Our Future in Their Hands – with thanks to Feral Arts for the live stream and Australian Theatre for Young People for the venue and all who attended!

The consensus last night was that WE (individually and as a united ecology of micro, small, medium, independent, major, key, regional, metropolitan, western, culturally and creatively diverse arts workers) will build on the movement of response to the national funding situation. Each participant at the forum also finished with what they personally and professionally will do next and there was plenty of inspiration there!

TNN has also tried to capture a few of the key themes and ideas that were articulated and so eloquently facilitated by Anne Dunn. You can use these and a host of other resources (which we’ve tried to list below) to generate: submissions to the inquiry, letters to MPs, campaigns, feedback to Ministry on NPEA guidelines, fighting fund donations and much more…

So, as Fiona Winning put it, if you’d like to ‘opt-in’ here is what we’re opting in for!

Feedback so far that you can use (in no particular order):

  • There is a serious word missing from these guidelines: ‘vibrancy’ – the role of art to innovate, refresh, drive.
  • The national funding structures now lack clarity – people need to be able to navigate where they go for particular funding particularly in the case of individual artists and literature which are clearly omitted from the NPEA funding. What will the Book Council fund? What will the Australia Council ultimately fund?
  • Each part of the arts ecology needs to be supported by our national funding structures in order for the arts to flourish.
  • Australia is a signatory to 2005 UNESCO National Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
  • Focus your attentions on MPs other than Senator Brandis – these attentions should (see following point)…
  • We need to better express the value and structure of the arts ecology to our friends, colleagues, family, audiences, community, and government.
  • The proposed NPEA fund needs to be transparent. On page 8 of the Draft Guidelines it indicates that the Minister may obtain ‘an exemption in accordance with the Commonwealth Grant Rules and Guidelines, paragraph 5.7. All monies and who/what they fund should be publicly available.
  • Deadlines – NPEA assessments ‘will be carried out on an ongoing basis, in order of receipt…’. It is difficult to see how assessments could be compared with one another and how long the monies could be appropriately allocated.

Join or get support/involved at:

  • Free The Arts – sign up and get in the know via Facebook FreetheArtsFacebook and don’t forget to tweet your comments with #freethearts You might like to follow the forum’s trend and post ‘#Freethearts I am going to….[fill in the blanks with something you’ll do to contribute towards this arts-led movement]’.
  • NPEA Artist Led Initiative – a great portal sharing online contributions on the topic. Those at last night’s forum were also offered a login (allows you to upload information) so please contact the administrators of this site if you’d like one.
  • In the bleak face of a nation with no National Cultural Policy (and given that such a document could change with each government), an Arts Charter has been drafted. The organisers are seeking input by 8th July. The charter and contact details are at Arts Charter
  • Donate to #Freethearts Fighting Fund It’s easy to donate! and links to MEAA the union for the arts
  • Ministry for the Arts Draft Guidelines on the National Program for Excellence in the Arts NPEA Draft Guidelines
  • NAVA’s Senate Inquiry Submission Toolkit NAVA Toolkit
  • Getting in touch with Theatre Network NSW (or your relevant sector’s peak agency) directly at director@tnn.org.au
  • Michael Cathcart interviews on Books and Arts Daily, Radio National Outgoing OzCo Board Member Speaks Out and Anne Dunn talks through the Sydney Arts Forum
  • Arts Hub and Crikey much more have a wealth of information, updates and opinion that you can share and use
  • IFACCA’s Report that compares arm’s-length & ministerially-directed funding models Major report on independence of government arts funding

Look forward to seeing what we can do together!


Leave a Reply