Research and Advocacy
|M&GSQ Submission on the National Cultural Policy discussion paper|
|In August 2011, Minister for the Arts, the Hon Simon Crean MP released a discussion paper on a new National Cultural Policy and invited all Australians to make comment.|
Since 2009, consultation on the proposed Policy has involved discussions with the arts and cultural sector, creative industries, the general public and government. These discussions have helped to develop the discussion paper which outlines goals for the new policy.
Submissions responding to the discussion paper closed in October 2011. Below is Museum and Gallery Services Queensland's submission.
|1. About you or your organisation|
Museum and Gallery Services Queensland (M&GSQ) is the peak professional body for the public museum and gallery sector in Queensland.
M&GSQ promotes, supports and provides services to foster excellence in museums, galleries and keeping places; and strives to ensure a future where they are relevant, accessible and valued by their communities.
Queensland is home to a growing network of around 400 public galleries, museums, keeping places, heritage and historical organisations, located in every region of a state with a significant geographic spread. These organisations operate with more than 1,000 paid staff and 20,000 volunteers. Each year, more than 2.5 million people visit regional galleries and museums in Queensland, with an additional 2.5 million visitors to the metropolitan institutions.
M&GSQ provides programs and services to the sector in four major areas:
Sector Development – including an annual state-wide Gallery and Museum Achievement Awards; national and state conferences; a Mentorship, Exchange and Fellowship professional development program; data collection and evaluation; and advocacy.
Training and Professional Development – including a Standards Program delivered in a different region of Queensland annually; seminars and masterclasses for professional staff; sector networking events; skills workshops; and a suite of online professional development resources.
Exhibition Development and Touring – including a comprehensive annual touring program of up to 15 exhibitions a year; exhibition development services; skills workshops; and online and e-resources. M&GSQ is the National Exhibition Touring Support (NETS) agency for Queensland. Between 2005 and 2010, M&GSQ has managed 69 touring exhibitions to 272 venues across Queensland and Australia, showcasing the work of 1,578 artists and 63 curators, and engaging audiences of 857,486.
Information and Referral Services – including a resource-rich website, a suite of publications (both hard copy and online); information and referral services; and social media engagement.
2. Do you support the development of a National Cultural Policy, and why?
M&GSQ supports the development of a National Cultural Policy for the opportunity it presents to establish a strategic framework that ensures support from all levels of government (federal, state, and local) to enable all Australians to benefit from the cultural life of our nation in its fullest sense.
The new cultural policy should not only bring arts and the creative industries into the mainstream but should also acknowledge the value of the cultural heritage sector within its policy framework.
This means not only addressing the culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (which is vital, of course) but also the value, benefits, outcomes and impact of the collections held in galleries, libraries, archives and museums in regional and metropolitan Australia.
When the place of the collections sector within a national cultural policy is equally recognised, the next fundamental step will be to review Australia’s structure of government portfolios, program delivery resources and funding agencies to ensure more equitable representation for cultural heritage.
While it is four decades since the Australia Council for the Arts was set up and its budget for grants to arts organisations, artists and for audience development was $177.0 million in 2011–2012, there is no equivalent organisation for heritage and collections, and the combined budget for Cultural Heritage (Distributed National Collection) and National Cultural Heritage Account in the same period is only $1.1 million. The National Cultural Policy development presents a timely opportunity to address this imbalance. Flowing from this, it is important that the federal government fund targeted programs in place of both the Collections Council of Australia and the Collections Australia Network, which have lost all their federal government funding.
3. What are your views about each of the four goals?
GOAL 1: To ensure that what the Government supports – and how this support is provided – reflects the diversity of a 21st century Australia, and protects and supports Indigenous culture.
Strategies should include:
• support for initiatives that encourage communities to tell their own stories in ways that shape their identity and build strong, resilient and prosperous communities.
• opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to tell their traditional, historical and contemporary stories.
• opportunities for stories of all Australians to be told in Australia’s cultural institutions (including small, medium and large in regional and metropolitan Australia); exhibitions, events and educational programs, online, in print and on film.
• opportunities for stories of all Australians to be told internationally through visual arts, performing arts and literature.
How support is provided should involve consultation and alignment between all tiers of government.
GOAL 2: To encourage the use of emerging technologies and new ideas that support the development of new artworks and the creative industries, and that enable more people to access and participate in arts and culture.
Strategies should include support for initiatives to digitise collections and to resource knowledge creation and access in the Web 2.0 environment.
Strategies should recognise:
• potential for increased access to new media in regional and remote areas through adequate resourcing of gallery and museum infrastructure.
• opportunities for the gallery and museum sector to drive innovation and engagement through new technologies.
GOAL 3: To support excellence and world-class endeavour, and strengthen the role that the arts play in telling Australian stories both here and overseas.
