On the ground and in the know

Asia is Australia's nearest neighbour and our two regions have long had relationships on social, economic and cultural levels. To identify opportunities for strengthening cultural ties between Victorian artists and arts organisations and their Asian counterparts, Arts Victoria partnered with Asialink Arts to undertake a research report on cultural engagement between Victoria and Asia in 2013.

The overall picture arising from the research project was one of a developing maturity in the Victorian arts sector with regard to the opportunities and challenges of engaging with Asia. Arts organisations were looking to increase their engagement with Asia over the following five years and wanted the tools and support to facilitate this.

Some of the findings included:

  • Asia’s was priority for more than 60% of organisations
  • Engagement with Asia was a higher priority for arts organisations in the following 5 years compared to the previous 5 years
  • 54% of organisations surveyed have a specific Asia strategy
  • Key countries for Asia focus were India, Indonesia, China, Japan, Singapore and South Korea
  • Cultural exchange, creative development, cultural diplomacy, business development and research were key reasons for cultural engagement
  • Key activities were touring; residencies; professional development; and exhibitions.
  • Key outcomes were knowledge; skills and networks; organisational profile and reputation; marketing; and audience development.
  • Smaller organisations and individual artists were more active in cultural exchange initiatives and more willing to take risks than larger organisations that had a greater requirement to balance commercial returns with cultural exchange
  • There was recognition that one-off projects don’t necessarily lead to sustainable relationships
  • Successful engagement with Asia required a long-term commitment and substantial investment
  • Long-term relationships required repeat visitation, people-to-people communication and opportunities for two-way exchange and collaboration
  • Return on investment was most frequently quantified in terms of increased profile, skills, knowledge, confidence and demonstrating the diversity of contemporary Australia, in addition to financial returns.


Full report