Making Art Work

This 40-page summary of David Throsby and Katya Petetskaya’s report Making Art Work: An Economic Study of Professional Artists in Australia offers a pithy insight into Australia’s professional creatives – download it here. Based on responses from 826 Australian professional artists surveyed in 2016 and 2017, it asks questions such as ‘Can artists earn a living from creative work?’ and ‘How is global and technological change impacting Australian artists and their work?’, the report also takes a fascinating look at diversity in the arts.

Some interesting findings:

  • Artists of non-English speaking background account for 10% of artists compared to 18% of the workforce.
  • Non English-speaking background (NESB) artists have consistently been under-represented among the artist population (8% in 2001 and 2009, 10% in 2016) .
  • The number of NESB artists who feel their background has a negative impact on their arts practice has increased from 15% in 2009 to 19% in 2017.
  • However the majority (54%) still see the impact of their background as more positive than negative.
  • Twice as many NESB artists say the lack of access to funding or other financial support is the biggest limit to their professional development at the present time (18% compared to 9% of others).
  • While the same proportion of NESB artists as other artists apply for funding (55%), fewer NESB artists report receiving it (60% compared to 68%).
  • The proportion of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) individuals among applications for Australia Council funding has increased from 20% in 2017 to 23% in 2017.
  • Over the same period, successful Australia Council CALD applications have increased from 19% to 29%.

Find this report and more resources and research on diverse arts on the Resources section of our website.