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Making art work: a summary and response by the Australia Council for the Arts

Arts Artists Arts funding Australia

In this report, the Australia Council for the Arts presents and responds to key findings from the latest iteration of the Macquarie University study of professional artists - Making Art Work: An Economic Study of Professional Artists in Australia, the sixth in the landmark series carried out over more than thirty years for the Australia Council. The series tracks trends in the careers of Australian artists, providing crucial evidence to underpin support and advocacy for their integral role in our society.

Thousands of professional artists across Australia have contributed to this study since the 1980s, providing information about their artistic practice, earnings, career trajectories and broader lives. In its sixth edition, the series continues to provide the most comprehensive picture available of practising professional artists in Australia.

In this companion report, the Australia Council has placed the key survey findings alongside other literature and analysis to highlight and contextualise emerging trends, and to discuss what they mean for Australian artists into the future.

Artists are explorers and navigators of the new, and they create, work and live in a connected world undergoing profound disruption. Artists are not alone in navigating changes, and this report touches on complex issues facing professionals across industries in Australia and globally. The pace and scale of global change presents particular opportunities and challenges for artists that are critical to understand given the social, economic and cultural value of the arts. Among their varied contributions, artists play a central role in creating, questioning, recording and sharing cultural knowledge, and in fostering social cohesion.

Please note: a series of interactive dashboards providing additional research data can be accessed via this web link

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