A New Approach

An independent think tank championing effective investment and return in Australian arts and culture.

After a successful three-year incubation with the Academy, A New Approach (ANA) – Australia’s leading arts and culture think tank – was established as an independent entity in 2020.

ANA was founded in 2018 through an initial three-year investment from The Myer Foundation, the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and the Keir Foundation. The Academy was selected as the key delivery partner to establish and shape the program and to deliver a series of research reports drawing on the expertise of the Academy’s Fellows.

Why are arts and culture important?

Cultural activities are the things we do to experience, enjoy, learn from and keep evolving our shared culture. They include our own creative expression as well as experiencing the creative work of other people. There are many personal, social, economic, cultural and global benefits of investing in cultural activity that we want to understand better.

Our Insight Report series

During the incubation period at the Academy, five thought-provoking, evidence-based reports on the status and importance of Australia’s arts and culture were produced.

The Insight Reports explore why and how governments, philanthropists, communities, businesses and individuals invest in arts and culture; what benefits and impacts this generates; and how we can ensure this investment is relevant and effective. Our reports provide data analysis, expert commentary and evidence-based recommendations that are not bound by government, jurisdiction, funding mechanism or artform.

This report establishes a baseline understanding of the quantum and trends in expenditure on culture by all levels of government over the last decade. It presents findings and opportunities based on meaningful comparisons between different years, levels of government and areas of expenditure.

The evidence is clear: when people have opportunities to engage in some form of cultural or creative activity, they generally have better educational outcomes, are less lonely, are healthier both physically and mentally, and enjoy a happier and healthier life in old age.

This report explores current attitudes to arts and culture amongst middle Australians, with a particular focus on swinging voters and marginal electorates in suburban and regional areas. It provides a window into the living rooms, workplaces and hearts of a group of Australians whose interests feature strongly in much of our political discussion and debate.

As a nation we are facing unprecedented challenges and there are some important opportunities and decisions ahead of us. Arts and culture are poised to play a significant role in helping Australia’s recovery. That is why understanding the drivers that inform our public policy settings for arts and culture is crucial for our future.

This report gives an overview of our cultural and creative economy and highlights opportunities for Australia to adopt a 21st century approach in this industry sector. It outlines the scope, scale and trends within the cultural and creative economy pre Covid-19, and highlights opportunities that respond to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) urging nations to ‘build back better’.

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.