Don't Cut Creativity

An initiative to keep creativity alive in Australia. Say no to unemployment Federal Budget cuts.

Give the Beginners a Chance

It has emerged in the United Kingdom that professional composers are asked to produce new music for fees well below the average price.

A report by Sound and Music in the UK revealed startling statistics that showed “66% of the 466 composers who responded stated they do not find commissions to be a significant proportion of their income. Given that the respondents had an average of 2.65 commissions in 2013 with an average fee per commission of £1,392”, as stated in an article by The Guardian.

These results raised questions about what the future of music is going to look like, particularly for budding composers.

If we see trends like these appearing in the Australian music scene, there becomes less incentive for people to pursue music as a viable career path. Particularly, with there being restrictions to who can receive the dole and how accessible it is, not having a sustainable income is going to drive people away from starting a career in music.

As The Guardian article states,

“It… means that new voices are blocked from emerging… It takes heroic commitment to become a composer if you’re from a working class background, with higher education courses charging fees in the thousands of pounds and remuneration for your compositions so low.”

Cutting the dole, making it harder for people to access it removes the possibility of people abusing the system but it also punishes people who rely on it so that they can contribute to the arts and culture industry.

We need to keep the welfare system as it is so that people can continue to add to the cultural landscape in Australia or we risk living in a society where arts and music is created by only those who can afford it.

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And In The Art World…

You can still catch the works of talented Australian artists of Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2014 at the Art Gallery of NSW.

They will be running until the 28th September and will exhibit some of the finest works from Australian artists.

The winner of the Archibald Prize this year is Fiona Lowry with her portrait of Penelope Seidler.

Australia has a buzzing artistic landscape. Let’s keep the dole so that we can continue cultivating arts and culture in Australia. Who knows, maybe a future Archibald Prize winner could be out there and only needs a little welfare help to get started.

Check out Fiona Lowry and her winning portrait in the video below:

More details about the exhibition can be found at the Art Gallery of NSW’s website.

They’re famous now but who else was once on the dole?

The dole has helped many people in the creative industry. Some you may recognise as big names in the creative industries.

Early in their careers, they ended a little help and they got it. The welfare system kicked off their careers, giving the much needed time and money to focus on their work.

In an earlier post, we mentioned Wil Anderson, an Australian comedian who was previously the host and executive producer for the highly successful advertising show, The Gruen Transfer series and later spin-off’s such as Gruen Nation and Gruen Planet, as well as the host of popular podcasts Wilosophy and TOFOP and all round talented stand up comedian. Without a helping hand from the government in the form of welfare payments in the beginning, there may not have been the comedian we now know and love as a nation named Wil Anderson.

Someone else that would have got lost in the works had there not been an accessible welfare system in place is none other than Bernard Fanning of Cold Chisel fame. The band member himself stated in an article titled Australian Idle that “My career highlight would be going off the dole, being able to earn a living.”

Many other people who are now successful have been on the dole at some point in their lives, including Emma-Kate Croghan, writer and director of the 90’s low budget movie Love and Other Catastrophes. 

Many notable Australians have been on welfare in order to get their careers going and we need to continue to make sure that the system stays accessible because you never know where talent may be lurking.

Read more of the Australian Idle article here: http://www.theage.com.au/news/arts/australian-idle/2006/07/27/1153816322194.html

Sometimes, A Little Help Is All We Need

Earlier in the year, regular Australian funny man, Wil Anderson, made comments in support of the dole.

As a comedian, he knows all about what it is like to start out and the struggles that come with this.

In a news.com.au article, Anderson said “I can’t imagine any stand up comedian who didn’t go through a period on the dole.”

Many musicians, actors, artists, comedians and various other creative types fully commit to their work and in order to do so, they often find that it means giving up their jobs to pursue their dreams.

The dole is not a choice but is often turned to when creatives want to get serious about their work. Lacking proper financial support, many seek welfare payments to tide them over just in the beginning while they get started.

Despite being a well known comedian who takes a crack at almost everything, it wasn’t very much fun living on welfare payment back in his early days.

Anderson recounts what life was like then telling news.com.au that “People don’t want to be on the dole, it’s always been this idea that it’s easy, but it’s terrible having no money, doing all the pointless work, constantly being rejected.”

“I would catch up with people from uni and would pray that when the bill came I would only have to pay for what little I ate, if someone suggested splitting the bill eight ways I would be f***ed for the week.”

But look at him now. Imagine if we didn’t give him a chance. Imagine if it was in our current context, where the government is looking to restrict the access to unemployment benefits. Would he have taken the risk? Would Anderson have pursued his career, become incredibly successful and given the Australian public plenty of laughs?

We need to keep the unemployment system as it is and make accessible to everyone. It isn’t fair to limit people in pursuing their dreams, in particular in the arts and culture sphere as Australian society will suffer for it in the end.

Keep the dole system as it is because you never know where another talented person could be who just needs a helping hand.

Read the article here: http://www.news.com.au/finance/money/wil-andersons-brief-time-on-the-dole-was-well-spent-for-him-and-australia/story-e6frfmci-1227008792262

Cut the Dole, Cut Creativity from Australia

Art and creative practices provide the essence of society. They are the pursuit of the dreamers and our imaginations. The fact that we all possess the ability to imagine and develop things from this makes it seem unfair to limit the ability to do so to only those who can afford it.

The Federal Government’s proposed changes to the current welfare system severely reduces public accessibility. While it is understood that these changes are supposed to stop those who abuse the system, are we to do so at the expense of artists and creative types?

Many artists, musicians, actors and comedians rely on welfare payments to get through the initial stages of their career. Not everyone comes from a privileged enough background where they are able to pursue their dreams with enough financial support.

To pursue these lines of creative work, it often takes a lot of time and energy. To be successful and produce quality work, real commitment is necessary and sacrifices need to be made. These sacrifices can often mean giving up full time work in order to focus on their craft.

By forcing those under 40 years of age who are looking to go on the dole to apply for 40 jobs per month, it cuts into time that people can be using to work on their craft. Society needs to start realising that pursuing creative lines of work doesn’t mean that they will be a financial burden. Given time and a little assistance through the dole, it is very possible that artists and creative types might actually develop their craft well enough that they will contribute to society in one way or another.

The “Learn or Earn” policy will, in the long run, create a society where education and employment will be on a high, but the art world will suffer. There will be no incentive to be creative and is this really a society that we want in Australia?

A little help in the beginning could be all that is necessary for creatives to get started. Cutting the dole and making these changes will help unemployment rates and weed out dole abusers but in the wider picture, will put a dent in the arts and culture world of Australian society.

Cut the dole and you cut creativity. It’s as simple as that.