web - How might we fund the future? – FACT 2024 Symposium
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Stories & Ideas

Tue 27 Feb 2024

How might we fund the future? – FACT 2024 Symposium

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Your museum of screen culture

How can Australian cultural institutions find sources of revenue beyond traditional models?

Arts and cultural funding is being stretched by the debts incurred through the pandemic, challenging economic conditions, and also the unpredicrable effects of climate extremes. At the same time, technology in the cultural sector is not just expensive, but the salaries required to attract technically skilled workers to produce, operate and maintain these technologies are growing beyond the reach of even the bigger players. This is creating an inability for institutions to present or preserve contemporary works conceived by artist and creators working with the new mediums of this century. The long held thinking is that private philanthropy and corporate partnerships have been seen as a way to mitigate this growing gap, along with new models of direct to consumer funding, but what is actually going to be practical in the Australian context?


Malia Simonds (Bloomberg Philanthropies) , Dr Georgie McClean (Creative Australia), John Wylie (Tanarra Capital). Moderated by Sarah Slade (ACMI)

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Watch the video with graphic notations by Jessamy Gee

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Hello everyone. So we're ready to start our next session, How Might We Fund the Future? My name is Sarah Slade. I'm Executive Director of Commercial and Operations at ACMI and I'm really delighted to be moderating this session looking at the very gnarly issue of how might we fund the future and all of those of you who've been here for the last day and a half will not have missed the point that every session has mentioned about how we need more people, we need different people, we need different skills, we need more money, we need more models, we need more ways of looking at how we're going to address this gnarly issue. But first I'd like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and the waterways of Greater Melbourne, the people of the Kulin Nation and recognise that ACMI is located on the lands of the Wurundjeri people. I also pay my respects to elders both past and present and warmly acknowledge any elders who have joined us here today. We have three excellent panellists for this conversation and one of them you will see, Malia, is joining us from San Francisco. So while they were setting all that up, I'm just going to do the introductions from here and then join them for the discussion. We'd really like you all to take part in this conversation. I know you've all been contributing via Slido and there's been an opportunity for some of those questions to come up at the end. But for this we want to do that from the beginning. There'll be a prompt question, each of the panellists will give their answers to that question and then we'll be jumping right into your questions. So please start asking them from the beginning. But first let me introduce our panellists. We have Dr Georgie McClean who's sitting here. We have Malia Simonds who's on the screen from San Francisco and we have John Wiley, AM, who's in the middle. So Dr Georgie McClean is the Executive Director of Development and Partnerships at Creative Australia. She oversees sector engagement, research and professional development and digital culture strategies. She looks for opportunities to extend the public value of the cultural and creative industries with new partners in new ways. Prior to joining Creative Australia, Georgie has been a media arts leader who has researched and shaped creative industries dynamics, programs and policy for 20 years. With an applied research doctorate of cultural research, a masters of arts and communication, an MBA underway and strong practical knowledge of the screen arts and media industries, Georgie translates between ideas, research and practice. She has served on several boards including Diversity Arts Australia and the advisory boards of Queensland University of Technology's Digital Media Research Centre and Western Sydney University's Institute for Culture and Society. Joining her is Malia Simonds. Malia manages corporate philanthropy for the Americas at Bloomberg Philanthropies. She oversees a portfolio that includes engagement programs for employees and clients, collaborations with non-profit partners and corporate giving across the United States, Canada and Latin America. John Wiley is principal and founder of alternative asset investment firm Tanarra which manages $3.5 billion of funds investing in global venture capital, private equity, private credit and PE style strategies in listed companies. Tanarra's investors include many of Australia's largest superannuation funds, family offices and high net worth investors. John has 35 years experience in investment and finance in Australia, the US and the UK. He is the former president of State Library Victoria, chair of the Australian Sports Commission and the Melbourne Cricket Ground Trust. He is a trustee emeritus of the Rhodes Trust Scholarships based at Oxford University having previously served as a trustee. John and his wife Miriam are very active in the philanthropic space through their foundation which invests in a wide range of community organisations in education, indigenous programs, social inclusion, sport and wellbeing and various community interests. They also fund a pro bono strategic and financial advisory service for charities called Tanarra Philanthropic Advisors. John is also companion of the Order of Australia. So I'll move over after I've started this prompt question but I'd like to start the conversation with a prompt question to you all and that is over the last day and a half we've heard about a range of challenges and opportunities and one thing is clear, to make the most of these opportunities and manage the challenges existing funding models won't all work and new approaches are needed. What do you think should be considered? And Georgie if you'd like to start. Thank you. Thanks so much Sarah and I'd also like to add my acknowledgements to the custodians of this place, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation and pay my respects to elders past and present. So we get the very challenging task of finding solutions to the many challenges that have been posited over the last couple of days and I also just want to say to Seb and his team at ACMI what a stimulating couple of days it's been. It's been really fantastic to hear such great ideas and really kind of extraordinary thinking about this space. Of course I'm here representing Creative Australia, the investment development and advocacy body for Australian arts and culture and recognising Carolyn on our board and many of our other colleagues here in the room. So we will always of course make the case for government funding. We see it as really central to the ability to continue to do this work and you know we have a new kind of policy context at the moment in Australia which is really exciting. We're a year in to revive the national cultural policy. We at Creative Australia have 47 of the 85 actions in revive so it's quite a big remit and part of that is encouragement to think differently about models and about how government funding can work in partnership and work in new ways. We know that grants are really important and you know I think Mia yesterday said if you find any money in the creative industries grab it. You know of course it's really it always will be a central part of the way we think about this work but it's a tool and it's not an end game. And I think one of the things that we need to think