In early 2017 TCI commissioned Justin O’Connor to conduct a qualitative survey of the Creative Industries sector in Tasmania. Some of the findings were presented at the Undisciplined conference 19–21 October 2017. Feedback was also sought from a TCI steering committee meeting on 2nd November2017. In late November a quantitative study commissioned by TCI from the University of Tasmania’s Centre for Cultural Value was made available. Finally, the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (TCCI) annual report on the state of the economy, written by economist Saul Eslake came out in early December. This final document takes account of all of these, and is part of an ongoing conversation, led by TCI, on the future of creative industries in Tasmania.
The primary focus of both the qualitative and quantitative studies was cultural production. It did not look directly at audiences or end users (such as tourists), though these are of course crucial. So when we talk about participation, or access, or diversity we are looking at those involved in some form of cultural production (and for the qualitative survey, this can mean unpaid or secondary work).
The aims of this survey were threefold:
1. To determine the health of the creative industries ecosystem in Tasmania;
2. To identify what the sector feels government and other major cultural/ educational organisations might do to support it and enhance its sustainability;
3. To sound out the sector’s view on its current position in public policy and how it might be reframed to government and the wider public.
This was primarily a self-assessment by the sector of the health of the creative ecosystem and its relationship to public policy and government. We chose the word health to reflect a concern with the well-being and sustainability of the sector, and its overall ability to deliver cultural value. Whilst the creative sector is clearly an economy in itself (it has contracts, markets, employment, supply chains etc.) and does make a contribution to the wider Tasmanian economy, the report starts from the perspective that its primary value lies in its ability to deliver cultural goods, services and practices which inform and entertain, enhance and enrich our individual and collective lives. ‘Ecosystem’ was used to describe the complex mix of individuals, businesses and institutions involved.
Interviews and on-line survey focused on:
- opportunities for participation;
- diversity of practitioners and product;
- sustainability of working conditions, availability of skills, people, audiences and materials; sociality of networks and the infrastructure of cultural value;
- connectedness within the sector and with other sectors as purchasers, suppliers, collaborators, neighbours;
- recognition, how it is viewed and valued by publics and governments.
These findings are based on a series of seven discussion groups and six one-to-one interviews conducted in August 2017, and an on-line survey with 311 responses.