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Articles by Ben Eltham

Big Day gets out, and smaller is probably better

With the Big Day Out on the hunt for a new site, the economic impact of big festivals has never been more important. But are tourist dollars really the best way to measure the impact of cultural events?

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Screen Oz calls cut on funds — drama ends six months early

Australian film and television funding body Screen Australia has spent all its drama budget — six months ahead of the end of the financial year. How could it let the kitty get so low?

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Theatre reviewer’s curtain call shows bare stage of criticism

Australia’s best blog devoted to theatre criticism has frozen in time. There are fewer opportunities for thoughtful arts criticism, robbing culture of important conversations.

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Media, cultural policy: pieces of the puzzle not in place

Australia is entering a “convergent media policy moment”, according to academic Terry Flew. How will the various pieces of the cultural puzzle fit together on this difficult issue?

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Govt kills the (community) radio stars, stations fear

Community radio — which plays more Australian music than commercial rivals — relies on a government-funded project to put tracks to air. But will that money be there in 2013?

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After social media storm, NSW arts funding magically appears

The power of social media has helped roll back funding cuts to two prominent regional arts organisations in NSW, HotHouse Theatre in Albury-Wodonga and the renowned Renew Newcastle project.

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An artistic map with routes to another country

Fremantle Arts Centre’s current exhibition We Don’t Need A Map is an artistic journey into a unique part of Australia, giving local desert people the chance to tell their stories.

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Subsidies boost TV production, gamers promised more

Simon Crean was talking up the government’s response to the Convergence Review at this year’s Screen Producer’s Conference. TV producers — and game developers — are confident of a boost.

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Arts is local, storytelling digital, in co-creative communities

Community arts and cultural development is in transition. There might be a lack of policy direction, but grassroots organisations are getting on with the business of creating.

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Art an important pathway to Asian engagement

The federal government’s Asian white paper highlights the contribution the arts sector can make to engagement with the region. Local artists and institutions are already reaching out.

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How government austerity is squeezing smaller arts groups

Tight state government revenues mean small-to-medium arts companies face an uncertain future. Is the golden age of funding coming to an end?

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Will the stars align for Queensland’s new arts bet?

Queensland’s new Arts Minister has established a “superstar fund” to bring high-profile performing artists to the Sunshine State. But can she find a hit?

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Festival’s artistic laboratory a hive of all-star talent

The HIVE Lab is an innovative experiment in connecting some of Australia’s most interesting artists. And there’s a history of artistic result.

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Logic says film post-production firms struggling

The consolidation of the Australian post-production industry — led by Animal Logic — is another symptom of the highly competitive nature of global creative industries.

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Two-speed performing arts sector drags down attendance

New data released by the Australia Council confirms stagnating audiences for the nation’s largest performing arts organisations. But companies say it’s not as bad as it looks.

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NIDA dramatics ignore play on arts education

The war of words over the National Institute of Dramatic Arts distracts from the real debate about arts education. Why is the institute so gold-plated in the first place?

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Qld budget: arts cuts will silence smaller shows

Arts Queensland’s budget cuts will hit Queensland’s artists and small cultural organisations hardest. They won’t help minister Ros Bates’ dire standing in the Queensland arts sector.

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Performing arts audiences stagnating: Crikey analysis

A major new analysis of public source attendance data for Australian performing arts companies published today by Crikey reveals stagnating audiences across the sector.

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The day the music died (in store) goes to retail woes

Musicians and music lovers may have a fondness for their bricks-and-mortar stores, but the demise of Allans Billy Hyde shows music is not immune from the changes sweeping retail.

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Follow the OzCo money to find arts uncertainty

Arts Minister Simon Crean has announced that the “reform of the Australia Council” has begun. But not everyone is happy about the process, and the timetable remains uncertain.

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With Cate gone, can hubby keep the dollars at STC?

Was the Sydney Theatre Company’s decision to re-appoint Andrew Upton driven by the sponsorship dollars his wife can attract? Ben Eltham looks at Australian theatre beyond Cate Blanchett.

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Festival of sport and arts: blink and you won’t miss it

Do the arts and sport mix? More than 16 million people have taken part in a country-wide festival of culture to coincide with the Olympics. But like the rest of the Games, the artistic legacy is short.

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If MONA is our Guggenheim, does Walsh deserve a free pass?

Philanthropic punter David Walsh is battling to keep his millions. So what happens to his celebrated Museum of Old and New Art if he goes down? Ben Eltham examines a unique and precarious gallery model.

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In a world of art, advancing Australia’s fairs

As Australia’s largest art fair opens next week in Melbourne, Crikey examines the growing importance of art fairs in an increasingly global art market. Australia is emerging as a player.

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Who’s making money in art? Everyone but the artists

The National Association for the Visual Arts is running a campaign on artists fees at the moment. It tells us a lot about the risks of being an artist.

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