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Taskforce formed to improve job security for SA artists

The state government has announced the members of its promised taskforce to investigate work insecurity and income inequality experienced by South Australian artists and arts workers.

Mar 22, 2024, updated Mar 22, 2024
A hot WOMADelaide didn't deter the crowds, but the arts workers who put on SA's shows need more security to make a living from their expertise.

A hot WOMADelaide didn't deter the crowds, but the arts workers who put on SA's shows need more security to make a living from their expertise.

Minister for the Arts Andrea Michaels today announced 27 experts from across the arts, cultural and creative industries would make up the taskforce.

She said the group’s work would “help create better outcomes and opportunities for artists and arts workers in our state”.

“Our arts, culture and creative sector contributes so much to South Australia and to the wellbeing of our community and it is vital that we ensure the sustainability of the sector for the long-term,” she said in a statement.

Members include Art Gallery of South Australia chair and former Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor, Adelaide Festival chief executive Kath M Mainland and artistic director Ruth Mackenzie and South Australian actor and writer Elena Carapetis.

“Arts and culture are intrinsically part of who we are in South Australia and I’m looking forward to working with the Minister and the taskforce to improve job security for artists and arts workers,” Verschoor said.

Members will convene regularly over four months to provide recommendations to the minister on actions the State Government can take to address the issues artists and arts workers face in South Australia.

“Our workforce is the backbone of our industry and is instrumental in making the amazing cultural events we have here happen,” Maitland said.

“It’s great that there’s a specific taskforce to focus on them.”

The members are:

  • Alison Lloydd-Wright (Chair)
  • Elena Carapetis
  • Daniel Connell
  • Aaron Connor
  • Mimi Crowe
  • Christopher Drummond
  • Sarah Feijen
  • Jennifer Greer Holmes
  • Angela Heesom
  • Justyna Jochym
  • Amanda Macri
  • Ross McHenry
  • Nicholas Linke
  • Nathan Luscombe
  • Kath M Mainland / Ruth Mackenzie
  • Lewis Major
  • William Mellor
  • Jo O’Callaghan
  • Anthony Peluso
  • Rhys Sandery
  • Simon Tait
  • Sandy Verschoor
  • John Wardle
  • Emma Webb
  • Patricia Walton
  • Samuel Whiting
  • Rebecca Young

The taskforce comes after criticism from the sector about the state’s investment in the arts and ongoing concern about the parlous position of arts workers.

As outlined by InDaily in September last year, data shows Australians are engaged with the arts and see them as important to society.

The first major study of arts and cultural engagement since the pandemic – Creating Value: Results of the National Arts Participation Survey, published in September 2023 – showed that 97 per cent of Australians are engaging with the arts and 68 per cent are attending live events and festivals, on par with 2019 figures.

In this report, “the arts” includes Australians’ self-reported engagement with theatre, dance, visual arts and craft, music, literature, cross-art form and First Nations arts. It includes attending the arts live, creative participation, engaging online, listening to music and reading books.

The frequency of attendance has declined – driven by cost-of-living pressures and other barriers to access – which is continuing to create challenges for arts companies and venues relying on box office and subscribers.

But there has been an increase in the number of Australians wanting more – greater opportunities for arts engagement and more accessible events.

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