Guest Editor Editorial

Deborah Stevenson, PhD


The papers in this issue of the Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management contribute, in different ways, to our understanding of the organisation of the arts in the region. The concerns of the papers are broad, ranging from an exploration of people's personal engagements with creative expression to an examination of the discursive and policy environments within which art is produced. At the same time, the papers in the refereed section of the journal all speak in some way to the operation of arts organisations in increasingly managerial and entrepreneurial contexts. And although they report on Australian-based research, many of the trends and practices described in these papers are occurring across the region and around the world. For instance, the requirement that arts organisations become less reliant on government funding is commonplace and brings with it a range of imperatives that all organisations have to negotiate. Similarly, the rhetoric of the creative city permeates cultural planning initiatives worldwide and raises questions, concerns and opportunities that require an engagement with empirical research conducted in a range of localities. In the first paper of the refereed section, Jo Caust examines the consequences of appointing arts administrators and board members who have business rather than arts backgrounds. The paper suggests that this trend is affecting the nature of leadership in contemporary arts organisations which, in turn, is shaping the parameters of creative production. Potentially, the emerging tension between the pursuit of profit and the production of art is undermining and so, the paper argues that, the time has come for an open discussion between stakeholders to clarify the nature of the 'arts business' and its relationship to the production and consumption of art. The issue of arts consumption is a central concern of the second paper in this section, "Public Stories, Private Lives: The Importance of Stories to Middle Australia" by Julia de Roeper. This paper draws on extensive qualitative research into the role that stories play in the lives and personal narratives of three generations of Australians. The paper argues, in part, that the managerialist paradigm dominating the operations of contemporary arts organisations is forcing a disconnection between the priorities of the organisations that produce 'public stories' (as entertainment) and those of their audiences. A business approach to arts and cultural development has now also been embraced by local government. Cultural planning aims to encourage the development of the creative industries as a strategy for showcasing place and local identities in ways that are meaningful to residents and attractive to tourists. Personal and collective stories and memories are central to this process and form a tapestry of cultural heritage that links imagined or remembered place to a range of physical markers in the landscape. Michelle Mansfield's paper (the third in this section) looks at a cultural heritage walks initiative implemented by Newcastle City Council as an aspect of its broader cultural planning and place management strategy. The paper examines the heritage walks texts (two brochures) to reveal their dominant discourses and silences, and argues that there is a need for cultural planning to mobilise a more inclusive understanding of place and connect more closely with the diversity of lived local experience. The necessity for arts organisations to operate as businesses and seek financial support from non-government sources is the starting point for the final paper in the refereed section. In this paper, Beverley Thompson points out that, although sponsorship is an important aspect of the arts-as-business model, surprisingly little is known about the nature of the relationship that exists between arts organisations and their sponsoring bodies. The paper seeks to address this lack of knowledge by developing a theoretical framework of arts sponsorship that is based on the principles of relationship marketing and networking. The paper argues that in order for sponsorship to be beneficial to both parties, arts organisations need to approach sponsorship arrangements with a keen understanding of these principles and the nature of the exchange. Finally, Annette Van den Bosch's paper in the industry section of the journal provides a fascinating account of the organisation of the visual arts in Malaysia. The paper introduces and explains some of the practices, institutions and policy approaches that are shaping this 'world', including the relationship between art dealers and professional artists, and the operations of flagship museums and galleries, such as the National Gallery of Malaysia. The paper ends by suggesting that a targeted arts education policy would go some way towards supporting the production and consumption of art in this country. This is the fourth issue of the Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management and the first for 2005. The next issue is to be a themed one focusing on Indigenous arts. APJACM provides an important forum for the exchange of knowledge and ideas about the arts in the region, and for fostering an understanding of key trends and experiences, it is also a marker of a lively and healthy sector and interdisciplinary field. The continued survival of the journal depends on the on-going and engaged support of its academic and professional readership. Therefore, I urge you to subscribe to the journal and contribute papers, reviews and opinion pieces whenever possible. You might also encourage your colleagues, peers and students to do the same. Associate Professor Deborah Stevenson, PhD Guest Editor


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