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In August 2018 the Australian government released Sport 2030 – a comprehensive plan to reshape Australian sport and build and healthier, more physically active nation. But what makes for an effective, comprehensive and inclusive policy when it comes to the arts and culture sector? How can policy inspire and create cultural confidence in all Australians? And is it wishful thinking to aim for a national arts and cultural policy that spans three tiers of government, with agreed levels of investment and targets, and an effective delivery mechanism? For independent think tank A New Approach (ANA), these questions are top of mind, especially as the role of arts and culture in our daily lives take on a striking new relevance in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Seven years after he began his science degree at Sydney University, 26-year-old Alexander Pereira is heading to Stanford University for postgraduate studies in philosophy. It’s a journey across the disciplines he didn’t anticipate back in 2014 but one that demonstrates the potential for the renewal rather than the ‘death’ of the Humanities around the globe.

This first appeared in The Australian on June 21, 2021 and is republished courtesy of The Australian.

The other forty-nine pieces in Discovering Humanities have described discoveries, advances, breakthroughs and new understandings in humanities from the last fifty years in Australia. But there is so much more … By describing a tiny proportion of the many other discoveries made in the same period, this last, fiftieth, piece is a reminder of just how much more has been discovered and is being discovered by humanities researchers.

International collaboration is fundamental to humanities research. It provides the foundation for informed engagement in areas such as policy, trade, and diplomacy, and ensures that we can address challenges that cross national borders, such as climate change, ageing populations, cybersecurity, and systemic inequality.

Today, on the 52nd anniversary of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, we are introducing a new monthly feature in which we reconnect with many of our past Presidents.

It’s a chance to cast our minds back, learn lessons from the past; weigh up the current state of the humanities; and consider how, as a collective, we can address some of the biggest challenges of the future.

Our first Past-Presidents’ Perspective is with leading Australian musicologist Emeritus Professor Malcolm Gillies AM FAHA, who was President of the Academy from 1998-2001.

In Session 2 ‘Continuous & Diverse: A  Long History of Many Cultures’ from our 2020 Academy Symposium, artist Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, designer and film producer Alison Page, artist Michel Tuffery, and filmmaker Lynette Wallworth add their voices to this discussion and draw on examples from their own artistic practice to demonstrate how we can begin to construct a more inclusive story of our nation – and all its people – through the arts: a story that doesn’t simply insist upon what we have known, but that unearths our unknowing and puts us all in conversation with one another, to ‘share the long held stories.’

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.