about is how that tool can be used alongside other ways of thinking about support and new forms of capital and capability we can bring into the sector to help amplify the opportunity. Because we do know that there's always more ambition than there is available resources and there's always need for support for new forms of practice and new areas that are being left out. And there's you know really very real challenges we've all been talking about. You know there's no art on a dead planet, there's no anything on a dead planet. We all have really new wicked problems that we have to engage with. Also referencing the great work that was being discussed on the previous panel. There are very real challenges around equity that we all have to grapple with in this sector and there's new needs for different models and ways of thinking. So I guess you know there's also been some really exciting discussion today about prototypes and I want to reference some work that I've been reading recently in the renewable energy space by Saul Griffith and he talks about look dystopias don't work, they're just self-defeating. Utopias are never achieved. We need prototopias. We need prototypes., we need new ways of thinking and new models of working which give us opportunities for systems change. And some of the things we've been doing at Creative Australia in thinking about these new models we've been charged with under the cultural policy are kind of piloting how we can show our relevance to other sectors and how we can really show, make sure that the arts are valued and of value to all Australians. And that is about really showing solidarity with other sectors and other ways of working in other domains. So that's around you know education, wellbeing, we've done a huge amount of work on mental health and I acknowledge my colleagues and the research team for the incredible work they've done in the connected lives research and the progress there and we've been piloting new ways of building capability in the creative sector to help to work really successfully in those domains. It's also about thinking about philanthropy and what we can do together, how there's this mutual intent and you know we all know that the burden on the sector of going for individual opportunities and individual grants and really kind of trying to build something out of these small pockets of money, it's kind of incumbent on us to start thinking about how we work together for bigger, more scalable change. And you know we're taking some inspiration from some new innovations around the things like the investment dialogue for Australian children that have seen philanthropy really kind of work very closely with one another to say in 10 years how can we kind of make a radical systems change to equity in this country and how can we bring government with us. So it's a round table of you know philanthropic organisations with mutual intent bringing together departments like you know social services and health and education to really think about what's needed for a big systems sort of level change and my sense is we need something around that like that around culture. We need to start working together much more structurally and thinking about how we kind of support new forms of progress in that area and of course that lovely sentiment today about radical experimentation right and how do we kind of find ways to think differently about some of the challenges we're facing because you know as Eric said yesterday in all of this disruption creativity continues to deliver meaning and it continues to deliver context and it's where agency rises up. So those are all the things we're going to need more and more in this new kind of set of wicked problems where we're facing and it's something that we can only do together with really genuine collaboration. Great thank you very much. Very optimistic start. Well done. So now we'll move to Malia if you'd like to make your reflections on the question. Yes, hi thank you everyone for having me and just want to assure you I'm not an AI chatbot although maybe you wish I was after this conversation. I think that there the challenges are always seem you know insurmountable but I think there are a couple ways of looking at this and again my experience is primarily from a U.S. and you know North American South American funder but there's this sort of idea of general operations which a lot of foundations and individuals are not interested in because they and corporations because they want to have a specific project they want to have a name to it. So I think one of the ways to think about this is are there different pockets that organisations arts organisations can reach out to to sort of fund raise for you know specific areas and I think that in terms of organisational capacity there is a cycle which is what we've shared with a lot of non arts nonprofits that was developed by a man named Michael Kaiser and it's about just doing what you do best. So whatever that is at your institution or your your cultural organisation marketing that because if people know what you do you'll build this family around it and the family or the people who you fund raise from those could be your community members who attend your programs those could be your donors your board members and you raise those funds and you reinvest in what it is you do best. So I think sometimes organisations and again there's been a lot of talk about technology and data and A.I. and what's new and how can we incorporate that. But I think we don't want to forget like what's the core value that your organisation brings and the reason why and the and the community or audience that you serve and the reason why a funder would want to support that. Just an example of a couple of things that we've funded through Bloomberg philanthropy. So in the U.S. we noticed that there were lots of organisations that don't get what we consider general operating support which is a grant to do whatever makes sense for your organisation. So we started a capacity building program where we gave that funding and we heard from organisations that it was tremendously helpful. To this day there aren't a lot of funders who give general operating support. So it didn't quite catch on with other funders but it is something that we are definitely committed to. I think specifically in the technology space you know for many of you who don't know what Bloomberg is it is a data and technology company. We use technology to provide data analytics information news to our customers who are primarily in the financial sector. So we have a founder Mike Bloomberg who basically considers himself running a 40 year old startup. And so he's very interested in supporting entrepreneurs and when we had the opportunity to support this new technology that would bring access to arts and culture to people and it was called the audio guide he jumped on the chance to support that because this was going to be using data as a way to provide content to people who wouldn't normally have access to that because it was you would only hear these stories if you had a curator tour and we know how curators love to give those tours not very frequently. So you know we that sort of evolved 10 years later we had lots of organisations coming to us saying oh there's the smartphone there are these apps we want to have something that's you know different and unique to our organisation. So again we thought oh this is interesting this is using technology you know to again reach audiences where they are on their phones. And so we supported a lot of bespoke projects and a lot of things that ultimately didn't work out you know but we were willing to kind of see that through because we believed in these organisations because again they they were doing their work is at the height of where it should be right. They're doing