I’m currently in Brisbane visiting my family (my father has recently retired) and I got the opportunity to visit my friend and colleague Gen Canavan, a former board member of Straight Out of Brisbane.
Gen is a bit frustrated with the Brisbane arts scene. As keen observers of the scene here, we are both disappointed by the continued “all or nothing” approach to arts funding that seems to characterise the cultural funding priorities here. So, while our festival Straight Out of Brisbane was allowed to wither on the vine, millions more are thrown at Lyndon Terracini’s achingly middle-brow Brisbane Festival; similarly, the big state-funded institutions like the Queensland Art Gallery and State Library of Queensland enjoy budgets that exceed those of the entire Queensland small-to-medium sector combined. (Perhaps this explains why they seem to be the only ones with the resources to pursue interesting and innovative programming up here with decent marketing campaigns).
Queensland is also the home of the Australian “creative industries” movement, often described in overseas literature as the “QUT school.” I note that Robyn Archer is publishing an essay defending art-for-arts-sake funding in a forthcoming Griffith Review … stay tuned for an analysis of that when I get my hands on a copy.