Emerging trends and enduring foundations the key to arts and culture building back better 

20 October 2021

A New Approach (ANA) has today released its second Analysis Paper, Twenty-first century priorities for Australian arts and culture policy, exploring what Australians expect from policy leaders ahead of the next Australian federal election.

The Analysis Paper provides a summary of emerging trends as well as foundational principles that must inform the ambitious and bold national policy settings that are needed for a truly 21st century approach to arts and culture. It also outlines the priorities for change to ensure all Australians have opportunities to participate in and benefit from a vibrant cultural life.

CEO of ANA, Kate Fielding, said the Analysis Paper follows research undertaken by ANA during the pandemic which highlighted that arts and culture are inseparable from everyday life and found that past approaches will not meet the needs of Australians in the future.

Australia is aa crossroads. We have a unique opportunity to shape the change being driven by COVID-19 and use strategic investment to transform and embolden our cultural landscape to serve our contemporary public,” said Ms Fielding.

“With COVID-19 preventing us from engaging with many live arts and cultural experiences over the last 18 months, Australians now have a much clearer picture of what a rich cultural life means and are eager for policy leaders to both understand and celebrate this.

Australians have told us that arts and culture helps them understand themselves and their changing world, to connect with their community and to improve their health and wellbeing. Yet Australia’s investment in arts and culture is consistently below average compared to our OECD peers. The OECD is challenging us to ‘build back better’ from Covid-19 and if we act now, we can lay the foundations of a cultural inheritance that will benefit future generations for decades to come.”

The Analysis Paper identifies six foundations that have endured in Australian arts and cultural policy settings over the 20th century, as well as eight emerging trends that will shape cultural policy renewal in Australia. The key priority for change outlined in the Analysis Paper is a renewed call for a National Arts, Culture and Creativity Plan.

“In many ways it is comforting to know that the foundations valued by Australians for arts and cultural practice and policy endure over a long time and retain their importance, however it is also essential that we continue to look to the future and our ever-changing demographics and be prepared to take advantage of our rapidly changing environment,” said Ms Fielding.

A National Plan would be a practical way for the Australian Government to facilitate more coherent and effective investments, as well as legislative, regulatory and policy settings, and boost cultural expenditure with a goal to exceed the OECD average within the next decade.”

New Approach acknowledges that it meets, works and travels on the lands of First Nations peoples. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and to all First Nations peoples.