With the next South Australian election on 19 March 2022 and a Federal election looming in the coming months, the Arts Industry Council of South Australia (AICSA) has outlined the five key messages that will be the focus of its advocacy.

The five priorities have been developed from AICSA’s Key Issues Survey conducted in May 2021, which provided a snapshot of the South Australian arts sector’s current priorities and concerns.

The five platforms, in summary, are:

Valuing First Nations arts and culture, first: 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: Ongoing and well-resourced grants and operational programs, fellowships, and public employment initiatives for artists and small-to-medium organisations. 

A new future for artist education: High quality, artist and practice-led, equitable centres of education that value, nurture and lead the future of the arts sector.

A fair deal for artists: Fair jobs, pay, entitlements and security, and initiatives that combat artists’ poverty and precarity, and keep artists and artworkers working and making work.

Living well in South Australian cities: Affordable housing, thoughtful arts infrastructure and liveable cities that support artists to work where they live across 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, Chair of AICSA.

The two imminent elections offer ‘an opportunity to put forward some big picture priorities for the future of arts and culture here in South Australia,’ Alice added

At a federal level, AICSA has stated its commitment to working with 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.

Emma Webb, election advocacy coordinator for the AICSA executive committee, said: ‘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.

‘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,’ Webb said.