Holly Walker

How do we create a real golden age in the arts in NZ?

by Holly Walker

Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Christopher Finlayson found himself fighting a losing battle on twitter last night as he tried to defend his hyperbolic claim that New Zealand was currently experiencing a “golden age” in the arts under his watch.

It started when Labour MP Grant Robertson tweeted about the underwhelming funding for the arts in Budget 2013, including cuts to public broadcasting, regional museums, and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. Minister Finalyson tweeted back, calling Robertson “tragic” and making the “golden age” claim. Grant has blogged about the exchange here.

Twitter’s creative community leapt into action, resulting in a very amusing hashtag #goldenage highlighting just how far from the truth that claim really is. Finalyson responded by tweeting a long list of funding decisions and projects he has provided over which he said demonstrated the truth of his claim. True, there are some positive measures in there, but the twitter audience wasn’t buying it.

So is there a silver lining to the golden age debate? It got me thinking – with an eye to reviewing our Arts, Culture, and Heritage Policy – what would it take to create a real golden age for the arts in New Zealand? I asked for some ideas from tweeters, who had some great suggestions:

  • developer-proof Artists’ Reserves for inner city urban decay areas
  • support for NZ screen production, incl. documentaries. Talent development e.g. NZ scale version of nfb.ca
  • review of Creative New Zealand’s goals and objectives
  • art works commissioned or bought as a percentage of build cost for all public buildings
  • return of the Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment scheme, with extra mentoring
  • arts apprenticeships
  • prime time arts documentaries; and
  • return of TVNZ7!

What do you think? What policies do you want to see to create a real golden age for the arts?

Published in Society & Culture by Holly Walker on Sat, May 18th, 2013   

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