Concrete Expressions: The Public Value of Performing Arts Centres

Dr David Adair,
Sue Fisher
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We can all agree with the principle that the performing arts should be integral parts of a healthy cultural diet. But what are the ingredients for a public good rationale for the performing arts? And how do iconic performing arts centres fit into the mix? In Australia, members of the OZPAC forum of performing arts centres – the Sydney Opera House, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the Arts Centre in Melbourne, and the Adelaide Festival Centre – work with Brisbane’s Griffith University to answer these questions.

There is little research to date on performing arts centres’ contributions to the maintenance of healthy cultural systems. Researchers, governments and other stakeholders have instead been preoccupied with the pressing governance and finance problems of performing arts companies. Yet economists are increasingly questioning whether financial reporting can adequately recognise values that are not easily quantifiable or assigned a market value.

Meanwhile, changes in cultural consumption and in modes of governance are prompting the centres to take a more proactive role in urban life; they are reconfiguring their internal and external spaces to better engage with their publics and adjacent urban spaces; and they are developing strategies to improve their management of cultural and social outcomes. This paper reports on aspects of the OZPAC/Griffith University ‘Sustaining Culture’ research collaboration that address these shifts in the role of performing arts centres.

Keywords: Performing arts centres, Cultural value, Sustainability
Stream: Arts Agendas
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr David Adair

Research Fellow, Faculty of Arts, Griffith University

Dr David Adair is a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Arts at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. He works as a researcher and project manager on ‘Sustaining Culture: the role of performing arts centres’, a research collaboration between Griffith and the OZPAC forum of Australian and New Zealand performing arts centres. David has taught art theory in the South Australian School of Art at the University of South Australia, and film and media studies, cultural studies, and cultural history in Griffith University’s School of Arts, Media and Culture. His research interests include: relations between ethics, aesthetics and politics; histories of artistic and sexual milieux; cultural diversity; the practice and field of sexual dissidence; and the arts and civic capacity-building.

Sue Fisher

Senior Lecturer, School of Art, Media and Culture, Griffith University

Sue Fisher is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts, Media and Culture at Griffith University and is developing a curriculum for a new Masters in Arts and Cultural Management. She also works as a researcher on “Sustaining Culture: the role of performing arts centres”, a research partnership between the University and the OZPAC forum of Australian and New Zealand Performing Arts Centres. Before joining Griffith University, Sue worked in the field as a manager, board member and researcher, with experience in arts funding and advisory agencies at all three levels of government in Australia. As a cultural economist, she has significant expertise in arts policy development, and has managed one of Australia’s largest arts and business training programs, the GST Arts Education Program. Sue’s research interests include the protection of cultural diversity, methods of arts advocacy, and measures of cultural value.

Ref: A06P0113