Strategies should recognise the role museums and galleries play in telling Australian stories, and support opportunities to increase this potential.
Improve mechanisms to assist regional galleries in developing and touring exhibitions internationally.
GOAL 4: To increase and strengthen the capacity of the arts to contribute to our society and economy.
Recognise the social and economic value of the museum and gallery sector and support the role played by local, community and regional galleries and museums.
Strategies should support museums and galleries to:
• contribute to social inclusion/reduction of exclusion, and tolerance for diversity.
• contribute to educational resourcing, individual learning and personal well-being.
• participate in civic renewal, urban and regional regeneration, building social capital and community capacity.
• contribute to employment, tourism, civic branding, leverage, multiplier effect, creative economies.
(Reference: C. Scott, M&GSQ, 2007)
Strategies should include support for enhanced employment and career development in the cultural sector:
• ensuring adequate paid staff (including curators and education officers) in regional museums and galleries.
• increased assistance for arts and heritage organisations fully staffed by volunteers.
Recognise and support the role of peak bodies and service organisations in building capacity within the sector through training and professional development, information and support programs.
4. What strategies do you think we could use to achieve each of the four goals?
• Strategies to facilitate robust communication and alignment of policies and frameworks between all tiers of government. This includes recognition of the crucial role of local government in the ongoing operation of regional galleries and museums.
• Consistent mechanisms should be provided to enable the sector to measure and benchmark its economic and social value and contribution to Australian communities. This is not only an important advocacy tool, but integral to sustainable development of the sector.
• Continued growth and support for peak bodies and service organisations in building capacity within the sector.
• Continued growth and support for the small to medium sector in recognition of its contribution to national arts, heritage and culture.
• Equitable representation for the collections sector and cultural heritage within the new policy.
• Expansion/development of targeted programs such as the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS) and Visions of Australia, which have been vital to the development of Australian visual arts.
• Advocate for further implementation of the recommendations of the Myer report, Report of the Contemporary Visual Arts and Craft Inquiry.
• Funding of targeted programs in place of the Collections Council of Australia and the Collections Australia Network to ensure national leadership for the sector.
• All tiers of government supporting job creation in the arts and cultural heritage sector, ensuring adequate staffing levels in museums and galleries, and supporting the significant contribution of volunteers.
• Increased philanthropic opportunities through continued tax reform, and improving access for organisations to DGR status.
5. How can you, your organisation or sector, contribute to the goals and strategies of the National Cultural Policy?
Museum and Gallery Services Queensland, both as the peak body for public museums and galleries in Queensland, and as the NETS agency in Queensland, is well placed to support and implement the goals and strategies of the National Cultural Policy and to provide support to our constituent organisations.
M&GSQ would like to bring to your attention the following presentations and publications from the sector which are relevant to the development of this National Cultural Policy, specifically in addressing the value of museums and galleries:
Valuing the Queensland Museum: A Contingent Valuation Study 2008
Report prepared by Deborah Tranter, April 2009. Available at www.qm.qld.gov.au/About+Us/Corporate+information/Reports
The values toolkit: Advocating the value of museums and galleries, a professional development workshop by Carol Scott for Museum and Gallery Services Queensland, 16 November 2007. Available at www.magsq.com.au/_dbase_upl/The%20Values%20Toolkit%20M&GSQ.pdf
Presentations to M&GSQ State Conference 2007 in the Plenary: Beyond Visitor Numbers. Available at www.magsq.com.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=239
Carol Scott, What difference do Museums and Galleries make? A typology of value
Dr Lynda Kelly, Visitor voices: new ways to report learning outcomes
Deborah Tranter, Valuing museums – why bother?
Jo Besley, Exhibitions that tackle difficult subjects at Museum of Brisbane
Kate Ravenswood, Design your own tour – a new initiative from Queensland Art Gallery for school visitors
Presentations to Fourth National Public Galleries Summit 2009, presented by M&GSQ. Available at www.magsq.com.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=605
Robyn Archer, Lightness Agility Resilience: Clues for survival in the 21st century
Ted Snell, The mirror-ball: reflections on a healthy society
Amanda Lawson, Voices from the regions – challenges and strategies
Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, Raising the indigenous voice in galleries – locally, nationally, globally
Presentations to M&GSQ State Conference 2011. Available at www.magsq.com.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=837
Jo Besley, Closure or opening: museums as crucibles for identity, healing and recovery
Fiona Foley, Public Art Laced With Memory
Adriane Boag, Art and Alzheimer’s Outreach Program case study
Adele Chynoweth, Developing the exhibition “Inside: Life in Children’s Homes”
Liza Dale-Hallett, Making Meaning from Ashes – Developing the Victorian Bushfires Collection