what they do best and this was just a vehicle to kind of expand that and share that with other people and new audiences. But what we also recognise is that each bespoke project wasn't really speaking to everyone and so we funded a second round of why don't we support everyone to just put their information onto one type of app so that it's easy to use you know what you're doing. And that is what we have today the Bloomberg Connects app where we have hundreds of organisations around the world who are able to participate in it. Now it's free however you have to have the time the staff and the content to be able to put on this and as an organisation you have to keep it relevant. So just the last part of this is what we recently learned is that a lot of organisations don't have that staff or the resources for their back end or to scan all their images or to digitise their videos. So we now have a new program where we're supporting that sort of unsexy digital back end work that we're actually really excited about. So I think all that to say is that funders are interested in both supporting the well-being of the institution but are also looking for opportunities to support things that really move the organisation and that are in tune with the communities they serve or the audiences who come or the visitors because ultimately that's what makes your institution keep going is that you're relevant and interesting to your community. Malia can I just say it's pretty lucky you're not here in person I think there'd be a queue right out the door to talk to you. It was a very strategic move, not as strategic by John though. Thanks Malia. So John do you think new approaches are needed and what should we be considering? Thanks Sarah and thanks Georgie and Malia for those very interesting comments. What I thought I might start off today by doing is to talk about some economic issues as I see them, some political issues that are relevant to the arts and culture sectors and some observations on philanthropy given that my wife and I are very actively involved in the philanthropic space. I analyse economic structures of industries for my day job and so that's sort of how I tend to start on things so if I fall asleep I won't take it personally. But look I'd say two things on the economics that are relevant to the arts and culture sectors. Firstly I think we all know instinctively that the walls of different sectors are collapsing, collapsing on each other and technology disruption is bringing so many different spheres of life together and the arts and culture sectors are no different in that respect and what that means is that you have to recognise that you all are in the entertainment industry and being in the entertainment industry you are competing with everybody these days. You're competing with Netflix, you're competing with TikTok, you're competing with the English Premier League and your customer base is, they're all, everyone's time poor, everyone's overloaded by information, by text messages and WhatsApp messages coming in all hours of the day and so people have very limited time to engage and so it really makes it important that you have a very clear value proposition and then you can cut through all that noise and really have a strong brand identity and value proposition of what you stand for in this emerging world where everything is sort of competing with each other. The second element I'd say is that in so many industries we have what I characterise as a winner takes all or winner takes most kind of set of economic outcomes and there's no better example in that than the technology sector with these monster technology companies that we've got in North America and now the tech companies that ate the world and you see it in the arts and culture sector. So I'm going to do a quick thought experiment for everybody. So hands up everybody here who's been inside the State Library at recent times who has read a book or been to an exhibition at the State Library. That's actually better than I thought. I'm happy about that as former president of the Library. How many people have got tickets to Taylor Swift in the next 72 hours? No one can afford them. We've got a very specific audience here, John. Never work live okay. My point being this that Taylor Swift is going to walk out of Australia with about $100 million in merchandise sales. Some people say it's $200 million and probably about $120 million minimum of ticket sales in seven days. It's just phenomenal and you see that in so many aspects of the arts and culture sector that we increasingly just like in sectors of the business world you have a winner takes all kind of phenomenon and so we see a little bit here in Victoria with the NGV doing an amazing job but the NGV really does it is winning a very substantial share of the pie of public funding if you like as a credit to them because they're doing a very very good job but you have to recognise that as smaller organisations you don't have the same privileged position as larger organisations and you've got to fight for relevance and fight for attention and you shouldn't be shy about that. Secondly on politics I'll just say that recognise that it's not easy right. Politics is so increasingly short term these days. Politicians I know Martin Foley is here if this doesn't apply to you Martin but he was a fantastic Minister for the Arts but the politics is the grants from governments tend to be so anchored to the past you know plus or minus 2% is there going to be an efficiency dividend. It's really hard to get a break out but particularly for operational funding for capability building and things like that and you know the truth is you know the left side of politics looks at this sector and says we love you thank you very much but you're going to vote for us anyway and the other side of politics says well you're not going to vote for us so we're not going to give you additional money and it's being made worse by the culture wars going on in society and so the political framework to get more money is getting increasingly challenging and you have to recognise that which means there's a greater emphasis on self help. Then when it comes to the world of philanthropy you know Miriam my wife and I do a lot in across the arts and education and sport and a whole range of things and I can tell you in the education sector they say oh we wish we had the money that goes the philanthropic money that goes into the sporting sector and then in the sporting sector they say oh we wish we had the money that goes into the arts and culture sectors you know we're so disadvantaged and so all I'd say to you is like just don't look over your shoulder don't look at other sectors self help is the best form of help and you know if you come up with pitches that are incisive that have cut through that have a clear value proposition you will win in the world of philanthropy where it's getting there's such increased competition from other good causes like climate and health and fighting inequality in the world and all the consequences of inequality. So the last thing I'd say before we get into Q&A Sarah is what's the answer to all that? The answer I think part of the answer is innovation and technology and using technology as your friend and it's kind of ironic for a finance and business guy to be sort of talking to creative types about being creative and innovative but I've seen it first hand with the state library we went to the government and both sides of politics before the 2014 election said we want you should give us money for this worthy project you should fund to redevelop the state library and both of them looked at us and said no, no sorry no money for you and so we said okay we'll do something different we'll do a two to one matching scheme two dollars from government for every one dollar philanthropic