Laboratory Adelaide’s Julian
Meyrick took part in a recent Webinar hosted by the Whitlam Institute. The
Webinar—titled ‘Democracy and the Arts: Charting the Way Forward’—focused on
the value of arts and culture in Australia. It explored how the COVID-19 crisis
has revealed the vulnerability of the arts sector and led to calls for
additional funding for those working in the creative industries. It also asked
how we can define the intrinsic value of arts and creativity without relying on
economic measurements; this question is at the heart of the Laboratory Adelaide
Julian was joined by writer Thomas Keneally, Professor Dr. Josephine Caust from the University of Melbourne, and multi-media artist Abdul Abdullah. The event was moderated by Whitlam Institute Director Leanne Smith.
Whitlam Institute is a public policy institute inspired by the legacy of Prime
Minister Gough Whitlam, one of Australia’s most pro-arts leaders.
“It is time for everyone who cares about arts and culture to get out of the brace position and come alive to a dialogue about their inherent value.”
In Arts Professional (UK) Julian Meyrick discusses the problems associated with assessing cultural value arguing that we “are stuck in a financially reductionist ‘value = money’ orbit. We should be examining people’s experiences of culture, and the meaning that comes from those experiences”.
Issues raised are discussed in the recent book What Matters? Talking Value in Australian Culture published by Monash University Publishing. Authored by Julian Meyrick, Robert Phiddian and Tully Barnett. The book is available for purchase here.
Julian Meyrick appeared for an interview with Peter Goers on Evenings with Peter Goers, ABC Radio Adelaide. The interview appears approximately mid-way through the three-hour program which can be downloaded here.
What Matters? Talking Value in Australian Culture is a new book released by Monash University Publishing, authored by Julian Meyrick, Robert Phiddian and Tully Barnett. Copies are available for purchase here.
The Value of Culture: Rethinking value for cultural organisations
In recent decades, the concept of value has been distorted across many sectors, including the arts. There is no quick, methodological fix to this problem of communicating value. Instead, there is a need for a richer discussion.
“Laboratory Adelaide: the Value of Culture” is about to launch into its second phase of research. For the last three years, this project has explored the challenges faced by the cultural sector when required to prove its worth. Flinders University’s Tully Barnett and Heather Robinson will share some of the key findings from the first phase of research conducted in partnership with the State Library of South Australia, the State Theatre Company of South Australia and the Adelaide Festival. We invite practitioners and professionals from across the cultural sector of South Australia to share our findings and gather feedback on what needs to be done to embed better ways of communicating the value and meaning of what we do for the long-term benefit our sector and our community.
Presented by the State Library of South Australia
Details on the event and registration to attend available here.
Julian Meyrick and Tully Barnett engage in a lively debate about measuring value in the arts during The Filter segment on The Mix episode screened 8 September 2018. The episode can be accessed (via ABC iview) here.
(The Filter segment appears approximately 15 minutes into the episode.)
Julian and Tully were invited to appear on The Mix to discuss issues raised in the recent publication What Matters? Talking Value in Australian Culturepublished by Monash University Publishing, authored by Julian Meyrick, Robert Phiddian and Tully Barnett. The book can be ordered online here.
Julian Meyrick was interviewed for a feature article written by Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore for the New York Times outlining issues with government funding of the arts in Australia. The article can be accessed here.
A brief extract from the article:
“AUSTRALIA HAS OFTEN BEEN MARKED by a preference for stability over disruption, in its economy, which has tended to favor duopolies, in its politics, which are kept relatively moderate (at least in terms of ideology) by mandatory voting, and in culture.
Cultural cringe — in part, the tendency to overvalue the culture of Europe and North America and undervalue Australia’s own — lingers, many Australians in the arts argue. This, they say, plays into why the 28 majors, who mostly concentrate on traditional art forms and repertoire, are still so revered by those who manage government funding.
Professor Meyrick said that cultural cringe has lessened over the years, as Australia gained more confidence on the global stage. Yet this attitude is “still hard-wired into the administration of culture.”
One example is programming. When he was the literary manager at the Melbourne Theatre Company (one of the majors) from 2002 to 2007, Professor Meyrick said the company regularly looked to Britain and the United States for inspiration “rather than thinking what drama of our own can we revive.”
“It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy: if you’re not putting it on, then you’re not encouraging the supply. And if you’re not encouraging the supply, you’ve got nothing to put on,” he said.”