marcus westbury

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Creative Australia and Ministerial Impersonators

January 27th, 2009 by marcus

It’s taken me a long time to update it here (hey, i went on holidays in New Zealand for 3 weeks and they don’t have the internet over there yet) but i’ve been asked to sit on a “Creative Australia” advisory panel established by Federal Arts Minister Peter Garrett.

You can read all about it from this article from The Age. My personal favourite line was “Westbury was somewhat surprised to receive a call from Garrett last week, and at first thought it was his prank-playing brother who does a “half-decent impersonation” of the minister. But it was the minister himself phoning to ask whether Westbury would be on the panel.”

To be fair to both my brother and the Minister the mistake was entirely my fault. My brother really only does a singing, dancing Midnight Oil era impersonation of the Minister rather than a speaking, thinking, policying Ministerial one.

The more series upshot of all this will be an opportunity to have some input at the highest level of Australian Arts and cultural policy and as with the period leading up to the 2020 summit (you can see various posts about it here, here and here) I would strongly encourage input from you all.

The first meeting of the “Creative Australia” panel is slated for mid February.

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Alex Gibson Jan 27, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Hey Marcus, great opportunity… well done.

    We have many great artists and creative people in Australia, but they are undervalued. The language of class warfare is often evoked by people who view artists with contempt as elitists, while contradicting themselves by simultaneously praising elite athletes.

    I would like to see the promotion of a broad cultural change in Australia that seeks to develop a society that values its artists and creative people in the way sport is valued. This could be introduced with a life-be-in-it style campaign that spells out the importance and value of a Creative Australia to the whole population. Other promotional ideas could build on this, until greatness in art and creativity are viewed with the same passions as greatness in sport by the majority of the population.

    A measure of success after this campaign would be if elite athletes and an elite artists where both considered equally valuable contributors to Australian culture.

  • 2 Richard De Martin Jan 27, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Good one Marcus,

    Sounds like a great chance to push the barrow down the halls of power!

    I agree entirely with Alex on the point of putting the significance of creativity back into peoples awareness,

    There still exists a great crevasse of connectivity between the talent base and purposeful creation. As it is money is still going to those who would repeat the past so make them more vulnerable to the market forces and save government support for those who truly wish to change the way we see ourselves as Australians.

    I guess as the Prime Minister has demonstrated with his refusal to change the date of Australia Day in respect of aboriginal people, policy is only as useful as the people who create it and political expediency will win the day when it matters most.

    If sportspeople get public honours for gold medals then there needs to be a shift in the way that the people view our creators. Perhaps a system which places a value on creativity over the rhetoric of achievement.

    I don’t how to do it but you’ll be locking horns with those whose duty it is to find the truth and create the way forward.

    Good Luck

  • 3 Sam Hoffmann Jan 27, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Well done Marcus.
    I have just finished off a swathe of major festival work and am generally amazed at the the wealth of creativity that exists amongst the masses. Seeing people with random t-shirts , crazy outfits and wild hair styles reminded me that beyond the white walls , beyond the squat political space , everyday suburbia outputs ideas as well. Perhaps they are not framed in the right way , or that they seem to ‘bogan’ to actually qualify the tag of being ‘creative’.

    I’m interested in the way in which particpation can be created by those in the Middle and Outer rings. Have a look at the amount of DIY gardening magazines that are in a newsagency in a suburb like Greensborough and Im sure that you would come to this conclusion as well.

  • 4 Justin Wolthers Jan 27, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    To quote ‘i went on holidays in New Zealand for 3 weeks and they don’t have the internet over there yet’. Where the fuck were you staying bro? Did you have your laptop correctly configured? phttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ALL Art be it music or whatever else is at the end of the day bluffing and fluffing and chicanery and stepping on the stepping stones you see on others backs and making out something is more significant that what is actually is. Life is an illusion….

    I have worked FUCKING HARD to make a tiny income from the arts, creative Australia? Let’s do what Nick Cave did and live in exile of this shithouse fucking country and report back to it. PHTTT!!!!!