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April 05th 2012 print

Philippa Martyr

Cut the cord

Isn’t it reassuring to think that all along we had an arts sector that thrived on lack of funding - that positively cried out not to be subsidised, as this would surely strangle the muse?


I was delighted to see Campbell Newman abolish the Premier’s Literary Awards in Queensland, if only for the joy of reading the comments section on the Brisbane Mail article about it, in which the 15 people in Queensland who didn’t vote LNP outed themselves.


But now author Krissy Kneen has said a that a group of ‘industry stakeholders’ had pledged for the awards to continue in a similar format, without any sponsorship:

We are going to do this as a grassroots movement … Being an author who has been shortlisted for a premier’s award in the past, I know the most important thing is the kudos of the nomination. The prizemoney is a bonus but it’s not what it’s all about.

I love grassroots movements, especially when I have a can of suitable pesticide handy. But isn’t it reassuring to think that all along we had an arts sector that thrived on lack of funding – that positively cried out not to be subsidised, as this would surely strangle the muse? (What also warms the cockles of what passes for my heart is that I have never heard of Krissy Kneen, so the kudos of nomination can’t extend all that far.)

I can’t help but suspect that the ‘industry stakeholders’ in question are neither industrious nor stakeholding – well, no more stakeholding than anyone else on a street corner holding out a polystyrene cup. But more power to them and their ‘industry’. I hope that by 2013, every single literary festival, award, prize and shindig in the whole of this country will be held absolutely free of any government funding whatsoever.

Forget carbon-neutral – I’d like to see public-funding-neutral arts festivals, run with a minimum taxation footprint.


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