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Christopher Madden replies to Ben Eltham

Ben Eltham’s article from Overland 200, ‘Culture is bigger than the arts’, has spurred considerable discussion. Here, we publish a response from cultural policy researcher and analyst Christopher Madden.

Madden argues:

Eltham also suggests that ‘[a]s online, networked and digital forms of culture continue to grow and proliferate, the Australia Council’s policy ambit becomes correspondingly more minor and less important.’ But, the figures show, creative involvement has grown substantially in both new and old art forms. Craft involvements hardly stagnated, and in many cases grew faster than activities based on newer technologies. Some craft involvements grew by staggering amounts – jewellery making by 204 per cent, and ‘other craft activities’ by 113 per cent!

Though three years old, these numbers are hardly representative of an Australian culture being overrun by digital practice. If anything, they evoke the opposite – resilience in ‘traditional’ culture, maybe even a cultural equivalent of the ‘slow food’ movement.

You can read the full article here.

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