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Media Articles 2004

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If you know of any media activty or articles which should be included on this page please forward the details to feedback@ccd.net

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Media 2005...


  Media/Articles 2004

21 December 2004
Arts body fails to see big picture by Neil Price Published by The Courier Mail

IT'S A STRANGE irony that as the Federal Government prepares to spend $42 million on a new portrait gallery in Canberra, its national funding arm, the Australia Council, is engaged in a disrespectful axing of its Community Cultural Development and New Media programs.

The Australia Council claims that the changes – made as part of a restructure announced earlier this month – are an effort to expand funding opportunities to 'all Australians'. However, it is difficult to see how the cutting of two major cultural programs that actively engage with a wide range of the Australian community will achieve these objectives....

http://www.couriermail.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,11751013%255E27197,00.html
Click Here to link to this article

09 Dec 2004
Funding body's big-bang strategy by Katrina Strickland Published by The Australian

THE Australia Council plans to be more aggressive in picking winners, by strategically funding arts projects it feels are important.

A wide-ranging restructure of the Sydney-based federal arts funding body, foreshadowed yesterday in the The Australian, will affect the composition of its governing council and the number of art-form boards, departments and staff.

The idea is to spend more on fewer projects but ones that the council hopes will excite Australian audiences......

Click Here to link to this article

09 December 2004
Arts body changes 'political' by Robin Usher Published by The Age.

The shake-up of the Australia Council is a great leap backwards, one festival director insists.
A restructure of the Federal Government's main arts funding body, the independent Australia Council, could be seen as an attempt to stop politically contentious projects, it was claimed yesterday.
The council's chief executive, Jennifer Bott, said the new media and community cultural development boards were to be abolished and their responsibilities split between other areas.
But the artistic director of Melbourne's Next Wave Festival, Marcus Westbury, said the boards were the newest and least conservative of the council's existing nine boards.
The new media board had given $25,000 towards the cost of a computer game, Escape from Woomera, about trying to escape from detention centres.

Click Here to link to this article

08 December 2004
Arts body to shed limbs as new funding dries up by Katrina Strickland, Published by The Australian

THE federal Government's main arts funding body, the Australia Council, is to be significantly restructured in a move designed to make it more effective and less bureaucratic.
The restructure, to be announced today, will cut across the entire organisation and will involve some staff having to reapply for their jobs....

Click Here to link to this article


08 December 2004
Commonwealth arts body says it will dissolve the Community Cultural Development Board (CCDB)

Comment by Jon Hawkes for the December edition of Shout!, the newsletter of Community Music Victoria

On December 8, the Australia Council (AC) announced its intention to close down the CCDB. The AC CEO, Jennifer Bott says that the decision reflects 'Council's long-standing commitment to arts in the community ... [and that we] ... would be giving increased support to this area, but with stronger emphasis on arts activity ... [focussing] ... on excellent, innovative and distinctly Australian artistic creation.'
We haven't had enough time to properly analyse this declaration, but some bells are already ringing. These include:
The five Task Force members
that came up with the recommendation embraced by Council have no direct experience of working within communities facilitating the development of their own art-making capacities and expressions.
This doesn't necessarily mean that their proposals are without merit, PROVIDED that these were informed by intense
Consultation
with people that DO have profound understandings of these processes. The material supporting the announcement indicates that NO external consultation took place.
The mechanics of the proposal
A new entity will be set up: Community Partnerships and Market Development. Presumably this title describes the activities of the new unit. Aligning 'community' with marketing may be sending a signal about what sort of community work is intended.
'stronger emphasis on arts activity'
The implication is that the CCDB's arts focus was not 'strong' enough. We couldn't find anything in the support material to justify this insinuation.
Community cultural development and 'arts in the community' are different
CCD describes the direct participation by groups of people in making their own culture. Arts in the community can mean anything you like (for example, a regional tour, supporting a local artist or festival, putting an individual artist in a place for a time). None of these are bad things, but shifting the emphasis from the former to the latter is a clear move away from the support of collaborative participation by ordinary people towards a culture produced by specialist professionals.
What likelihood is there that the artform boards have any understanding of or sympathy with community-based arts?
Not much. Their current job is to support poorly resourced sectors of professional artsworkers. To force them into dealing with community-based work as well is both unfair and unlikely to be embraced.
And how will they be able to sift the wheat from the chaff? The criteria for the effective evaluation of ccd work are very different from those used to judge, for example, whether a small dance group is worth supporting.
Loss of knowledge base and apparent unawareness of its existence
40 years of practice have developed an understanding of what it takes for community-based arts to flourish. Australia leads the world in the practice and theory of ccd. Much of this knowledge is embodied in the CCDB. Dissolve the Board and, while you don't necessarily lose the knowledge, you very definitely marginalise it.
Why the continued existence of the CCDB is important
Whatever its faults (and most of these are due to a string of inappropriate Ministerial appointments), the CCDB remains a significant symbol of the achievements made by communities and the artsworkers who have supported them. It may be that the gang of five aren't aware of these achievements or, worse still, are all too aware and wish to see them buried. It's too early to tell, but we need to find out.
What can be done?
The action is being presented as a done deal, to be implemented immediately. However, dissent is in the wind. You can contact your local government cultural development staffer or try the Cultural Development Network on judspo@melbourne.vic.gov.au or 03 9658 8850 if you want more info or to add your opinion to the groundswell.


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