Australians are more culturally aware than at any time in our history, and many communities have turned to music, art and storytelling as a viable means of tackling social and economic problems. Are the arts being overlooked as an effective way of solving contemporary issues? What benefits can communities reap by adopting a more culturally integrated approach?
The latest edition of the Griffith REVIEW showcases such artistic success stories, examining the ways in which storytelling and greater creative engagement can transform communities. Contributor Marcus Westbury’s Renew Australia campaign helped turn Newcastle into a thriving hub of art and literature festivals, while Scott Rankin’s work has brought Australian theatre to international audiences and remote communities.
Marcus and Scott are joined in this panel discussion by editor Julianne Schultz and fellow contributor Robyn Archer, who explore the differences in cultural policy between Europe and Australia. Together they examine the profound and lasting effects of cultural solutions to social problems. Moderated by the Wheeler Centre’s head of programming Simon Abrahams.
Robyn Archer AO is singer, writer, artistic director and arts advocate, and currently Creative Director of the Centenary of Canberra (2013), Artistic Director/Creator of The Light in Winter, and Deputy Chair of The Australia Council.
Marcus Westbury is the inaugural CEO of Contemporary Arts Precincts Ltd that is leading the development of the Collingwood Arts Precinct in Melbourne. He is also the founder of the multi award-winning Renew Newcastle and Renew Australia projects that have reopened more than a hundred vacant properties to creative and community uses across Australia.
Scott Rankin is a writer, director and the creative director of Big hART. He is currently making new work in the Pilbara WA, Tasmania, NSW, ACT, NT, SA, as well as international touring works.
Professor Julianne Schultz AM FAHA is the founding editor of Griffith Review. Professor Schultz is a member of the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research and sits on the editorial board of the Conversation. She is an acclaimed author of several books, including Reviving the Fourth Estate (Cambridge) and Steel City Blues (Penguin), and the librettos to the operas Black River and Going Into Shadows. She became a Member of the Order of Australia for services to journalism and the community in 2009 and an honorary fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities the following year.
Simon Abrahams is a strategic arts and cultural leader, dynamic programmer and experienced producer whose work has been recognised nationally and internationally. He is Chair of Theatre Network Victoria, and a freelance arts consultant and performer.