The Arts Industry Council of South Australia has developed a suite of key messages that will be the focus of our advocacy in the leadup to upcoming State and Federal elections.

The messages have been developed from AICSA’s Key Issues Survey conducted in May, which provided a snapshot of the priorities and concerns of the South Australian arts sector, as well as other insights provided by an industry deeply affected the COVID-19 pandemic. The messages were presented to AICSA’s Annual General Meeting on 26 May.


Valuing First Nations arts and culture, first
First Nations cultures, communities and artists are central to South Australia, the nation and the world. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, and artistic and cultural practices in all their diversity, should be supported through an ecology of initiatives, institutions, communities and contexts, of varying well-resourced scales, that are First Nations-controlled and led.

Funding the foundation to thrive
Individual practising artists and small-to-medium arts organisations form the foundation of the arts sector and cultural economy, through their original artistic and cultural production, their employment, and their engagement with audiences. Artists and small-to medium organisations should be funded to thrive in South Australia, through ongoing and well-resourced grants and operational programs, fellowships, and public employment initiatives.

A new future for artist education
South Australia deserves high quality, artist and practice led, equitable and publicly funded tertiary education and training. Now is the time to commit to a new future of educating artists from around Australia, in South Australia, with centres of education that value, nurture and lead the future of the arts sector.

A fair deal for artists
Artists and artworkers deserve fair jobs, pay, entitlements and security. Forward-thinking policies such as an arts employment strategy, portable leave entitlements, basic income pilots, and strategies to combat artists’ poverty and precarity, and stop wage theft, will keep artists and artworkers working – and making work – in South Australia.

Living well in South Australian cities
Arts and culture are part of the lifeblood of South Australian cities, suburbs and regions. Keeping artists living well in our cities – from the centre of Adelaide to our regional centres – makes for healthy and vibrant communities and destinations. Affordable housing, thoughtful arts infrastructure and liveable cities all support artists to work where they live in our State.

“While the arts and cultural sector continues to grapple with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear to AICSA that our sector wants to see progressive and visionary policies that support long-term artistic practice and that improve the training, working and living conditions of artists” said Jessica Alice, Deputy Chair of AICSA.

“With the next South Australian State election occurring on 19 March 2022, and a Federal election due to be called anytime between August this year and May next year, there is an opportunity to put forward some big picture priorities for the future of arts and culture here in South Australia”, she said.

Additionally, federally AICSA will work with our national colleagues to advocate for a new Australian arts and cultural policy, and the strengthening of equitable, peer assessed, arms-length funding support for artists and arts organisations through the Australia Council.

“AICSA has presented these priorities to the Premier of South Australia, Steven Marshall MP, to the Opposition’s arts spokesperson Katrine Hildyard MP, and Greens Members of the Legislative Council Tammy Franks and Robert Simms. We have also begun meeting with Federal representatives in South Australia, commencing with Greens Senator, Sarah Hanson Young” said Emma Webb, election advocacy coordinator for the AICSA executive committee.

“We are keen to see all parties and political candidates put forward strong arts policies that match the needs and priorities of the arts and cultural sector, and that extend beyond emergency measures in response to the pandemic to supporting the longer-term sustainability of arts practice and a fairer future for artists”, she said.