The state’s review of cultural policy is a rare and major opportunity to give culture the space and prominence to reinvigorate our city.
The things that captivated us in and after Covid-19 were sea shanties and bingeable TV, Zoom dance lessons, the infectious mood of the Ramadan night market crowds in Lakemba and Vivid Sydney crowds in Parramatta, Sydney Theatre Company’s mesmerising Picture of Dorian Gray and a hundred other kinds of culture.
These activities bring fun to our city and they bring meaning, they’re how we connect with each other and how we express ourselves. There is no shortage of evidence for culture’s health and wellbeing benefits, its capacity to boost educational outcomes, support community cohesion and resilience, and to anchor local and major precincts.
However, access to arts and culture within communities is limited, particularly in the west, due to factors including cost of living, transport connectivity, skills shortages and limited local tertiary offerings in creative and performing arts. And the impact of Covid-19 continues to be felt across the sector, particularly impacting skilled workers and the small-to-medium ventures that fuel culture, with repercussions flowing through to major producers and institutions.
We’re putting forward big ideas that will help the state’s new cultural plan deliver on the huge potential of this sector:
- The remit of the state’s first arts, culture and creative industries strategy must reach across all government departments
- Commit to a regular ‘culture census’ to support effective decision making
- Create a one-stop shop for creatives to navigate government support and approval processes
- Make space for culture in areas of future population growth, and sweat existing assets to unlock creativity everywhere
- Reorient our visitor economy investment towards local culture.