on the arrogance of “top down”

screengrab from Office for the Arts newsletter

screengrab from Office for the Arts newsletter

Just spotted this via email on my phone as I was walking & was so mad I had to quickly post it to my Facebook page with the following comment:

This assumption that regional/remote communities “have never seen live performance or exhibition up-close” is utterly offensive. culture does not only reside in cities. *fume* http://www.arts.gov.au/resources/newsletters/art-and-culture/2012/05/road-trip

Now I’m back at my laptop I’m looking at the full web article. I was hoping to see something to make me feel that it was an unfortunate abbreviation just for the emailout. But this is the full page [click image to go to their website]:

full web page screen grab

full web page screen grab

Now I’m obviously all for roadtrips (um, dur), and it’s great that there is funding available to tour work – this is one huge country! But seriously… what kind of arrogance states that culture needs to be TAKEN TO remote and regional Australia without even vaguely considering that culture MIGHT ALREADY EXIST AND CAN BE SHARED FROM there?

This is exactly why reallybigroadtrip is designed to be located on a bus* that will be going out to creative people wherever they are based. And it is exactly what is being misunderstood about the National Broadband Network – that it’s a 2-way system, not an old-school broadcast model. Never mind where this leaves the National Cultural Policy thinkings…

The fact that funding usually favours the ‘mainstream’ over the ‘niche’ is not news. But that such blatantly biased messages are being transmitted from the Office for the Arts is just appalling – especially considering Minister Crean’s focus on regional and remote communities.

Come on guys, sort it out. It’s time to grow up and recognise that not everything begins and ends with cities and large institutions. Amazing things start from the ground up. The more you ignore them or patronise them, the more you miss out. More fool you.

* …assuming I reach my campaign target

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