Editorial – RT44

The Arts? You mean Creative Industries.

While I was in Brisbane recently to cover the Queensland Biennial Festival of Music, several artists expressed alarm that QUT (Queensland University of Technology) had replaced the word Arts with Creative Industries. In RT40 (December 2000) Sophie Hansen commented about new funding priorities in the UK: “Cannily [The Arts Council] has hitched its wagon to the only buzzword likely to link the arts world to the concerns of the bright young reformers of the social and education sectors: creativity.” In “Music education: an industrial evolution”, part of our annual education and the arts feature, Richard Vella writes, “In an environment in which industry relevance has become the benchmark, it is now important that [university] staff actively engage with many industry stakeholders.” The Saatchi & Saatchi Australians & the Arts report found that more people were comfortable with the arts if the term was considerably expanded to include popular music and fashion. Outgoing Chair of the Australia Council, Margaret Seares, writes about the Grease Community Outreach Program (see Zane Trow’s letter), and more from Seares on the program), “It is about getting the disinclined group off the couch and out the door, heading in the direction of positive views about the activities we group loosely as ‘the arts’” (my italics). On the IT pages of the Sydney Morning Herald (July 17), Paul Quiddington wrote that the appointment of a telecommunications executive, Dr Terry Cutler, as Chair of the Australia Council “sent out a small shockwave, especially when he let it be known that high on his agenda would be to make the arts a business.” If this is the future, what will we call artists? There’ll be more about the creative industries push in forthcoming editions.

RealTime issue #44 Aug-Sept 2001 pg. 3

© Keith Gallasch; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 August 2001