The Public Art Toolkit, which is due to be released later in 2020.
Sue Procter (Create NSW), noted that what she is hearing today is the same perennial problem - there isn’t enough money to do everything we want to do. She discussed opportunities to leverage further funding from within government, but also from outside sources. Create NSW is doing a lot of work to try and make connections with other departments with money. In the creation of artform boards, they are trying to create a mechanism by which the arts are more valued. Sue noted that as funding remains unchanged it is difficult to move money around, to defund some organisations in favour of others. She also spoke of moving to the department of Premier and Cabinet, and that this is helping to perpetuate the argument that the artists are a basic human right, but that in a world of COVID-19 everything is off the table. Create NSW are currently working to reduce the burden of applications. In a final note, Sue spoke of private funding and how she is personally interested in investigating how they can support organisations to better capture the philanthropic dollar.
Peter White (Create NSW), spoke to a new Aboriginal strategic framework. He is asking the question: What does it mean when you put culture at the centre of everything? Aboriginal people have the right to maintain and develop and control their own cultural heritage, but we need effective measures. We as Create NSW are only part of the solution, the real knowledge is out in the sector - we need broad-scale ecology mapping. Peter discussed bringing greater visibility to the NSW art sector in particular. He further discussed how to create these changes, that this can be through co-design which can bring innovation in collaboration. Peter made a final note about First Peoples moving from resilience to prosperity and growth - taking our role and that's what leadership is.
Federal government: Caroline Fulton, Office for the Arts
Caroline Fulton (Office for the Arts), thanked everyone for their insights and remarked that the Office of the Arts team had taken everything on board. Caroline outlined current funding streams, the recently announced creative economy package from the federal government and additional support to IVAIS. She noted that operational support is very critical in terms of supporting the broader ecology of the sector. Subject to approval process, Caroline hopes that the guidelines to the federal arts package will be released within the next few weeks.
Jade Lillie and Andy Donovan, Australia Council
Andy Donovan (Australia Council), outlined the Australia Council’s response to COVID-19 and the recently announced programs that are a variation on what would normally be available. The Australia Council are looking at these all through the lens of COVID-19 and will be expecting people to refer to the pandemic in their applications - how will they manage the risk related to COVID-19 in terms of the presentation and creation of work? Andy emphasised that both the Australia Council and applicants will need to be agile moving forward.
Jade Lillie (Australia Council), noted a recent change resulting in the sector development team at the Australia Council. A lot of work has been in the sector recovery space over the last few months, including the Reignite framework that has been released to support organisations and artists in a COVID-safe planning context and how to prepare for reopening. The team is about to kick off a sector consultation phase which will include conversations around mobility and exchange, leadership, diversity, access and inclusion, investment models and what they look like in the future, capacity building, training, etc.