Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Arts Funding in Australia

John Kieffer

Ben Eltham, Arts funding in Australia: the coming crunch, ArtsHub 20 March 2015

UK arts analyst John Kieffer warns Australia could be headed for a British-style funding crunch.

It’s been a rough ride for the arts in Britain. After years of plenty under the Blair and Brown governments, arts funding nose-dived after 2010. In a climate of austerity in which few public services were spared, David Cameron’s government slashed arts funding dramatically.

The pain was intense. Some arts organisations were defunded completely; many were forced to make do with huge cuts. A recent report card by the National Campaign for the Arts warned that ‘we have now reached a tipping point where further cuts to funding will permanently damage how the sector supports society.’ In 2016, the budget for the UK’s Department of Media, Culture and Sport will be half as large as it was in 2010.

British cultural analyst John Kieffer has been on the front lines of the austerity battle. As part of the amusingly-named consultancy Three Johns and a Shelagh (with John Newbigin, John Holden and Shelagh Wright), Kieffer has been advising a string of high-profile British arts companies on how to adapt to a hostile environment.

Now Kieffer is in Australia. He’s been brought here by Creative Partnerships Australia, in an attempt to provoke a discussion that will ‘challenge traditional assumptions about the sustainability, resilience and relevance of the arts.’

According to Creative Partnerships Australia’s Fiona Menzies, ‘it really is about getting to think differently about the status quo.’ Menzies adds, rather politely, that Kieffer ‘has some quite challenging ideas.’

There’s no doubt that the British experience is a salient warning for Australia. While arts funding has stagnated in Australia in recent years, broad public support for arts funding is not guaranteed. Given the federal government’s well-publicised budget issues – mirrored in many of the states and territories – a future budget crisis could see punitive cuts to arts funding.

Read more here.

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Mr Brian Oldman, South Australian Museum PO Box 234 Adelaide, South Australia 5001 Australia, © CAMD 2022
Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for information purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. No claim is made as to the accuracy or authenticity of the content of the website. The Council of Australasian Museum Directors does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or the use of such information or advice) which is provided on this website. The information on our website is provided on the basis that all persons accessing the site undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its content. No responsibility is taken for any information or services which may appear on any linked web sites. Hostgator.