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First Peoples

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This Cultural Infrastructure Framework illustrates how the Government of Western Australia aims to facilitate activities in arts, culture and creativity in their state. 

Key Findings:

  • Creative people of colour have identified barriers when navigating the arts sector in Australia. Increasing the availability of safe, accessible and affordable spaces has been identified as a key opportunity to addressing some of these barriers.
  • Currently an estimated 80 per cent of ‘Aboriginal style’ souvenir products and merchandise sold to the tourism market in Australia is inauthentic or fake. This has a significant impact on income streams for Aboriginal artists and misappropriates Aboriginal culture, knowledge and heritage. The prevalence of inauthentic products creates barriers to commercialisation of authentic products, lack of protection for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural expressions, and can result in economic and social harm. Funding is recommended for new infrastructure and capacity building for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and souvenirs markets, and for a voluntary trademark and mandatory information standards for authentic products.
  • There is significant opportunity in showcasing WA’s Aboriginal art, culture and heritage to the world, tourists and locals. WA’s Aboriginal Art Centre networks are positive models for showcasing Aboriginal artists nationally and internationally, engaging and supporting local communities. Collaborative initiatives could connect tourists from visitor centres, via cultural trails and digital networks. The cultural infrastructure required to support the remote Aboriginal creative sector is relatively low cost; and jobs in the creative and cultural industries allow for flexibility to address issues of seasonality, limited access and unstable markets that are features of remote production.
  • Digital distribution of cultural content has been identified as likely to have a long-term role in creative participation, transcending isolation and supporting wellbeing.44 However, the geographical vastness of WA continues to pose a challenge for digital connectivity. Reliable mobile communications and Internet connectivity are not always available. In order to provide and grow these services, there is an opportunity to invest in upgrading digital infrastructure.

It is critical that cultural infrastructure serves and improves the productivity of the creatives and cultural groups who will use it for their work. Greater public value will be attained if the cultural infrastructure is fit-for-purpose and optimised for the use, and sustainability of WA’s creatives.

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