Seeing the big picture on cultural data 

28 April 2023

Independent arts and culture think tank A New Approach (ANA) is bringing The Big Picture series to life with the launch of a new online platform, which enables users to explore 14 years of Australian government cultural funding data.

The interactive platform, developed in partnership with GLIDER, a leader in strategic innovation and transformation design, provides users with a dynamic experience, allowing them to engage with the richness of the data, accessibly use and compare information and track trends over time.

The Big Picture series analyses cultural expenditure by Australia’s federal, state and territory, and local governments, drawing on data from the Culture Funding by Government (CFG) Survey. The survey covers the breadth of cultural funding including heritage, museums, screen, radio, festival, literature, performing and visual arts. 

ANA CEO Kate Fielding said the Australian public, policy makers, industry leaders, business, philanthropists and creators all have a stake in how public investment in arts and culture can benefit our communities.

“We hope this interactive platform will make it easier to understand where government cultural funding is coming from and where it is being spent,” she said. 

“This helps us as a nation make transparent, targeted and co-ordinated decisions on how we invest finite funding at all three levels of government and ensure all Australians can access the benefits of cultural participation.”

Lekki Maze, Founder & Director of GLIDER, said: “The Big Picture interactive platform elevates compelling data and insights to tell an important story about why culture matters and is essential to a thriving society. It spotlights how we are tracking as a nation, and enables informed and meaningful conversation about arts and culture in our country. There is so much possibility and we look forward to seeing how this platform supports the fullest expression of arts and culture in Australia.”

The recently released The Big Picture 3: Expenditure on Artistic, Cultural and Creative activity by governments in Australia in 2007–08 to 2020–21, the third in ANA’s series, showed that in 2021-21 an estimated $7.2 billion was spent on arts, culture and creativity (excluding COVID-19 support funding) across up to 100 federal, state and territory, and local government departments and agencies.

Ms Fielding noted Australia was lagging behind comparable economies on government cultural funding, ranking 23rd out of 31 OECD countries on a comparison of government expenditure on ‘recreation, culture and religion’.

“To keep pace with population growth and reach our potential as a cultural powerhouse we need to make the best use of government investment as well as growing other types of financial inflows such as household consumption, commercial investment and philanthropic support,” she said.

“All Australians, whoever they are and wherever they live, should have opportunities to access the benefits of cultural participation, and this requires a truly big picture approach,” she said.

Explore The Big Picture Interactive Report

For more information on how to use the platform, view our explanatory video.

Find out more about A New Approach or sign up for regular updates.

Media enquiries: Sandra O’Malley 0431 468 665 or

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.