Forum No. 2: the guts of the discussion…and now it’s up to you to vote

On Wednesday 19 September 2012 at the Canberra Museum and Gallery Theatrette, the Childers Group held its second forum, organised for the lead-up to the ACT Legislative Assembly election (on 20 October).  The speakers were: Joy Burch, ACT Minister for the Arts; Vicki Dunne, ACT Opposition Spokesperson for the Arts; and Caroline Le Couteur, Greens Spokesperson for the Arts (positions as at September 2012).

Each speaker was asked to present their respective political party’s arts policy.  Approximately 70 members of the ACT-region arts community attended; representatives from the various art forms asked questions, and there were general questions from the floor.  Actor and professional communicator Andrea Close facilitated the two-hour discussion.

The arts policies as presented at the forum can be found by clicking on the following links:

Whilst the Childers Group does not necessarily endorse any elements of the policies presented at the forum, we note some common themes that emerged from the discussion, which we suggest are also opportunities:

  • importance of acknowledging the ACT’s high level of participation in the arts
  • there is a direct link between arts and creative expression and emotional wellbeing, and this should be further acknowledged
  • there is also a direct link between creative activity and economic development
  • further developing arts activity in schools – for all arts sectors – is vital to the creative health of the region’s young people
  • artist-in-residence programs provide a real opportunity for local, national, and international artists to work in the ACT
  • the Kingston Arts Precinct is a critical opportunity for the ACT region
  • good clear communication between arts sectors is crucial, as is communication between the arts community and the broader community of the ACT region
  • public liability insurance is a key challenge for arts events, particularly live music
  • also in terms of live music, providing appropriate venues continues to be an issue
  • important to retain the community cultural inclusion officers
  • demand from professional dance practitioners in Canberra  is growing for a purpose-built dance facility that will encourage independent dance practice and further develop the dance profession through provision of professional facilities
  • demand may also be growing for a purpose-built facility for Indigenous arts practice
  • in regards to film, there needs to be investment in studio infrastructure
  • there is a need to build employment opportunities for theatre practitioners
  • need for ongoing consultation and dialogue between key arts organisations and the ACT Government
  • there are ongoing opportunities to build mutually beneficial relationships between ACT arts organisations and the national cultural institutions based in the region.

The above list is not intended to be exhaustive, and we again encourage all those interested in learning more about the discussion at this forum to visit the websites of the three main political parties in the ACT.

The Childers Group also recommends that if you were inspired by an idea presented at the forum, or you have an idea of your own, you make contact with the relevant key arts organisation or advocacy body – email us if you need assistance with who to contact.

For more information about the key areas of Childers Group advocacy, click here for a list of our six key opportunities, and here for our vision for the Kingston Arts Precinct.