Culturally Diverse Creatives fear they’ll be hit hard by pandemic shutdowns: 91% predict income loss

Culturally Diverse Creatives fear they’ll be hit hard by pandemic shutdowns: 91% predict income loss


23 March 2020: The Australian arts, performance, live events and creative industries will feel unprecedented impacts of COVID-19. Artists and creatives of colour are among the most vulnerable in an already precarious sector.

Last week, Diversity Arts Australia, the national voice for cultural diversity in the arts, cultural and creative industries, launched a survey to measure the impact on culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) creatives in the Australian sector.

“We need a thriving, diverse creative community to sustain and reflect contemporary Australia through these challenging times. Artists and creatives of colour were already amongst the most marginal in our sector and now their situations are worsening due to COVID-19. Data obtained in Diversity Arts Australia’s Lost Work for Artists and Creatives of Colour survey shows just how vulnerable our talented creatives are,” said Diversity Arts’ Executive Director Lena Nahlous


Launched on Wednesday 18 March, 163 responses have been received and our still streaming in. Diversity Arts will continue to update results as the survey stays open. To date, artists and creatives speaking over 29 community languages have responded to our survey. Survey respondents spoke over 29 community languages and 85% identified as CaLD, 8% identified as First Nations, 17% as LGBTIQ+, and 9% as a person with disability.

Of the responses received by COB on 23 March, 91% were expecting to lose income over social distancing measures. 

Respondents felt the impact of travel bans (as many are closely connected with creative communities overseas) and the cancellation of classes, which provided much-needed income.

Particularly vulnerable are artists / creative workers from refugee backgrounds, and other migrants who are on bridging visas or not yet permanent residents or citizens, who do not qualify for the Centrelink and stimulus package benefits announced by the federal government.

The survey revealed an overriding sense of trepidation about the future among CaLD and other marginalised artists:

“On Monday 16th March I opened my emails. Subject lines read Cancellation or Postponed. All shows, and creative youth arts projects cancelled. No payments. No extra options.”

Many respondents feared COVID-19 would affect them more than other artists:

“Freelance writers and artists of colour experience the usual industrial precarity which is then redoubled by our economic and social marginalisation within the Australian culture industries.”

“Not only have I lost creative work, as an Indigenous performer I have also lost the essence that feeds it, eg being able to go home (I am from a rural community at high risk)…this virus not only threatens my professional life but also my cultural life as an Indigenous woman.”

Read the entire media release

Call to action for support packages and preliminary survey results

Media Release

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