Friday, August 23, 2013

Arts and Culture in Denison #2 Jane Austin, ALP discusses Jane Austen

It's time for episode two! Here is Jane Austin, Denison candidate for the ALP talking about arts and culture and what Labor's approach may be. This episode also features 'When Atwood met Austin.'
You can listen to the full interview here.

Jane Austin has read some Jane Austen but she found herself wanting to give it a good hard edit. “I think she could have tightened that up a little bit,” – but a lovely moment arose on the campaign trail when she was door knocking, a little old lady in her eighties disappeared soon after she had opened the door and came back with a little purse. A donation, she said for the book club Jane Austin was raising money for.
    While she says she is a "bit of a sucker for a happy ending," her number one writing heroine is Margaret Atwood. "When I was at uni doing Women's Studies and I was lucky to be studying Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tail when Fullers, a local bookstore hosted an 'in conversation' with the Canadian author.
"There I was with a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale, which is a fantastic work, I’ll never forget, she looked at me, read the name on the sticky note 'sign this for Jane Austin' and she just looked straight up at me and said in a lovely Canadian drawl “oh my gawd, I’ve met the first Jane Austin," and I just blushed.”
  In terms of arts policies and Labor - Jane acknowledges that while the ALP have overseen the creation of the first National Cultural Policy in years, that there is not yet a clear arts mandate if Labor were to be elected. Jane sees the government as an enabler of the arts.
    "In terms of policies in my hip pocket, I can’t bring any out, but I think that, as Mona has shown, there is such interest and such diversity in terms of what art is and discussion around art. I have had a number of discussions with people about what it role is, it is obviously a great economic boost for Tasmania but what is it doing? We are sitting here arguing and debating art and isn’t that a great thing?" She feels that we could place more emphasis on writing and the industries around it.
    A frustrated writer herself, mainly of one act plays - and she does have a novel in her bottom drawer, Jane believes it is important that we use the written word to capture who we are.
     With Jane’s background in mental health, promotion, discussion and policy it was interesting to hear her thoughts on the importance of creative practice and health.
     She belives that with mental health, the arts should be a therapeutic mechanism to explore recovery. “There is a very strong connection between arts and health and when we are investing in the health sector and health interventions it is really important in mental health promotion and  prevention to use community art projects to bond communities, connect communities."

And again - here's the link for the podcasted interview

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Arts and culture in Denison (numero uno) Anna Reynolds

So who is actually talking arts and culture in the lead up to the election? Apart from a tired stoush (he said + she said + denial) I've heard very little about arts policy - and nothing from the local candidates in Denison. So, I set out to interview all of the House of Reps candidates for Denison - and  you can listen to the first of these discussions, with Anna Reynolds, Greens candidate here.

Anna saves novel reading for holidays, satisfied with the likes of Guardian Weekly, which offers her a good sense of what’s happening in the world, a fix of news, science and the arts, and something that there is actually time to read in a busy campaign.

Christine Milne, Green leader announced a regional arts initiative a few months ago. This would fund regional arts and cultural development officers in local councils in regional areas - and yes, Denison is considered regional. It is a $10 million per year policy and it would also assist artists to get fees to help stage their exhibitions  -and therefore to allow them to focus on their creative practice. The idea of a living wage provision for artists has been discussed but at this stage it is not clear how it would be administered.

There has been no discussion about the practice of writing within this policy (yet).

In Denison the Greens recognise the need for places for young people to do street art – Anna specifically mentioned the intercity cycleway that runs from the city of Hobart, around the water, through Moonah out to Mona. “a place for young people to do street art, we could have a bit of a hub".

"There is such potential in Hobart, not just to make the arts a fulfilling part of our lives but a big driver for the economy,
  "I think we need leadership to show people why and how this can happen.We should learn lessons from (the city of) Bilbao – and how it has thrived from their proximity to a great museum."

Regarding creativity and health policy – nothing has yet been set out by the Greens - Anna acknowledges that "there is an underrecognition of the great value of the creative arts for our comunities and a feeling of fulfilment and the Greens want to do what they can to support this."

Can you can guess who Anna's favourite Tasmanian writer is?

Again! The podcast link!
Anna's website is here.




 

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