Australia’s artistic output gives enormous value to our society, enriching our lives and creating an economic boost from domestic and international spending. The arts is a broad industry, with a range of skills and talents making up a rich landscape of creative workers.
Engaging with Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions has proven benefits for mental and physical health, social cohesion and community building, creative thinking, problem solving skills and more. The benefits which flow from a healthy arts industry have never been needed more keenly than right now, as Australia emerges from living with the COVID-19 public health emergency.
A series of devastating events, from the Black Summer 2019-20 bushfires to COVID-19, has landed a series of blows on the creative and cultural industries and institutions. The closure of public venues, performance spaces, community hubs and gatherings put an immediately stop to the way that creative work had been created and shared.
All this at a time when we needed the arts more than ever to help us through the crisis.
As Australians turned to online platforms to engage with the arts, many artists had to change their methods of production and delivery to meet their audience needs. Artists and creative workers who were already working in a largely digital environment, or who had the ability to pivot quickly, were able to continue to provide services. Post-production and video game content was able to continue, and some artists were able to turn to video meeting platforms and online delivery methods.
Digital literacy has become an essential skill for Australia’s arts community, and will continue to be in future as the model for a healthy and sustainable arts industry adapts to a post-COVID world.
Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions have an opportunity now to strengthen the resilience and sustainability of the industry in order to continue to showcase our cultural value to domestic and international audiences.
Improvements to financial literacy and commercialisation opportunity awareness will allow artists to take control of their artistic careers and be ready to launch their creative work to both new and established audiences as we emerge from living with the pandemic.
Australia’s school-aged children enthusiastically engage with creative programs in and out of school, and benefit from the creative thinking and physical activity they experience when they engage with the arts. The Australian Curriculum includes the arts as one of the key learning areas, but the benefits of a cross-curriculum approach could unlock the enormous potential of linking creative output with other subjects. Australian could turn STEM to STEAM by including the arts as a cross-curriculum priority and embed visual arts, physical theatre, music and other aspects of the arts into all subjects.
A healthy, sustainable arts industry will allow Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions to emerge from the COVID-19 public health emergency and allow Australia’s arts to reach new heights.