What Matters?: Talking Value in Australi


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ISBN 9781925523805

Tully Barnett, Julian Meyrick, Robert Phiddia


Weight 0.35 kg


often, cultural leaders and policy makers want to chase the perfect metric for
activities whose real worth lies in our own personal experience. The major
problem facing Australian culture today is demonstrating its value – to
governments, the business sector, and the public in general.

When did
culture become a number? When did the books, paintings, poems, plays, songs,
films, games, art installations, clothes, and the objects that fill our daily
lives become a matter of statistical measurement? When did experience become

book intervenes in an important debate about the public value of culture that
has become stranded between the hard heads (where the arts are just another
industry) and the soft hearts (for whom they are too precious to bear
dispassionate analysis).

argues that our concept of value has been distorted and dismembered by
political forces and methodological confusions, and this has a dire effect on
the way we assess culture. Proceeding
via concrete examples, it explores the major tensions in contemporary
evaluation strategies, and puts forward practical solutions to the current
metric madness.

time is ripe to find a better way to value our culture – by finding a better
way to talk about it.

About the author
Julian Meyrick is a theatre director, historian and cultural policy analyst. He was Associate Director and Literary Adviser at Melbourne Theatre Company, 2002-07, where he established the new play development program, Hard Lines. Currently, he is Strategic Professor of Creative Arts at Flinders University, Artistic Counsel of the State Theatre Company of South Australia, and a member of both Currency House editorial committee and Council of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Board. He has directed more than forty award-winning theatre productions, and has written for the Conversation, Daily Review, InDaily, the Monthly and the Sydney Review of Books. His latest book Australian Theatre after the New Wave was published by Brill last year. Dr Tully Barnett is a Lecturer in English at Flinders University, and Research Fellow with the ARC Linkage project Laboratory Adelaide: The Value of Culture. She has stuck with the trouble on digital humanities since multi-path novels on CD were a cool thing and publishes across cultural policy, digital humanities, and reading as a practice. She is the co-author of Counting culture to death: an Australian perspective on culture counts and quality metrics (2017) . She serves on the boards of the Australasian Association of Digital Humanities and the Australasian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres. Robert Phiddian is a professor of English at Flinders University. His particular interest is political satire, from Jonathan Swift to John Clarke, and his words appear in media from academic journals and university presses to Australian Book Review, the Conversation and radio. He was the founding director of the Australasian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres, and has been involved with the Adelaide Festival of Ideas since the events inception in 1999, thrice chair of the programming committee.

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