The German government spends over €160 million a year on arts advocacy and cultural diplomacy through its network of Goethe-Instituts. The Chinese government has recently moved to set up over 120 university-based Confucius Institutes in over 50 countries. Australia’s expenditure on international cultural exchange reflects a distinctly lower priority. The Australia Council was able to allocate around $7.4 million on international activities in 2005–6. The Australia International Cultural Council, established to address Australia’s regional image in the wake of Hansonism, exists on a paltry $1 million. Other international projects are scattered among different departments at different levels of government with little sense of coordination or collaboration.
‘Australian Arts: Where the Bloody Hell Are You?’ was a one-day symposium in December 2006 organised by the Research Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney to consider Australia’s international arts profile. ‘An unfenced zoo’ according to one commentator; to another, a unique space for a distinctly Australian vision. Bringing together artists, academics and arts administrators from diverse artistic disciplines and backgrounds, the forum considered Australia’s current international arts profile, available resources, success stories and the need for an advocacy council.
The forum examined cultural advocacy not as a one-way process but as a means of facilitating cultural flows that benefit both artists and society. It highlighted the substantial benefits of international cultural exchange and concluded that strengthening existing programs rather than a large bureaucracy would best serve Australia’s current circumstances. Doubling or trebling Australia’s current expenditure would enable the public to enjoy more fully the fruits of those who are currently Australia’s biggest arts subsidisers, the artists themselves.
Ian Maxwell is an associate professor of performance studies at the University of Sydney.
John Clark is professor emeritus of art history at the University of Sydney.
Peter McCallum is an associate professor in musicology at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the University of Sydney.
Introductory essay: advocating Australian arts
Session 1: Australia’s international profile
2. Panel discussion
Ian Maxwell, Daryl Buckley, Marguerite Pepper and Bernice Murphy
Sessions 2 and 3: international opportunities and success stories
3. Introduction: success in operation, but whither policy?
4. Asialink and overseas cultural policy
5. Musica viva and the international scene
Mary Jo Capps
6. Overseas activities of Australian dance
Tess de Quincey
8. The Biennale of Sydney 1973–2006
9. Supporting international activity: the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council
10. Feature: Australia at the Venice Biennale
11. Writing to the world: successful international exchange collaborations
Session 4: does Australia need an advocacy council?
12. Introduction: enhancing support for Australia’s international arts profile
13. The Goethe-Institut: a model for Australia?
15. International advocacy for Australian arts and culture
16. The Australia Council and international advocacy
Notes on contributors
Size: 210 × 148 × 9 mm
1 b&w table, 2 colour illustrations, 6 colour tables, and 7 b&w illustrations
Copyright: © 2007
Publication: 02 Apr 2007