Building an Arts-Based Innovation System: The Australian Experience

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The creative industries seek to reposition the art and design disciplines and the digital content industries within post-industrial societies where knowledge and networks are seen as key drivers of economic growth. However this poses a particular challenge for the arts, that sector of the creative industries with traditions which are highly suspicious of any links between art and economics. Nevertheless in Australia there have been recent calls from within the arts, and also from business and government, for the arts to play a more prominent role in the innovation system of the country
Based on a review of 15 years of arts and innovation literature this paper investigates and presents six arguments for including the arts in Australia’s national innovation system. They include:
• the cultural argument: the arts create and promote an atmosphere of innovation
• the skills argument: a rich and immersive arts education builds the skills required of a future innovative workforce
• the knowledge argument: the arts create new knowledge for innovation through creative production and processes, including collaborations with other disciplines, such as science, within and beyond universities
• the commercialisation argument: the arts can convert new knowledge and research into profits through entrepreneurial activity
• the economic argument: the arts, as part of the creative industries, occupy a substantial, growing, enabling and innovative part of the economy
• the systems argument: the cultural sector is an innovation system within which various institutions and organisations behave as innovation hubs.
The paper concludes with a number of recommendations to ensure that the arts sector—particularly the performing arts, visual arts and crafts, new media arts and creative writing—should be included in Australian Government innovation policy development and play a significant role in national innovation.


Keywords: Arts and Innovation, Australian Innovation Policy, Creative Industries
Stream: Arts Policy, Management and Advocacy
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Prof. Brad Haseman

Assistant Dean (Research), Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Professor Brad Haseman has worked as a teacher and researcher for over 30 years pursuing his fascination with the aesthetics and forms of contemporary performance and pedagogy. Brad is an author, workshop leader and speaker, regularly presenting throughout Australia, Asia, Europe and Canada. He maintains his practice as a drama educator in university and corporate settings. His current research investigates practice-led methodologies for the arts and models for evaluating the impact of the arts in community and corporate settings. Brad is chief researcher on a major research project in Papua New Guinea to develop applied performance programs for HIV/AIDS education. In 2008 he co-authored the Occasional Paper 'The arts and Australia’s national innovation system 1994–2008' for the Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) and was appointed to the Australia Council for the Arts where he chairs the Community Partnerships Committee.

Ref: A09P0521