INTERNATIONAL DANCE DAY - DAVID THROSBY AO WEBINAR SUMMARY

INTERNATIONAL DANCE DAY - DAVID THROSBY AO WEBINAR SUMMARY

Ausdance NSW would like to share some key advocacy points that emerged from a debreif following the David Throsby AO Webinar that were unanimously agreed on by those present. 

  1. We stand behind our First Nations elders working at this time to face the health crisis and the hardship it is causing in Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Indigenous communities across Australia. In particular, we second Blakdance’s observation that ‘We are constantly being reminded by our Elders that we have been through challenges before, and we carry that strength and knowledge within us. How can we continue honouring Country, our Elders, and ways of living, being and working, ways that have worked for thousands of years before our “industry”.’ 

  1. In the week of Carriagework’s closure, it is clear we are witnessing an emergency in the arts industry. Indeed, NSW state government sources aptly described Carriagework’s lapse into voluntary administration as the ‘canary in the coal mine’ in an article in Sydney Morning Herald on May 4. This is extremely concerning news for the Sydney, state and national live performance community, especially independent dance. With discussion ensuing about redirecting funds from the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum to save Carriageworks, we stand with Clover Moore who observes that the City of Sydney does not support the redirection of funds from one arts project to another. Rather, Ausdance NSW calls for an increase to arts funding from the NSW state government. 

  1. We firmly believe in the role of the Australia Council plays for the arts industry. However, Ausdance NSW is concerned about the erosion of their financial capacity. Therefore, we call for an increase in arts investment at a federal level via the Australia Council for the Arts. 

  1. We would like to put the following question from Ausdance QLD Chair Jordin Steele to Paul Fletcher (and his COVID-19 Arts Taskforce) regarding the notion that at the centre of the concentric circles model of the ‘creative industries’ in Australia lies the Arts: The Creative and Cultural activity satellite account clearly shows the economic value of cultural and creative activity in Australia. However, by combining ‘cultural producers’ in with ‘creative services’ under the umbrella term ‘creative industries’, we have skewed the economic data, severely disadvantaging cultural producers (including the dance sector). Using this type of data, policy makers increasingly focus on creative industries that offer visibly high economic return over creative industries whose economic return is linked to social or cultural capital. The current crisis and data collection that’s happening across the country (including Ausdance COVID-19 Impact Survey) can influence ABS and Cultural Ministers' Statistics Working Group to rethink their satellite accounts (including tourism) to more accurately reflect the realities of the arts and cultural sector, economic value, labour market and investment models. This data clearly makes the case that a relatively small investment in the arts industry will result in a ripple effect stimulating further spending in all the associated (satellite) industries such as hospitality and tourism. With this in mind, can the national COVID-19 Arts Taskforce estimate the total value of the ripple effect for the arts and cultural sector stemming from the arts industry specifically? Is the Taskforce able to present the value in these broader terms to the government?  

  1. Finally, Ausdance NSW in conversation with NSW dance organisations would like to promote reflection on the idea of an ongoing ‘Artskeeper’ scheme. We have seen from Jobkeeper and Jobseeker packages that wage subsidies are indeed possible. Seeing that employment for artists and arts workers is often temporary and fluctuates according to demand, how might such a scheme benefit and be justified by the arts industry, especially the dance sector? What might an artist-specific ongoing allowance look like in Australia? 

If you have any questions or comments about these sector meetings including the webinar with David Throsby or the advocacy points summarised above, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at admin@dance.net.au .