Diversity Arts attends national roundtables to strengthen employment in the arts

The Hon Tony Burke MP, the Minister for the Arts and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, recently hosted two national roundtables featuring key members of the arts and cultural sectors. These roundtables aimed to develop strategies to strengthen employment opportunities for Australian artists, including First Nations artists.

Diversity Arts, along with workers and organisations across the sector, were invited to Parliament House to share our experiences and perspectives. We discussed the urgent challenges facing creative careers, addressing issues such as skills shortages and safe workplaces. The discussions aimed to create a shared understanding of the employment struggles faced by arts workers, identify allies and partners across government and other sectors and implement strategies to improve working conditions for creatives. 

Our conversations fed into the Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit on 1–2 September and will inform the development of the new National Cultural Policy. It’s clearly a critical and reflective time for the government. We must continue stressing the importance of protecting the livelihood and rights of artists, especially for underrepresented First Nations and CALD communities.

Vitally, Diversity Arts advocated for culturally diversity and equity principles to be embedded in every part of the new National Cultural Policy. We advocated for greater accessible pathways and minimum diversity standards that promote inclusive representation of CALD Australians, along with comprehensive ways to monitor and evaluate CALD representation. 

We hope that these discussions lead to a more sustainable, enriching and, most importantly, equitable creative sector going forward.

The severe impact of Covid-19 on artist employment

The past two years of cancellations, lockdowns and lost opportunities have had a devastating impact on the creative sector. Our 2020 survey on lost work and wellbeing of creatives of colour, showed that culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) artists were hit harder – faced with intensified racism and further marginalisation.

Read our recent report, Lost Work 2.0 Report: The impacts of the pandemic on creatives of colour and First Nations creatives, which demonstrates why arts employment is a pressing and critical issue.

Read full report