money we raise we wound up raising thirty million dollars of philanthropic funding we got sixty million dollars of pull through money from government that we wouldn't have got otherwise fantastic outcome we had an innovative financing model we also found that when we were actually trying to get donors and supporters for individual projects within the library that just you changed the game so rather than having a room for these books and a room for that exhibition we had a centre we created a centre for entrepreneurship we created a centre for digital media all these things that didn't exist and what I learnt from that is that the number of compelling funding pitches you can come up with are really only limited by your imagination you know there's it's just it is you've got the world at your feet in terms of any cultural organisation the value propositions you could put to people it's happening here at ACMI with the way that ACMI has these skills and people hanging around it in creating fantastic video games which are hugely relevant to the world of virtual reality and gaming that's overtaking the world so and look you know you've seen Lume. With Lume with what Bruce Peterson did with just taking out to the masses in a completely different way so be bold embrace technology take risks and come up with incisive innovative funding pitches and you will succeed. Wow that went up down back up again at the end well done John well done. Can I ask John a question? Yeah of course you can Georgie. Without notice you may take it on notice if you like John. No I'm just really curious so obviously what you're talking about the end there is finding new forms of value right and I think that one thing that we have started to really think deeply about in the creative industries is how we define our value in new ways and I think you know I'd like to challenge you a little bit on this idea that we're an entertainment industry I actually think we're in the engagement industry in the sense that we offer engagement on a whole range of levels in a whole range of disciplines and in an attention economy that is magic dust that is gold right and I feel that there's an opportunity for us to really think differently about value and in an environment in an economic environment in which people are starting to think about different forms of risk and you know all of these wicked problems we've been engaging with over the last couple of days have created an environment for every organisation to think about that differently I guess that sense of you know generating value rather than being extractive and really thinking about what we add to all the forms of capital like the you know intellectual property and thinking about community and you know connection gives us a different relationship to social licence which mitigates a lot of the risk I mean I think in your intro you mentioned I was halfway through an MBA when I started this role I you know I was doing it for my sins and accountancy course which is not kind of my natural habitat I must say and defer to greater knowledge in the room but one of the things that they were talking about is this idea that you know intangible assets used to be worth about 16% of organisational value in the 70s it's now closer to 80% so all of the things that the people in this room create and do have become much more valuable and we need to start thinking about that in different ways because it is that relationship to community licence to equity to new ways of thinking about things and to this kind of sense of engagement with purpose and brand and identity and ideas that give us a really an incredible story to tell that is sort of transcends technology in some ways I would argue anyway. Great point so what I would say to that is I think we're sort of in agreement on most things but saying it in a different way what you're doing and what Creative Australia is doing with creative partnerships is hugely important and it's a expression of what I was trying to say which is the you have to make yourself as a creative arts sector organisation you need to make yourself relevant to whomever is going to give you funding whether it's government whether it's business whether it's philanthropy or whatever and so you need to have a clear incisive value proposition what's the value proposition if you go along in a fashion where you're expecting to be pulled along and you're hoping someone's going to shower magic dust upon you you're probably going to fail in this day and age because there's 300 people outside the door who have a better pitch than you will. If you flip it on its head and say we are going to pull government along we're going to pull business along we're going to make it in their interests why they should support us why they should partner with us why it's good for their brand publicly you'll succeed and so as an example at the State Library you know we had this dreadful efficiency dividend dragging us down every year and the argument that we found that was hugely relevant that succeeded in unlocking government funding additional organisational funding as opposed to building redevelopments was the State Library it's the centre of the knowledge economy well here's Victoria Australia the world has gone into the knowledge economy era and Victoria is right at the heart of it and that's the number one export industry in Victoria now the State Library is the central servicing hub for the knowledge economy here in Victoria and you know you go down there every day of the week it's packed it's a magic thing it's the fourth most visited library in the world it's amazing right and so you don't have a knowledge economy here in Victoria unless you support organisations like the State Library and you invest in them and you give them the capability because there's a multiplier effect you say that and you change the conversation as opposed to oh we've got an efficiency dividend please give us more money that's the point I was trying to make I do absolutely believe that you are in the entertainment industry and you shouldn't and you shouldn't resolve from that fact you know Tony Elwood he's an absolute genius that guy and you know what he did with the Bonn art exhibition you know you see down there people everyone's taking selfies for Instagram you know it was the Bonn art exhibition was designed for photo opportunities on Instagram and TikTok and all that sort of thing and it worked and that's how you get visitations and don't be afraid of that don't be shy embrace it and use it. Yeah no I think they're excellent points I think that one of the things that's really interesting about that is that we probably we're sort of like entertainment plus because we're not short term it's got to extend over a long period of time if you're thinking of institutions or organisations a lot of them have legislations like ACMI or the State Library of Victoria that don't let you change the core offer that you're providing so that makes the value proposition even more important and I think that it's interesting I wonder what you think about the fact that every institution even if we think just within Victoria in some ways seems to be in competition with each other and trying to argue the same points to funders to philanthropists to government to whoever's going to support them and how can we break out of that mode of thinking? Oh me? Well I guess one of the opportunities is to, so here I have a nice kind of solution to this potentially so one of the things we are charged with under the National Cultural Policy is this thing called the State of Culture Report which gives us for the first time a shared narrative of what successful culture might look like for Australia. It's modelled on the State of the Environment Report that some of you will be familiar with in this room that was designed