Executive summary

Introductory context

Minister for the Arts, Joy Burch MLA, released the ACT Arts Policy Framework on 19 July 2012.

As part of the ACT Government’s ongoing commitment to community participation and engagement, the ACT Arts Policy Framework was reviewed in 2015 to ensure that it continues to be a relevant and engaged policy. 

The first step in the process was the appointment of an independent Reference Group on 16 January 2015. The role of the Reference Group was to guide the consultation process.

The second step involved consultation with local arts organisations, artists and the public. The consultation involved a range of methodologies in order to garner a wide range of views, including a community forum attended by over 65 people, sector workshops attended by a total of 62 people, a closed Facebook group comprising 63 young and emerging artists, an online survey completed by 116 people and 26 written submissions. Overall, artsACT estimates that over 300 individuals and representative organisations were engaged in the consultation process. 

This report contains the overall findings from this consultation process. 

The purpose of this report is to:

  • provide the Minister, Reference Group and artsACT policy team with sector feedback to revise the current ACT Arts Policy Framework. Additional research has also been done by the artsACT policy team;
  • provide an overview of the consultation process; 
  • demonstrate to people engaged in the consultation process that we have heard their views; and
  • summarise the key themes and findings from the consultation.

artsACT values all of the feedback that was received during the consultation process. However, not all of the feedback will be able to be incorporated into the revised arts policy. 

Summary of key themes from the consultation

Where possible, artsACT has tried to keep most of the data in its original format (e.g. direct quotes, written contributions at the community forum breakout sessions) in order to retain the original intent of the feedback. Please note that this does not include a summary of the written submissions. Requests to access written submissions will be considered on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the author(s). 

This is a high-level summary of key themes that emerged:

  • The vision in the ACT Arts Policy Framework needs to be more aspirational.
  • The principles are mainly supported, but the policy also needs to state more clearly how the principles will be implemented and measured.
  • There needs to be more recognition and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture throughout the document.
  • The ACT should be aiming to exceed accessibility requirements for its arts facilities and venues.
  • Agencies across the ACT Government need to embed the arts in their policies and use the arts to assist with the achievement of other outcomes (e.g. health, education, tourism).
  • More focus needs to be put on developing career pathways for emerging, mid-career and professional artists. 
  • The ACT Government needs a long term facilities strategy to guide future investment. The focus needs to be on maintaining the facilities we already have. 
  • artsACT needs to improve its communication with the arts sector and increase its research and data capability. 
  • Arts education is important and valued.
  • There needs to be more mention of diversity in the policy.
  • There needs to be a long term festivals strategy. ACT Government run festivals should employ more local artists and arts workers.
  • Government funding support needs to align with policy principles.
  • More needs to be done to market and promote the arts sector in Canberra, possibly through an arts component of Brand Canberra and/or an online portal. 
  • There is the need for more collaboration between the local arts sector and National Cultural Institutions.
  • There is an increasing need to increase revenue sources for the arts, including through new partnerships, greater involvement of business through sponsorship and in-kind support, as well as by encouraging philanthropy.
  • There is a strong need for more professional development opportunities and support for artists and, in particular, arts workers/administrators.
  • Regulation in regards to live events is a major issue. The creation of Access Canberra was seen as a positive step by the ACT Government to eliminate ‘red-tape’. 
  • Canberra is seen as an important regional arts hub and there was strong support for the ACT Government to continue to support regional artists.
  • There needs to be a stronger focus on research and data collection. This information needs to be communicated back to the arts sector to assist them with advocacy. 
  • Local tertiary institutions could play in bigger role in providing training and professional development to the local arts sector.