Frequently asked questions

What do you mean by arts and culture?

We take a broad and inclusive view of arts and culture.

Our view includes — but is not limited to — galleries, libraries, archives and museums, music, screen, gaming, creative industries, performance, literature, visual art, community-engaged practice, hybrid and experimental forms, language, festivals, craft, heritage, design and live art.

Our unique Australian culture is expressed through the many and varied cultural activities we engage in and enjoy.

Why is arts and culture important?

Cultural activities are the things we do to experience, enjoy, learn from and keep evolving our shared culture. It includes our own creative expression as well as experiencing the creative work of other people. There are many personal, social, economic, cultural and global benefits of investing in cultural activity that we want to understand better.

How was A New Approach established?

A New Approach was established in 2018, seeded by a $1.65M commitment by The Myer Foundation, The Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and The Keir Foundation. The Australian Academy of the Humanities is the lead delivery partner for this initiative and A New Approach is based in its Canberra office. Kate Fielding is the inaugural Program Director.

Governance and advisory

The Council of the Australian Academy of the Humanities is the governing body for A New Approach.

Three advisory committees have been established to support the work. They are:

Steering Committee: Professor Joy Damousi FASSA FAHA (Chair), Sue Cato, Professor Malcolm Gillies AM FAHA, Phillip Keir, Rupert Myer AO and Leonard Vary.

Reference Group: Rupert Myer AO (Chair), Kim Allom, Jane Curry, John Daley, Genevieve Lacey, Shelagh Magadza, Damien Miller, Alison Page, Laura Tingle and Mathew Trinca AM.

Research Working Group: Professor Malcolm Gillies AM FAHA (Chair), Distinguished Professor Ien Ang FAHA, Professor Tony Bennett AcSS FAHA, Distinguished Professor Stuart Cunningham AM FAcSS FAHA and Professor Jennifer Milam FAHA.

Why was A New Approach established?

A New Approach was created to address a shortfall in up-to-date, independent and accurate data and research which paints a clear picture of the trends—past and present—for investment in Australia’s arts and culture, and which can lead a national conversation on the future needs for the sector. There are many personal, social, economic, cultural and global benefits of investing in cultural activity that we want to understand better through our research.

Will you be consulting with the arts and culture sector?

Our focus is on increasing understanding of the value, importance and contributions of creativity and culture for all people in Australia and highlight opportunities to strengthen that. This includes, but is not limited to, the challenges experienced by the sector. To ensure our work is current and well-informed we engage with peak bodies, government agencies and sector representatives throughout the course of our work to understand these challenges and opportunities.

Are you going to look at what has worked overseas?

We will consider international examples, but it is important that we consider them in their context: what may be effective in some countries or regions may not work in an Australian context.

Does A New Approach commission research and other projects?

A New Approach’s active research agenda may require us to commission additional research and projects. Calls for Expressions of Interest may be made if this is required.

Does A New Approach grant funds?

A New Approach is not a grant-making body.

Who do you represent?

We are an independent, apolitical think tank, not a representative body. In the broadest sense, we represent and champion the aspirations for an ambitious, active and engaged cultural life in Australia.