Jo Caust


This issue of the Journal is a little different in framing. The papers that are published here are some of the papers presented in a symposium titled 'Intersecting Art and Business in the Creative Economy' at Deakin University in Melbourne in November 2008. All the presenters and respondents at the Symposium were invited by the organisers (Professor Ruth Renschler and Professor Jennifer Radbourne). I want to therefore acknowledge and thank Professor Radbourne and Professor Rentschler for their contribution to this special issue. The papers published here therefore represent quite a range of views and approaches both theoretically and stylistically. They are, in most cases, more formally presented here than at the symposium. I think they make an important contribution to conversations around the making of art, how it is framed within an industry construct and highlight some of the differences in the debates that currently exist.
Hilary Glow's and Katya Johanson's contribution to this issue, "Indigenous performing arts and the problem of judging 'excellence': A discussion paper" raises some interesting points about how Australian Indigenous performing arts are treated by the media, by funding authorities and audiences and what problems this presents for the practitioners involved. It considers particular case studies to highlight some of the challenges inherent in the current funding approaches and the limitations posed by concepts of excellence and access, as well as instrumental expectations of governments involved in funding. This is framed within literature around the debates about instrumentalisation of the arts and the subjectivity and cultural context of 'excellence'.
Louise Johnson responds to Glow and Johansson's paper by focussing on the concept of 'value' and how it is framed within the context of the arts in Australia. Her paper titled "How to (re) value Indigenous performing arts" addresses some of the concerns of Glow and Johanson by re-visiting a Marxist 'relational' model of value, and then adds to this by introducing the writings of Bourdieu and his concept of 'cultural capital'. She suggests that the key to the challenges outlined by Glow and Johanson in Indigenous performing arts is centered on notions of Australian identity. She argues that Indigenous performing arts would be better served within an assessment construct of community cultural development, rather than being placed within the conventional hierarchy of artistic excellence.
Julian Meyrick in "Leading By Example: Ranga Shankara Theatre and the Status of Empirical Referents in Cultural Description" takes a more theoretical approach to understanding and articulating the process of artistic practice. He highlights the gaps in understanding and language between practitioners and the academy and argues for a new meta-language to bridge the divide between member of the Humanities Academy and arts practitioners. He also talks about the differences between concepts of 'community theatre' in India and Australia and how language again limits or highlights different understandings or approaches to practice, in different cultural contexts.
Suzette Major's paper "Creative Entrepreneurs and Artists: Is There a Difference?" addresses some key issues related to the model of the creative industries and how that affects individual artists. She addresses firstly the changes in policy approaches in New Zealand over the past decade or so under two different governments and notes how the mantra of the 'creative industries' paradigm has been embraced. She then interrogates this in relationship to understandings of art and artistic practice. Through interviews with several artists she unpacks differences in how artists see this terminology and what it means to their own practice.
Chris Burton's paper "Creativity and the creative industries: some observations on tensions around building creative industries in Australia and New Zealand" reflects on some of the issues in Suzette Major's paper and takes the discussion further by comparing what is occurring in the Australian context. She includes references to literature about arts management in Australia and how funding bodies have approached the framing of the arts sector over the past decade. She documents organisational and structural changes at the Australia Council and their potential impact on arts practices and then reviews the way the creation of the creative industries models at institutional and funding levels, may affect understandings of arts practice.
Kate MacNeill and Ann Tonks in "Co-leadership and gender in the performing arts" consider the relationship between general managers and artistic directors in theatre companies, with particular reference to gender and the nature of leadership. This is an important study for understanding a relationship that may appear to be stereotypically sexist in some contexts, or always structurally located. The nature of leadership within arts organisations is itself a large topic and the model of shared leadership or dual leadership that exist in particular arts organisations, are important subjects to consider. This is then further explored when one leader is a male and the other is a female and they work together as a team. This paper contributes therefore to conversations about leadership, gender and the arts.
KB Chan's paper "Theatre as Community Enterprise -The Hong Kong Experience" provides an overview of the development of theatre arts in Hong Kong. It is an interesting documentation of the various stages in development of the theatre and the interaction between Western theatre and Chinese theatre. It also describes the various training models that exist in Hong Kong for the arts, as well as the range of cultural institutions that have developed over the past 30 years. Finally it talks about the major new cultural development in West Kowloon that will place Hong Kong, in Chan’s estimation, in an unparalleled position in Asia, in relation to the cultural infrastructure that will be built over the next 15-20 years.


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Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management; ISSN 1449-1184
© University of Melbourne