Feb 1, 2013

‘Not just a whole lot of nice gigs’: life in arts bureaucracy

What does an arts funding agency look like from the inside? Crikey chats with former deputy director-general of Arts Queensland Leigh Tabrett to find out.

Ben Eltham — <em>Crikey</em> arts commentator

Ben Eltham

Crikey arts commentator

Spare a thought for the people derisively labelled as “arts bureaucrats” by many a starving artist (including, at various points of his life, your correspondent).

Unlike their colleagues in the more precarious sectors of artistic and cultural endeavour, public servants in arts agencies enjoy a steady pay cheque and some nice super. But in return for the public service day job, they earn the contempt of many in the art world. The rest of the public service doesn’t appear to take them too seriously either — especially not policymakers in the central departments of government, who mainly encounter “the arts” when an arts agency comes begging for a bailout for this or that orchestra or festival.

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One thought on “‘Not just a whole lot of nice gigs’: life in arts bureaucracy

  1. Gavin Moodie

    An interesting piece.

    I suspect there’s a bit of academic writing on cultural policy and economics which could inform the ‘policy underpinnings’ Tabrett seeks.

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