several years ago to start telling the story of ecosystems and looks at kind of species loss and some of the kind of pretty dystopian facts but also where there's good progress. So I guess what that opportunity provides and acknowledging Rebecca Mostyn in the room who is charged with that in the research team and working very closely across with our partners at Screen Australia and others across the creative industries to help tell this story is drawing on a range of data sets to kind of give a sense of what a healthy Australian culture is and should look like. And I guess what it provides for the first time is a set of common points of reference around what we all agree Australian culture is and should be right or could be. So individual arts organisations should be able to use those data points and that reference point and that sense of impact measurement to evaluate their own progress and say this is where we contribute and it's kind of using a shared lens. So it won't entirely take away the competition between others to make that case but at least it gives you a shared language around what that is and you can say I contribute that pixel in the picture and I can show how I do that because I think at the moment there's a lot of frustration around people who go anecdotally we know we do all this for community, we know we do this, we've got this wonderful data about the people who walk through the door but they can't tell the story in a way that's necessarily going to resonate as John was saying with the people they're talking to and we hope that in developing this work and the first iteration of this report is due in 2026 and will inform the next iteration of the national cultural policy, it will help us all tell that story in a way that is much more coherent. I think that's really helpful because I think the danger is that certainly from institutions, don't worry we're going to move away from institutions only conversations in a minute and we're going to go to the Slido questions but I think that the problem is that within institutions when you look at them everyone is trying to do the same range of things, they're not clear enough about their value proposition and they're not comfortable with stating this is how we are different from everyone else and they're not comfortable with giving something up if someone else is doing it better but I don't know what you think about that John. A couple of things, so I've lived the dream where you do get this mindset in the sector that there's like this sort of hunger games, that a dollar that goes to that institution is a dollar less than I'm going to get and it's a mindset that we have to overcome and so the organisations need to work together for the common good and I applaud what Creative Australia is doing in trying to grow the whole pie. One of the things that we do in the world of philanthropy we say if you come to us and you're just interested in growing your own organisation in a market share battle with other people we're not going to give you any support. If you are trying to grow your organisation but at the same time trying to grow the pie for everybody we'll support you, that's a good thing to do and so people need to think about growing the whole pie and working together and I really do believe that there's an old line from the management consulting firm McKinsey, what are you famous for and people when they look at Melbourne they look at Melbourne and Victoria and what's Melbourne and Victoria famous for, we're famous for a great education sector, we're famous for a great sporting culture but we're also famous for great arts and culture and of all the Australian cities this is the place, for the arts and culture hub and yet we don't optimise that, we don't take advantage of it. A couple of weeks ago we had this amazing event down at Melbourne Park in the form of the Australian Open Tennis Tournament, a million people went there for the first time and these are people who are going there spending a lot of money, maybe not spending money on cultural institutions because of that. It was a fantastic event, Craig Talley does an amazing job, on the Monday morning afterwards the players have all gone, the caravan moves on, that place is empty and it might have the occasional concert or whatever whereas the arts and culture sector it is 52 weeks a year, it's year round, it's an amazing foundational base for Melbourne and so what goes with that is if the organisations work together, particularly around opportunities for events and things like that, better than I think we've done in the past, I think there's an opportunity to grow the pie for everybody and strengthen that base. I think that's great. Okay we're going to move now to away from institutional for a while and the most popular question so far on Slido is and I'll pass this to you Malia if that's okay, what would happen if institutional funding was redistributed to supply artists, community storytellers, cultural leaders with a living wage? Do you have any reflections on that given what you're looking at in terms of what you fund? Yeah, I mean I think the challenge with sort of traditional funding organisations like foundations or corporations is at least in the US is that we want to be giving to establish let's call them organisations that have a track record, have a tax exempt status that makes them charitable but for them to then select the artists because they know better than we do, right? And to support those exhibitions or those performances or those individual artists in a way that you know makes sense and we don't want to be sort of selecting the particular artists to support so I think that's one kind of challenge. I do think that we've had a couple of partnerships with organisations that fund individual artists and try to support them in ways where they'll give them a grant, they can use that grant for whatever it is. I remember one artist sent us a thank you note and said hey I used that money to pay my taxes because I hadn't for a while. So I think there's just such a range of how we could be helpful to artists but sort of indirectly through organisations that are doing that work. We also support organisations that provide technical assistance to artists, again provide with small grants or small loans for them to get the work done that they need to. So I think that I wish there were more organisations that were doing more work to advocate for artists so that they could have a living wage, so they could make this work full time because we would be happy to support them. Thank you. I wanted to go back to the point that you made earlier and asked both Georgie and John. So it seems to be very rare that an organisation, a government specifically apart from its sort of core funding or philanthropists will give money for operational work that an organisation has to do or a not for profit has to do. How do you think that could change just drawing on Malia's comments at the beginning and what they've done in that area and her comment that not many other places have followed that lead? Yeah look I think there has been a shift. I mean I remember going to the Philanthropy Australia conference several years ago and there being real advocacy for funding operational capacity and really trusting organisations and I think that is very much a narrative that's very live in philanthropy at the moment to really think about how do we sort of fund people for success rather than fund a program or an individual kind of project. I think that is shifting. I mean obviously we do a lot of work in supporting multi-year in trying to kind of ensure that we're embedding opportunities for organisations to be more sustainable. We just announced our multi-year funding in December and we're able to fund 60 more organisations which was a really great outcome of the national