Federal Election Campaign – Performance with/for/by Young People

Federal Election Campaign - Performance with/for/by Young People

It is expected that the Federal Government will call the Federal election for May 2022, and we need your help to ensure that arts and culture for young people stays on the agenda. TNA is supporting artists and organisations in the performance with/for/by young people sector to make contact with their MPs and candidates to make sure they know about the cultural assets in their electorate, highlight the important role arts and culture has (particularly in recovery from COVID), and seek a commitment from all parties to develop a National Cultural Plan, which includes a Young People and Culture Plan.

This page contains some key information to get you started including a history and overview of the formation of a National Cultural Plan to date, a toolkit of resources, and an outline of the steps you can take to get involved.

On This Page

  1. The Message
  2. A National Cultural Plan
  3. What you can do
  4. Advocacy Toolkit
  5. Other Resources
  6. Email Guide
  7. Key Facts
  8. We're here to help

The Message

There are many ways to advocate for the arts, and each art form, region, and organisation has their own unique set of needs, not the least of which is of course more funding.

This election TNA is taking an asset-based approach; highlighting that the effective use of the skills, knowledge, people, institutions, and resources of the arts sector can provide solutions to issues that the government (and all of us) faces. Rather than making demands for the needs of the sector, this approach demonstrates the benefits and positive outcomes from adequate investment in the sector.

We want to help our MPs get to know what assets are in their electorates and how they contribute to the community, and that growing, mobilising and connecting people to these assets will lead to enhanced health, wellbeing and resilience, reduce pressures on other services, and greater social cohesion, among many other things.

Given that both major parties were a part of writing the report that recommended a National Cultural Plan (details below), this is quite a reasonable and achievable ask as an election commitment, and is something that will create positive change for the whole sector.

A National Cultural Plan

TNA has written a summary of what a National Cultural Plan is, why we need one, what work has been done so far in the process of advocating for one, and what are the next steps. Click here to read.

What You Can Do

We want you to feel that you can engage as little or as much as you want, but here's our recommendations on the best way to tackle this campaign.

  1. Get together. This work is easiest done with other people and/or organisations to share the workload. We recommend getting together with others in your electorate to work on this together to present a united front. Use the map of performance with/for/by young people companies to find other companies in your area!

  2. Do some research. You're going to be an advocate for the arts, so it's best to be prepared and know what you're talking about. This page has some resources and info to get you started. Remember though, your own lived experience and knowledge of your community is what's most important, so don't feel like you need to become an overnight expert!

  3. Write to your MP and candidates. The first step is writing and sending an email or a letter. We've prepared an (below) to help get you started.

  4. Meet with your MP and candidates. A meeting is a great way to open up the discussion, share your knowledge and opinions and ask your MP to consider your suggestions.

Advocacy Toolkit

TNA has some resources for beginners getting into advocacy for the first time.

  • Who to contact - an overview and guide on figuring out how each level of government works, what they are responsible for, and who to contact when.

  • How to contact them - a brief and practical overview of which politician you should consider contacting, and how to find them.

  • Which contact method - suggestions on what works best; meetings, phone calls, letters or emails?

  • What to say - tips on what to include in your correspondence, and how to make your message more effective.

Other Resources

  • Find your electorate - If you're not sure which electorate you're in, use this tool.

  • Find your MP and candidates - Finding your incumbent MP is easy; you can look them up here. Finding your other candidates though is a little less straight forward and requires just a little bit of searching. Major parties list their candidates and contact details (Labor, Liberal, Greens), and there is a Wikipedia page that has a well updated table. For independents, if you know their name you can search for a website or social media. If you get stuck, let us know!

  • TNA Quick Facts - We have pulled together some key facts and stats that you can use in your advocacy (with sources!). Some of the ones specific to the performance with/for/by young people sector are below.

  • Australia Council electorate profiles - An interactive tool providing data on arts and culture in each of Australia’s 151 federal electorates; very useful for sharing with your MP!

  • Australia Council Audience Data & Advocacy Tools - Brand new interactive dashboards the provide very useful and specific data on behaviours and attitudes towards the arts in Australia. Includes a filter that allows you to see results for young people.

  • TNA databases - TNA has a couple of databases that might be useful in identifying some of the companies (assets) in your electorate, such as the Performance with/for/by Young People Companies and Circus & Physical Theatre Companies databases.

  • Champing of Arts and Culture meetups - Every three weeks in the lead up to the election, TNA is holding meetups for members to offer support and guidance about how to do your own advocacy in your local electorate, to present different policy ideas and approaches, and to offer a way for you to tell us what is important to you. At least one session will be dedicated to this campaign.

Email Guide

TNA has prepared a guide to help your write an email (or letter) to your MP. If you're time-poor then using this guide will do the job, but we encourage you write something that is your own, and to be more personal and specific to you and your organisation/community/electorate.

Note that the guide is written for MP's/candidates in a party. If it is an independent MP/candidate, you will need to change the language to reflect this.

Click here to download the guide [.docx]

The email guide contains the following elements:

    1. Addressing your MP/candidate - simply use their salutation (Mr/Ms/Mrs etc) and their last name.

    2. Stating where you live and the electorate (it is important that the MP/candidate knows you live in their electorate).

    3. A clear statement of purpose (the reason you are writing to them).

    4. A sentence or two on who you are, to personalise the letter and show your connection to the topic. Keep it brief and relevant!

    5. Acknowledge/thank them for something (if applicable). MP's are people too and acknowledging their work will make them feel valued. It also shows you are a resident who pays attention.

    6. Use some stats about your electorate that emphasise the importance of art and culture in your electorate. You can easily find and use ones from the Australia Council electorate profiles, or you might have your own.

    7. Mention some other arts and culture assets in your electorate. This is an opportunity to put some things on your MP's/candidate's radar and talk about why they are important.

    8. A statement on why arts and culture are important.

    9. A statement on why we need a National Cultural Plan.

    10. A statement on what needs to go into the Plan.

    11. An ask for concrete action. 

    12. An ask for a response and/or a meeting.

Key Facts

Research indicates that investing in programs and activities that ensure all Australians have opportunities to access a broad variety of arts and cultural experiences from a young age, irrespective of their family’s location or financial position, can help to break down social inequities. [SOURCE] 

  • 74% of young people surveyed reported that their mental health was worse since the outbreak of COVID-19.
  • 86% of young people surveyed reported a negative impact on their mood, wellbeing or sleeping.
  • 77% of young people surveyed reported a negative impact on their work, study, or financial situation.
  • 50% of young people reported that COVID-19 had an impact on their confidence achieving future goals.
  • 86% of young people reporting using activities and hobbies as a way of coping with the COVID-19 situation.
  • Young people’s resilience needs to be reinforced and enhanced. [SOURCE] 

Research shows that Australian students who actively engaged with arts, culture and creative activities had higher levels of motivation and self-discipline, better self-esteem, higher life satisfaction and were better at bouncing back from academic setbacks. [SOURCE] 

US students from low-income families who participated in arts and culture at school were: three times more likely to earn a university degree; twice as likely to volunteer; and 20% more likely to vote as young adults. [SOURCE] 

  • Quality arts education has distinct benefits for children’s health and socio-cultural well-being.
  • Benefits of arts-rich programs are only tangible within high quality programs.
  • Quality arts education programming tends to be characterised by a strong partnership between the schools and outside arts and community organisations. [SOURCE] 

Find the full list of TNA Quick Facts here.

We're here to help

If you need any advice or assistance, please email TNA General Manager Joshua Lowe at josh@tna.org.au

Happy advocating!