As a nation we are facing unprecedented challenges, as we wrestle with the consequences of back-to-back bushfire and pandemic crises as well as Australia’s first recession in 29 years. Arts and culture have a significant role to play in helping Australia address these challenges, including setting the tone for how we view ourselves as a nation now and into the future.
2020 has been a record year for challenges: catastrophic bushfires, a brutal global pandemic, the shutdown of our cultural and creative sectors, unemployment shooting up the charts, and a massive fee hike for those wanting to study humanities, arts and social science courses at university.
The Australian Academy of the Humanities today expressed deep concern about the Government’s changes to university fee structures, which disproportionally affect the humanities and call into question the very role of the 21st-century university.
The COVID-19 pandemic had helped shine a light on what it means to be human, and humane. It has challenged us to work on the most complex issues in a collaborative and collegiate way.
A key research report ‘A view from middle Australia: Perceptions of arts, culture and creativity’ commissioned by independent arts and culture think tank, A New Approach (ANA), captures Australians’ passion about the role art and culture plays in our lives.
The first quarter of 2020 can best be summed up in one word – ‘unprecedented’. From severe drought, to calamitous bushfires, and now COVID-19, every element of our lives has been touched in some way. The Australian Academy of the Humanities offers its deepest sympathies to those experiencing loss, illness, isolation and financial strain at this extraordinary time. The Academy champions the contribution humanities, arts and culture make to our national life, and recognises the severe impact the current pandemic is having on all areas of society.
As we start a new decade, Australians have the opportunity to consider what makes our nation special, while at the same time, reflecting on where, and why, we might be losing our way. The tragedy of this summer’s bushfires, and the incredible collective response by volunteer firefighters, donors, neighbours and communities, has shone a light on some of our nation’s greatest strengths – our resilience, generosity of spirit, and compassion.