cultural policy and having some additional resources to dedicate. I guess a lot of the work is around thinking about organisational capability and the scaffolding you can put around it and we're doing a lot of work in our industry development team thinking about how we can support organisational capability through scaffolding and supports and professional development and opportunities for digital strategists in residence and thinking differently about what organisations actually need and those interventions. I mean it is challenging to support every organisation because you have to pick which bricks and mortar you're going to support but then there's also kind of that need for sort of collaborative funding and part of that is the new models and we're looking at things like impact investing that take you much more into that area and that gives you much more organisational capability, it brings new forms of capital into the sector, it creates kind of a social impact lens on all of that investment which is really, really valuable and it does create much more sustainable opportunity for organisations, for the right kinds of organisations right. So we're looking for ways to grow that pie and to work in partnership and in genuine collaboration. The only thing I'd add to that is we saw at the State Library that the visitation doubled over the years in part because we were providing a good community service but also we had a lot of international students wanting to come and use the facilities and yet our funding was just a fixed blob of dollars from the government and so we looked at, with government we looked at can we change the model so we get a baseline funding and then we get a sort of variable component of funding that's tied to numbers coming through the door to give us an incentive to increase visitation to make ourselves more relevant. There's no sort of right or wrong answer for these things but that does reward good outcomes. I'm going to say one thing that's surprising as a business and finance person which is trying to reduce everything that the arts and culture sector does down to narrow KPIs for the next 12 months is not always a good idea. You know there's the old saying about what matters can't always be measured and what can be measured doesn't always matter. And it's true and you can drive perverse behaviours and incentives by trying to reduce everything to KPIs in the very short term but there are ways to think about different funding models that do incentivise good management, good leadership and in particular I come back to what we did with the capital funding program for the State Library where we had this match funding thing and governments love that right because first of all they know that the program, whatever you're doing is supported by philanthropic or corporate dollars and so it's not just being a worthy institution saying you know we're a worthy institution give us money. There's validation if you like from government and for philanthropists it's a very attractive thing because they know for every one dollar they put in there's another dollar coming from government or two dollars coming from government and so their financial investment gets leveraged in a big way and so thinking about these sort of different financial models in innovative ways and taking a few risks and being willing to have that conversation with government is a good thing to do. Yeah that's a really good point and it's the counter of that which I don't know whether it's valid or not but it comes across in one of the questions I'll read out in a minute and I know it's something that within institutions is often felt is if philanthropy steps up for the arts does it just allow public funding to be reduced? So as you get more particularly for operational funding let's say there's always the risk, there's always the feeling within an organisation that if you ask for that rather than something like a capital project that has a defined end or defined amount of money that's needed and then it's finished and you get value from it, if it's for something ongoing that normally would be publicly funded and you find an innovative way to get someone to fund that who's not able to do it is the risk that your government funding will reduce. How can you change that perception or is that just life? So I've lived that dream too. So the first thing I'd like just be a bit creative, accounting never goes astray okay so you can have programs that are we're doing this particular thing with this particular philanthropic funding and so it looks like it's ring-fenched from anything that's in the normal operations of the institution just how you present things actually matters in these things. And secondly in the world of sports administration you know government funding has been exactly the same challenge with funding for Olympic sports and Paralympic sports going sideways in fact going down meantime you know the AFL and the professional sports are just absolutely caning it and so we made a serious effort in the 90 years I was chair of the board there to attract philanthropic funding co-funding for the major sports and some generous Australians like Gina Rinenhart and others stepped up and gave money and they were laser focused on that issue they said we're not engaging in just financial substitution for the government and paying taxes by different form and so they actually wrote agreements and they said we will give you money that's conditional upon no reduction in government funding and you can use that to go back to the government and say well we've attracted this donation that this philanthropic support but it's conditional on you doing X and so you can actually use that as smart leverage with government. We didn't actually try that with Martin Foley if he's here we should have maybe you should have. Well you've told him now yeah if he is here. George did you have something to say? Oh look I just I mean just to concur I mean we know that philanthropy don't like just to fill gaps in government funding and we know that that's a real kind of turn off for a lot of those partnerships but I guess and you know we have we've got match funding programs ourselves that have come to us through creative partnerships and have done that for some time. I guess one of the things I would say too is that you know finding ways to think about evaluating what where money's going and what it's doing and how it's kind of increasing sustainability or building opportunity or you know really clear impact measurement is a really key part of this and we have a very strong focus on that and it's a new kind of growing and kind of increasing focus of Creative Australia. But I guess too you know really you know there's this whole review around the double giving agenda so Productivity Commission has been running this review on how it can inquire into philanthropy at the moment and it's interesting some of the conversations around that is quite interesting because there was a discussion that said look the arts is the only sector in which you can really overtly say government is only going to be able to fund this much and we need philanthropy for the rest. You couldn't go out publicly and say that about health. You couldn't go out and say that publicly about kind of welfare right even though some of those partnerships are really critical to delivering those outcomes but in the arts there's always been this sense that we have to do it together and you know Venice is a perfect example of that so the Pavilion wouldn't happen without philanthropy you know the Australian presence at Venice but it is seen as a site in which those sorts of partnerships are really recognised because with the population of our scale and the challenges we've got with that there's absolutely no way we could realise the ambition we do without those