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Arts Hub: Performers ‘left out’ of Creative Industry Taskforce

Arts Hub has reported on the sector’s response to the announcement of the Creative Industries Taskforce. Full article below by Richard Watts for Arts Hub, Friday 24 April 2015.

Performing arts representatives in Victoria have expressed dismay that their sector has not been included in a recently-announced strategy to bolster the creative industries.

The Andrews’ Government’s Creative Industries Taskforce – part of a strategy to increase the public value of the creative industries in Victoria, announced last week by the Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley – has been criticised for failing to include representatives of the state’s dance, circus and theatre sectors among its members.

Andy Howitt, Director and CEO, Ausdance Victoria, expressed concern about the lack of dance sector representation on the Taskforce and its Expert Reference Group.

‘Ausdance Victoria welcomes the exploration of a new strategy for the creative industries, by the establishment of the Creative Industries Taskforce. We support their clear focus on collaboration, innovation and industry growth, in all sectors, right across Victoria,’ he said.

‘In recent years we have nurtured an increase in the number of major dance companies, dance festivals and small to medium works being developed. The dance industry continues to be celebrated across Victoria, Australia and around the globe.

‘We are an industry in need of support. We believe the creation of a new strategy for the arts and creative industries is best explored by ensuring balanced representation across all art forms, including the dance sector,’ Howitt told ArtsHub.

Nicole Beyer, Director, Theatre Network Victoria, echoed Howitt’s concerns.

‘It is heartening that Minister Foley has kept his word and has started the process of developing a creative industries strategy, and we applaud this. We also know that the members of the Taskforce and the Expert Reference Group are all highly committed, passionate and intelligent people, and will bring a diverse range of perspectives to the strategy. We are disappointed, though, that the Taskforce itself doesn’t have representation from the subsidised performing arts sector – this sector is the biggest cohort of organisations and artists supported through the Organisations Investment Program and Vic Arts Grants, so it is an oversight to not have someone on the taskforce who understands this sector’s aspirations and needs,’ she said.

‘Similarly we would like to see more representation from our sector on the Expert Reference Group. We are such a big sector, from our major theatre, dance and circus companies to our small to medium companies and festivals, and our prolific independent artists, that to lose this sector’s confidence in the process would be a shame.

‘We know that consultation is planned with all sectors, but we also know that consultation outcomes are always distilled in the final mix. We really need someone to be an integral part of the policy development team, who can take carriage of our issues all the way through the process,’ Beyer concluded.

Bethwyn Serow, Executive Director, Australian Major Performing Arts Group, also expressed concern.

Minister Foley’s office was approached for a response, but declined to comment at this time.

The creative industries contributed an estimated $22.7 billion to the Victorian economy in 2013 (8% of the state’s total economy) and employed over 220,000 people.

For more details about the Creative Industries Strategy, including a full list of members of the Creative Industries Taskforce and its Expert Reference Panel, see

To read the full article, visit Arts Hub.



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