Arts Hub, Richard Watts
28 July 2020
“Together with other peak bodies such as the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA), Live Performance Australia (LPA) and Theatre Network Australia (TNA), AMPAG recently played a key role in lobbying government for support after the nationwide shutdown of the arts caused by COVID-19.
One outcome of such lobbying was the Federal Government’s $250 million arts relief package, announced last month.
AMPAG’s advocacy role for the sector was acknowledged by TNA Executive Director Nicole Beyer, who thanked AMPAG’s staff and board for their collegiality on the campaigns the two organisations worked on together.
While Capps has suggested AMPAG may be replaced by a new organisation, Beyer disagreed with that proposal.
‘I think that the way forward isn’t as much about a new entity because no single entity can represent the diverse interests and needs of such a diverse arts and cultural industry. Instead, I think it is about bringing in all the different voices to an ongoing dialogue, and where needed, helping the grassroots-led groups do their own advocacy,’ she told ArtsHub.
‘We are seeing that grass-roots energy in places such as the Australian Arts amidst COVID-19 Facebook group, which shares information and resources, but also rightly calls the peak bodies and funders to account. Whether such a dialogue takes the form of a network or an alliance is less important than ensuring that we build really great relationships with each other, and we listen to all the different voices wanting to be heard.’
Beyer continued: ‘There is great work being done across many areas: the Australia Council has a strong advocacy strategy and is using its data to demonstrate the benefits of the arts and the high public participation in the arts; the philanthropic funded A New Approach is proving to be an expert independent think-tank; the peak bodies worked well together to get a rescue package for the arts and to push for JobKeeper to be extended; there are discussions amongst philanthropists and industry leaders about working together; and there are many grass-roots groups speaking out.
‘We are all in agreement about the value of the arts, we don’t need something new. We just need to pull all these threads together, harness the different voices and styles, and acknowledge that a multi-faceted arts industry needs a multi-faceted approach,’ Beyer said.”
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