Ben Eltham —

Ben Eltham

Crikey arts commentator


How do you get Australians to stream Australian music?

May 14, 2018 4

Like the shift to streaming television, more and more Australians are listening to music through streaming services. But are they listening to Australian songs?

Should Netflix be forced to screen more Australian content?

May 9, 2018 5

Industry groups are ramping up a communications policy push, and the focus is on a certain foreign streaming service.

Why the Australian arts sector could be in for a major reckoning

April 26, 2018 10

There's a dense web of influence between our finance sector and cultural institutions. After the royal commission, does it make sense for bankers to head arts organisations anymore?

In conversation with new arts think tank program director Kate Fielding

February 23, 2018

The inaugural director of Australia’s new arts and culture think tank has her work cut out for her.

MYEFO shell game liberates $5.4 million from arts funding

December 19, 2017 3

The federal government has sprung yet another surprise funding raid on the Australia Council, writes Ben Eltham.

Bullish film industry ignores looming threats at Screen Forever

November 17, 2017 4

Things are looking up for the Australian screen industry, writes Ben Eltham. So why is everyone so nervous?

Patrons object to Australia Council’s new Venice Biennale transparency measures

November 2, 2017 1

Why are wealthy philanthropists upset about changes to Australia’s presence at the Venice Biennale? Maybe because they can no longer run their own show.

Should the Sydney Theatre Company keep Ian Narev on its board?

November 1, 2017 3

The Commonwealth Bank’s Ian Narev may not be too popular with regulators or investors, writes Ben Eltham. But Narev retains the confidence of one key group: board members of the Sydney Theatre Company.

Arts sector pulls out the big guns to fight the culture war

Arts sector pulls out the big guns to fight the culture war

September 6, 2017 2

A new arts lobby group will crunch cultural spending by federal electorate, and use focus groups to hone a pro-culture message, reports Ben Eltham. But will it work?

Can an actual artist afford to go to the Melbourne Festival?

August 1, 2017 2

Most artists earn below the minimum wage for their art. So how are they going to be able to afford a $700 Melbourne Festival ticket?

Not a single female author in Australia worthy of ABR’s gender fellowship

March 10, 2017 3

Literary journal ABR advertised for a ‘gender fellowship’. But when the applications came in, none were deemed good enough.

Another $9m secretly slashed from Australia Council

Another $9m secretly slashed from Australia Council

February 10, 2017 4

The government has taken another $9.2 million from the Australia Council, without any notice. The council decided at a board meeting to draw down $10 million from its own reserves.

Uni students are dropping out at scandalous rates? Not so fast.

January 20, 2017 11

The problem with the "uni students are failing to graduate!" narrative is that it is a massive beat-up.

Aussie arts sector to get a new think tank, but is that a good thing?

December 9, 2016 2

An underground conference and a new think tank announcement from the top end of town show that Australian culture is starting to mobilise.

Govt wants to prop up opera while small arts companies sing the blues

October 26, 2016 6

The government wants to bail out Australia's large opera companies. But small-to-medium companies suffering under funding cuts are not happy.

James Paterson’s sledge of Pollock painting is jingoistic dog-whistling — and it’s wrong

October 7, 2016 20

Senator James Paterson says the Australian government should sell Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles. But it would mean selling more than a canvas.

The real reason George Brandis took so much money out of the arts

August 5, 2016 7

Why did George Brandis conduct the 2015 Excellence Raid? There is one very simple reason.

Totally coincidentally, noisy critics of arts cuts miss out on funding

June 7, 2016 4

The Australia Council’s funding cuts have hit grassroots organisations representing artists, particularly hard.

Labor’s arts policy brings passion, vision to election — finally

June 6, 2016 9

Labor's arts policy is largely a repair job, but Shorten's passion for it harks back to the grander visions of Labor greats like Gough Whitlam.

‘Devastating’ OzCo grants just the tip of the iceberg

May 23, 2016 7

The Australia Council budget cuts are even worse than they seem. And the worst is yet to come.