sorts of private public partnerships and I think it's a you know I think people do understand that and I think it's about a sophisticated approach to ensuring that it isn't just a stop gap and again having those conversations with government about what the potential is. Now it's fascinating it's a fascinating observation as well. Malia what about in the in the United States do you do you see this as an issue that operational funding or institutions or organisations being concerned about going and getting external funding for what they would regard as maybe core operations that it might reduce the government's ability to pay for those things I think it's very different in America. Yeah it is government doesn't provide a lot of funding. I feel like the government funding agencies would welcome you going to another organisation or corporate or philanthropist or your community. You know that's just a different challenge that that we have here and that's just a given and I think that's why there is this kind of culture of philanthropy and individual giving and people supporting cultural institutions you know whether they have fifty dollars or fifty million dollars so I do think it's interesting you know that it has to be either or I feel like when I worked for a brief time in New York City kind of funding arts organisations we were really thrilled to see that organisations had other sources of funding but again I guess that's sort of the history of government funding in the US and so that made us feel like great we should continue to give you the same support because you've actually gone out and gotten more from other people. Yeah no it's fascinating. Another great question here not our final question but we're getting close to the end. If you could design and this is Australia's arts funding so Malia you can answer it from any perspective you like but if you could design Australia's arts funding structure from scratch what would be different to what we have today and what would we need to keep the same so we'll start maybe with John. Thanks Sarah. I saw the look of panic on everyone else's face John. I was involved with the State Library what would I do look I think I think the structure the overall structure is actually not bad okay the I don't agree with the idea of defunding the organisations if you defund the organisations you sort of cut the system off from the top from the head and you know aspiring artists they need these we've got fantastic cultural organisations in Australia and we need them they've got a really really important role to play. I would encourage the cultural institutions to again think about themselves in the context of an entertainment market to think about how they embrace technology in the smart ways to make their product more accessible more appealing more innovative different one of the things I would love I'd love to see you know I go along occasionally the Melbourne recital centre and you see these concerts and they're wonderful they have amazing performers and you think why is it when you go to the Melbourne cricket ground you're watching a sport they've got the spider cam that drops down and it goes one inch away from the player and yet when you go the format of traditional performance art has not changed for a hundred years in so many ways you're still sitting 80 meters away looking at and applauding politely is someone you who you actually can't see exactly close up what they're doing it's so so the arts and culture sector has fallen behind other sectors in the use of technology and the last thing I'd say is that the the with boards of the cultural institutions I don't think that the boards of cultural institutions there should be sort of a pay to play kind of mentality that you have to be wealthy you have to be prepared to give in order to be on the board I think that is actually the wrong mentality you don't want to create you don't want to have boards of rich people okay but some rich people are nice you're worse than me Sarah the the the you don't want that but but you need to think smart the boards of organisations and management teams of organisations need to think smart about how you get the capabilities you know you look for the capabilities in in in and around you in terms of all the skill sets in the organisation in terms of the artistic capabilities of people around you you need to be equally focused on getting the skill sets around you to be able to engage with government effectively raise money and and just be shameless about that and and it doesn't mean those people have to be on the board you can have you can have all sorts of again it comes down to just being innovative how you do things you can have friends of the friends of the xyz organisation you have advisory boards you can have patrons semi-patrons whatever make it up you know just just make up your story as you go along but get lots and lots of fellow travellers and friends around you and and you'll be a long way down the path to success - Thanks, John. Malia, did you want to add anything to that? - Yes knowing absolutely nothing about as I say you can talk about any any any government you like fantastic I guess you know I do think that government should provide more funding for arts and culture whether that's through some way you know through tax incentives like in San Francisco there is this there there was pre-covid this tax so uh taxes that were gleaned from hotel stays went into a pot and then funded arts and culture organisations because people go to these cities for arts and culture and and you said it earlier I mean I was in Sydney in December and they said oh if you want arts and culture you should go to Mebourne you know so government quad rod right I know they're like you should you're fine here to go to the beach but if you want to go to museum you got to go to Melbourne but so government should be supporting that this is a vehicle for tourism and and you know it's known that people come there so why can't they support that I was just gonna add that I think corporations should give more to arts and culture because that's where they operate those are places where they have their employees and their clients and their uh you know people who are involved with their business wherever they are and I think that organisations should think about as you were saying multi levels of giving you know there's something to be said for this sort of very low membership the grassroots people who just love that programming and and and come you know to the organisation that's a real community that could be giving more so fantastic you don't know anything about Australia and they were really very useful comments thank you Malia really helpful especially the one about go to Melbourne that was good to hear Georgie yeah look I guess uh one of the things I would like to see is a co-responsibility for arts and culture across all parts of government so that you know we get investment from health for all of our health benefits we get investments from education for all of our benefits to education because we know all of us know what value there is there and I think that you know the vicissitudes of funding like our CFO at our executive director of corporate resources at Creative Australia has his powerpoint he shows of our funding over time and it is the most unedifying story right we are so precarious always even even in the funding agency let alone working in a small to medium arts organisation or being an independent artist it's so it just goes within the tides right so if we can actually get this sort of sense of why it's valuable you know it's a massive employer three times mining like it is a huge industry and it is a growing industry like games is growing in double digits like there's all of these parts of the sector are absolutely where we need to kind of go to