more on the Small Arts Sector Research Project

A couple of days ago I wrote about the new Small Arts Sector Research Project the Arts Industry Australia (Victoria) are involved in and Deloitte who are conducting the research. I missed the meeting this morning, so I can’t say much about that, but they have announced a survey as a part of the project to conduct research into the size and nature of the state’s arts sector, with a particular focus on small unfunded organisations.

As much as I want to be really supportive of any projects that could benefit the eviscerated state of small arts groups in Melbourne and Victoria, there is a lurking nemesis in me who remains unimpressed and can’t fathom why research is again being conducted. Australia Council has a junkies habit for blowing large wads of money on reports; when I was at VCA the same thing seemed to be occurring, and now this, in which I am trying to think happy thoughts but reading the first question of the survey, I went “meh…”

Is your organisation’s average revenue from all sources more than $3 million annually? If your organisation has been around for less than 1 year, please answer based the projected annual revenue.

Look, I might be a bit slow, but “based the projected annual revenue” I have this niggly suspicion isn’t well-formed English, and possibly missing an “on”, but doilooklikeliknow?. Perhaps it’s just my irrational hatred of apostrophe-death in “your” for “you’re” that is spurring my language fascism, but if you’re getting government funding at least make the sentence legible, especially if the survey is specifically aiming at organisations where English isn’t a first language.

“The results of this study will inform future policy and funding decisions. So the (questionnaire) represents a golden opportunity for small arts organisations to have a say.”

I was about to go through some of the questions wherein providing a meaningful answer is precluded by the suppositions of the survey itself, but realised I was about to get waspish, and really without daily chocolate I do get a bit psychotic. So, please go and fill out the survey now. It is open for the ridiculously short time of one week from today, so unless you have no life like myself and hoover up announcements in a facile pretense of purpose you probably won’t hear about it until some time mid-2000-and-x when the results get published and wtf?!? when did they do this survey? is your considered response.

To save everyone time though I have done my own esteemed and peer-assessed research and can give the results forthwith: The answer to the question of “the issues facing small arts communities” is money. Money money money money. Can I say it any more clearer? We need more money! Unless the results of these surveys cause vast tides of currency to flow into art – not edifices or administration but new art made by artists – … arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic springs to mind. Must … have … money … …

An anecdote: The only time I have ever been in a situation making dance that could not be solved by throwing more money at it was funnily enough in China, where at 6:1 exchange rate, I could throw quite considerable piles of Chairman Mao’s mug at any impediment I might encounter. I have never had that giddy experience in Australia.