marcus westbury

my life. on the internets.

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Originality? Now there’s a novel idea.

June 16th, 2010 1 Comment

TO ALL of you who have suddenly developed a concern for the lack of originality in art and culture: Thank you! I’m pleased, but frankly, I can’t say I entirely understand it. To be honest much of the reaction to the Sam Leach’s winning of the Wynne prize has flat out confused me. It’s not […]

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Can i have $30m too please?

March 26th, 2010 5 Comments

Was Cate Blanchett seriously asking for $30 million for the performing arts last week? The big splash is a common provocation but not necessarily one to always be taken literally. To be fair, Blanchett did more than just ask for money. She made a passionate speech defending the social and economic role of the arts […]

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Australia Council should burn some midnight oil

March 22nd, 2010 6 Comments

There is something slightly disingenuous about the spin that came with the Australia Council’s More than Bums on Seats: Australian Participation in the Arts survey released last week. At the very least, it’s a double-edged sword. At the superficial headline level, the report shows that Australians love and value the arts. But dig a little […]

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Opera’s opportunity costs? (or sing fat lady! Sing!)

November 30th, 2009 9 Comments

LYNDON Terracini has been outspoken and surprisingly frank about the limitations of Australia’s major performing arts companies in recent weeks. The incoming Opera Australia artistic director has slammed Australia’s orchestras and opera companies as “conservative and predictable,” admitted that Melbourne has been poorly served by Opera Australia from Sydney and, most notably, has drawn attention […]

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Crowdsourcing a cultural policy?

November 23rd, 2009 3 Comments

National Museum of Australia WHAT HAPPENS when the Federal Government puts a call out to the public to make suggestions about a cultural policy? After a few hours of reviewing some of the submissions, it would be fair to say that the quality and usefulness of the submissions so far have been decidedly mixed. Despite […]

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A history of Australian arts policy

November 22nd, 2009 2 Comments

In response to some recent posts and articles of mine about arts funding and cultural policy,  Nick Herd from the Australia Council pointed me to this comprehensive history of arts policy in Australia prepared by the Parliamentary Library. It’s very useful background reading for anyone thinking of putting in a submission to the National Cultural […]

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Creators make culture not bureaucracies

August 31st, 2009 12 Comments

WHERE does culture actually come from? It’s a question that we don’t usually ask but it’s one with some major implications. We should ask it more often. Conversations with audiences, artists, creators and administrators have convinced me that our basic assumptions about culture are wrong. We mistake the major arts centres, theatres, festivals, galleries and […]

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Why governments should do more non-funding the arts

July 31st, 2009 3 Comments

IS THE best thing government can do for artists always to fund them? A preoccupation with funding is understandable but it obscures many other things governments can do to foster a rich and thriving culture. There are even things that governments can do that cost almost nothing at all. Funding is actually peripheral for a […]

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Evolution and Creation: Australia’s Funding Bodies (Meanjin Essay)

July 6th, 2009 4 Comments

I was commissioned by Meanjin late last year to write an essay about the role that funding bodies play in Australian culture.  It appears in the current edition of the magazine and is now available online. Meanjin is one of Australia’s oldest and most esteemed literary journals and one that is currently enjoying a renaissance […]

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Creativity needs Creative Destruction

June 16th, 2009 2 Comments

It can be incredibly difficult to kill an arts company in this country and damn near impossible to simply let it die a natural death. Come the apocalypse, the only things likely to survive are cockroaches, email spammers and arts companies. Yet finding a way to let things die is vitally important in the realm […]

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