back ourselves as you said as a knowledge nation right and knowledge economy and I think to have that kind of recognised would be really really significant I guess too you know you know as a board last year we had a strategy day didn't we Caroline and we were we actually did quote Taylor Swift we started going well hello it's me i'm the problem it's me right like we part of the part of the effect of having an agency like us is conservatising because it does tie people to a certain model of thinking about it and Wesley Enoch our deputy chair was challenging us to think about what life was like before Australia Council funding 50 years ago and there was lots of dynamism and different forms of exchange that were both commercial but public and you know really thinking differently about it and I guess you know if we can think about I came from screen into and into this sort of world and in screen you are used to thinking about working in partnership in different ways because you need it to finance things right you don't you're not just kind of treating yourself the world like the Vatican bestowing favours right you actually have to really work as one lever in a much bigger ecosystem and think about who you can partner with and how you can collaborate and you know Seb was talking yesterday about the opportunities that covet seemed to show us of that form of collaboration and how we haven't yet been able to grasp that and realise that and I think that's because you know under pressure we all retreat into what you know that trying to kind of save the furniture and make things happen but I would love to see arts and culture and creativity embedded in the way we think about what kind of world we want to live in and you know there's an opportunity I treasury was talking about measuring what matters well you know this matters and you know our data shows us we and national arts participation survey that came out at the very end of last year showed us that you know 97 percent of Australians are engaging with arts and culture 84 percent of it are see positive benefits of arts and culture more than ever we're attending arts events because we know what it does for our mental health and our well-being like we're seeing all these benefits the audiences know it the public knows it why can't we fund it in those terms yeah and I think as john said earlier it's about how it's about being razor sharp on value and the value you provide to community and to society and I don't think as a sector as individual organisations or institutions that we're very good at that and i think we shy away from trying to promote the value and what we create whether it's in economic terms whether it's in impacts whatever it is I think it's something that doesn't come naturally to us the final question that i'm going to ask which was directed Georgie to do with Creative Australia but I think it's good to get everyone's reflections on is should there be funding for more commercial or operational training for people who are working in these areas so would it be something that would commercial training funding training be something that Creative Australia would look at so so training in how you maximise getting commercial funding training in how you understand how to put in bids for philanthropists training and how you understand you can sort of think of different models of how you assess value or impact yep so we already do a huge amount of capacity building around fundraising and we've you know we've got this fantastic team that we've inherited from Creative Partnerships Australia and also that we've recruited since then to really help build sector capability in having those conversations and making the value case to philanthropy and to think about that we also do a lot of work in our industry development team and Adam McGowan our head of director of industry development is in the room as well and we're really focusing on business innovation and creative entrepreneurship and how we can support organisations to build their financial capability there's these brilliant governance resources that have just been developed by Adam's team to help organisations all really kind of build that capability and we've been doing a lot of work with diversity arts Australia on how to make that more equitable and kind of you know relevant to community so I think you know a lot of the work around building capability has also got to think about the wide range of ways that our work is relevant and a lot of that is you know artists are great at making art not so great at talking to money not so great at admin and there's some really kind of interesting models well you know that's a rash generalisation some are brilliant producers are brilliant at admin right but that sense of you know small to medium arts organisations have the same kind of compliance and administrative burdens as massive kind of really well-funded organisations with huge teams so it's just it's very uneven in terms of the pressures that they face so i'm really interested in models like there's this great model that emerged in Belgium around a cooperative model to support artists to work in those ways and to really take some of those pressures off arts organisations could we think about those for Australia you know there's some really interesting things that we can do to help think about not necessarily government having all the ideas here but what can sec you know what could be sector-led in providing solutions to these problems yeah Malia did you have any thoughts on that yeah I do think that yes absolutely providing training for people to to you know improve the outcomes for fundraising is absolutely key one thing that we tried is actually to pair up kind of experienced fundraisers who are at larger institutions with newer kind of fundraisers at smaller institutions just because at that time that seemed like that was a way to provide a sort of mentor mentee relationship that would kind of supplement formal training and and it it seemed to work you know in that experiment and I do think that also creates this community of collaboration and you know there was actually two organisations that ended up deciding to merge because they realised they were kind of fundraising for the same thing and they were you know doing the same programming so I think also setting up arenas or or you know areas or platforms where people can collaborate on this fundraising is key yeah no that's a great idea now we have run out of time i've got a couple of housekeeping things but john did you have anything final you want to say just very briefly look investing in skills development is one of the most important things you can do and it's the long-term multiplier effect I think the words the government should should be banned okay because it's the three favourite words of a lot of people in Australian business. Miriam and I for our foundation we actually invest in a program for for skills development for indigenous administrators through the Melbourne theatre company it's fantastic we love we love it gives them opportunities and skills that they wouldn't have otherwise and Miriam's about to chair this French Australian cultural foundation that's going to do the same thing for creating opportunities for administrators in Australia to go and work over in france and and build skills and build a global perspective and build relationships they wouldn't have otherwise once you get underneath the big glamour exhibitions investing in that skills development is just such an important thing to do so we love it and yeah thanks for asking the question no it's a pleasure and thank you all I think everyone I certainly have found it really illuminating a lot of very practical things for people to think about and question the approaches that we currently have so let's thank John, Malia and Georgie