Fertile Ground

Terry Flew has posted on Marcus Westbury‘s discussion in The Age about the perceived conflict between “arts for art’s sake” and “creative industries”. Mark Bahnisch weighs in and suggests that Marcus has not “succeeded in overcoming the dichotomy [between creative industries and traditional arts] here.” I am not sure if the point is to overcome the dichotomy! In the above linked comments Marcus summarises his argument thus: “My argument is that governments should first and foremost foster the fertile ground rather than picking winners on either cultural or economic criteria.”

I think this a brilliant point and it moved me to leave a comment on Terry’s blog (now with ADDED COMMA!):

In complete seriousness the ideal situation would be to fund an entire social milieu. However much the tradarts and creinds are separated in discourse, in reality (ok, in my experience) the separation does not exist on the level of actual interaction. Creativity as such does not belong to one camp, it circulates and forms alliances. I would call them ‘scenes’ where creative types, admin staff, managers, marketers, etc. all may share overlapping, congruent or even similar professional interests but with vastly different professional competencies. Taking care of a space of communication and actual interaction is paramount.

2 replies on “Fertile Ground”

  1. Hi Glen… thanks for responding to this. I am in furious agreement with almost everything except the use of the word “fund” in the statement “the ideal situation would be to fund an entire social milieu.” I use the word “foster” quite carefully because – while it is inclusive of funding – it does not assume that funding is the only or even the primary tool.

    If you only have a hammer everything looks like a nail. It is too easy to see everything as a funding problem and particularly easy to do so when you rush to quantify the costs of other problems. My favourite example is the effect of poker machines and tightening POPE liscensing on the NSW music industry over a number of years. Basically, through two pieces of legislation/regulation a situation was created that creates powerful disincentives to opening maintaining live music venues and strong incentives to buy live music venues, close them down and replace them with poker machines.

    It is a case study in non-funding based policy problems. Yet for many years the primary debate was about how to fund a solutions to the problem. The correct policy response to that problem is not a. funding bands to tour, b. funding bands to reconrd, c. Building new custom built government run live music venues d. fundibng wealthy publicans to start/ maintain live music venues but e. changing the absurd set of rules that was killing the sector.

    I am pleased to say that in the end – and through the work of people like John Warlde and others that the regulatory response has been recognised as the right one and the situation is turning it around. It’s an extreme case but to a lesser extent this dynamic plays itself out in many arguements.

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