Published in Overland Issue 236 Spring 2019 arts funding Introducing Overland 236 Jacinda Woodhead Since learning that we are to lose $80,000 a year in funding from 20211, we’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on contemporary literary culture and its public perception. To put this figure in perspective, $80,000 is about three editions of the print magazine each year or three roles at the magazine (we only have four positions, or the equivalent of 2.2 full-time staff). Anyone involved in the arts or literature is used to precarity: funding and support comes and goes and is often finite; no-one likes to give money to keep the lights on. Funding has allowed Overland to produce provocative and cutting-edge Australian culture for many years; our online magazine means that this contribution occurs not only quarterly, but that each and every day we provide space for diverse and dissenting perspectives, cultural interventions and new writing. Funding has allowed us to support writers and editors, new and established, and to build toward a more equitable and participatory literature and world. But a lack of funding affects the stability of organisations, resulting in a disposable attitude to the arts. A cyclical arts culture might suit some forms or projects, but it’s not how literary journals happen. When you run a journal, mostly you keep doing the same thing: finding writers, working with writers, publishing writers. It is from these ordinary literary activities that extraordinary cultural works are produced. Popular culture is incredibly important and perhaps it can at times support itself, but we also need culture that is unpopular and challenging. Moreover, the idea that journals should be economically sustainable implies that the market can fix things. This is the same market that limits our futures, that gives everything a dollar value, that each season brings global warming to us more rapidly. Why is this the mechanism that should dictate how society functions? In Overland 236, we’ve a series of prize-winning short stories that exemplify the excellence possible in the contemporary short story, thirteen pages of stunning poetry and essays on subjects ranging from streaming television to Cook commemorations to the death of Stacey Tierney in a Melbourne strip club. At Overland, we think art is necessary to being human, not a ‘luxury’, or a pastime for the unoccupied rich. 1. A result of the Australia Council’s four-year funding process. For more, see ‘An era of throwaway arts’. Read the rest of Overland 236 If you enjoyed this piece, buy the issue Or subscribe and receive four brilliant issues for a year Jacinda Woodhead Jacinda Woodhead is a former editor of Overland and current law student. More by Jacinda Woodhead Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays 1 First published in Overland Issue 228 2 November 202030 November 2020 Sexuality Is sexual reproduction in art still taboo? The case of Casey Jenkins and the Australia Council Sandra D'Urso Arts scandals over the theme of sexual reproduction vary in their details, but there are similarities in that the undercurrent of feeling displayed by decision-makers sometimes breaks through the procedural surface of the discussion – or where it stays under wraps, as is the case with the Australia Council’s decision to rescind, it circulates beneath the official language as an electrified absence. 4 First published in Overland Issue 228 23 January 202011 March 2020 Main Posts All hole and no plot: fixing Australia’s literary sector Kate Larsen 'Simultaneously thriving and tenuous, Australia’s literary ecosystem is the ultimate alignment of ‘unmet need’ and ‘unfunded excellence’ ... We are all gaps and all excellence. We are all hole and no plot.'