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The Question of Cultural Precincts

Is the idea of a cultural precinct being floated for your town or community? Or does one already exist?

Cultural precincts are too often seen as a cure-all for the dilapidated infrastructure, lack of visitors to a town, according to one of Australia’s leading art strategists, Justin Macdonnell.

In the latest Currency House Platform Paper, Mr Macdonnell questions the propensity for town planners to see precincts as an opportunity to restore a deserted area.

In the introduction to the paper, he writes ‘In essence, these are collections of buildings and spaces with some arts related function: museums, galleries, concert halls, theatres.’

The paper will be of interest to many regional communities, and in particular to local government who might  look to an investment in the arts to revitalise their communities and economy.

Mr Macdonnell is currently Executive Director of the Anzarts Institute which over the last four years has undertaken important studies for government agencies such as Arts NSW, Art Tasmania, Arts NT, Regional Development Victoria, the cities of Darwin and the Gold Coast, the Australia Council for the Arts (Music Board, Major Performing Arts Board, Community Partnerships and Market Development) as well as for Creative New Zealand.

Currency House was founded in  2001 as a non-profit association to assert the value of the performing arts in public life. Its founder, Katherine Brisbane was a theatre critic for 21 years including from 1976-74 for The Australian.

It publishes Platform Papers; presents Arts and Public Life breakfasts to seek common ground between the business community and arts governance; publishes books and articles on Australian culture, including Indigenous, convict and colonial history that document the contribution of performers to public life and conducts public forums and debates on these issues.

You can buy a copy of Platform Paper 44 and other publications from the Currency House website.