Produced by independent think tank A New Approach (ANA), Transformative: Impacts of Culture and Creativity documents the substantive international evidence showing that many significant national issues are improved through greater cultural and creative engagement.
A New Approach Program Director, Kate Fielding, said of the report, '...[it] provides an abundance of evidence that culture and creativity inspire and enable meaningful change across some of our biggest public policy challenges, both for individuals and communities.’
The report explores how investing in culture affects seven broad aspects of Australians’ lives: society and place; the economy; innovation; health and wellbeing; education and learning; international engagement and how engaging with creativity builds a strong cultural life across the nation.
Ms Fielding said that despite the evidence, and the fact many people are engaged in cultural activities, Australia is yet to fully galvanise culture’s power for good.
‘While the report shines a light on some of Australia’s biggest present-day challenges and the evidential benefits derived from a ‘cultural fix’, there is currently no clear mapping of the benefits of arts and culture across policy portfolios, and no mechanism through which to encourage strategic investment to advance the positive impacts,’ she said.
‘If Australians are to enjoy the benefits of enhanced creative and cultural activity, it will require commitment, courage and collaboration from all stakeholders, including philanthropists, businesses, non-government organisations, creators and consumers, as well as all levels of government.’
The good news is that Australians are enthusiastic participants in cultural activities. The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that almost every Australian engages in some way, and the vast majority (82.4%) attend cultural events and venues. This demand is a significant economic driver in Australia, with households spending more than $25 billion each year on cultural goods and services, while 600,000 people work in Australia’s creative and cultural economy.
The ANA report contends that with a strategic and coordinated effort, Australia has an opportunity to enrich its cultural fabric and become a happier, healthier, smarter, wealthier and more cohesive country.