marcus westbury

my life. on the internets.

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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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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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August 25th, 2009 4 Comments

I’ve been using the word “initiativist” recently to define my philosophical approach to culture. I used the term in my lecture in Newcastle the other night and attempted to sneak it into my column in The Age this week but it was removed by an overzealous sub-editor probably on account of it not being a […]

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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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Art for Arts Sake v. Creative Industries

July 21st, 2009 3 Comments

Musings about the relationship between art and creative industries that originally appeared in The Age. There is probably much more to say on this topic but probably not witout the sweeping generalisations inherent in 700 words. SHOULD governments fund the arts “for art’s sake”, or should they be developing “creative industries”? It may seem like […]

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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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Culture and Recessions

June 22nd, 2009 3 Comments

A FRIEND of mine visited Melbourne for the first time in more than a decade last week. The last time he was here was in the early ’90s, in the middle of the last great recession to hit this city. The Melbourne he remembered was the one that was broke and broken. He’d heard about […]

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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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A billion lost opportunities?

March 21st, 2009 15 Comments

The Sydney press is reporting this morning that the NSW state government “has agreed to fund a $1 billion project to finally bring the Sydney Opera House in line with its designer’s vision.” This decision is one that is so staggeringly out of touch with the realities of cultural policy at the moment that it […]

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The problem of scale

February 23rd, 2009 21 Comments

I am writing this on the train from Sydney to Newcastle on my phone as my laptop is dead and in need of charging… Returning from Newcastle after a very successful launch weekend for the renew Newcastle project, I’ve started to reflect on some of the larger policy questions. In part this is inspired by […]

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