performers on stage

The Becalmed Heart is a large-scale immersive installation work created from over 20,000 reclaimed plastic bags by Victorian artists Brienna Macnish with Clare McCracken and Robert Jordan (2015), supported through Creative Victoria's VicArts Grants program. Photo: Vikk Shayen

Victorians can already be proud of the quality and depth of our creative industries. We have a national leadership position in many areas, communities that value and engage with culture, creativity and talent, and institutions and businesses that are among the best in the world. However, these achievements are under constant pressure from Australian and international competition. They should not be regarded as the endpoint but the platform upon which to build. 

Research and consultation identified a number of areas that can be improved and where government can take new actions to make a difference. 

Sustaining creative practice 

Practitioners and organisations consistently report difficulty in sustaining a creative practice. At the artistic end of the spectrum, this sometimes means finding the time to develop work, accessing affordable space or managing upfront costs. At the commercial end of the spectrum, there are often difficulties in raising finance, navigating the regulatory environment, gaining business skills or developing export markets. 

Technology disruption 

Technology has enabled massive transformations in areas such as music, film, television, publishing and games. It has provided entrepreneurs with fertile ground for new business and it continues to demand innovation and adaptation of traditional models. In some areas, it has opened the way to more engagement with overseas markets and intensified international competition. 

New markets 

The local market for creative services, like design, is small by global standards and, while local demand is increasing, most firms must look to export revenue to achieve growth. Victoria's distance from some of the major markets is challenging and means that artists and businesses must work hard to make an impact on the global stage. Demand across Asia for creative services and cultural product is growing fast and continues to present opportunities for Victorian organisations. 

Under-utilisation of creative services 

Creative services and cultural experiences have untapped potential to secure social outcomes but have suffered from lack of investment and co-ordination to date. Much more could be done, across different social policy areas, with community organisations and different parts of government to trial new approaches, demonstrate impact and encourage investment. Design firms represent a high proportion of Victoria's professional services sector but more can be done to improve general design understanding and expand its business application in line with international benchmarks. 

Access and diversity 

Access to cultural experiences and employment within the creative industries is uneven and inequitable, with room to improve access for people with a disability and for Victorians in regional and outer metropolitan areas. There is still work to be done to ensure that diversity in our cultural products and experiences reflects the diversity of our population. 

The state's Aboriginal communities are also not adequately reflected in creative products, employment and audiences. Ensuring the widest diversity for creative participation helps to improve access, audience appeal and commercial success. 

Metropolitan and regional growth 

Victoria is the fastest growing state in the country, creating new demand for creative products and services. Victoria's strong population growth, however, puts pressure on existing infrastructure, adding to maintenance costs and, in many cases, underlining the need for expansion and renewal of facilities. At the same time, some regions and outer suburbs are experiencing high population growth, while others are facing population adjustment and decline. Actions need to have broad reach as well as the flexibility to meet the varying needs and aspirations of our regional communities. 

Open all hours culture 

Melbourne's vibrant arts and live music scenes, its late night bar and restaurant culture and flexible approach to planning give it a foundation to become a truly global cultural destination. Events like White Night, all night exhibitions, performances and festivals and our live music scene exemplify the willingness of our venues, visitors and local audiences to embrace an always-on approach to culture in the city. 

Career pathways 

The pathways between school education, tertiary study and creative careers are not always well defined and can be difficult to follow. Employment rates for graduates of arts and other creative disciplines are relatively low and opportunities to gain hands-on, relevant industry experience are too limited.