May 14, 2016

Small Town Transformations 2016 Winners


Any reader of my blog will know from past posts that Regional Arts Victoria's Small Town Transformation project makes my blood boil; its badly designed, it is based on a poor concept and benefits no one. What makes it appropriate to revisit this topic at this time is that the second incarnation of this monstrous project should be announced in the very near future against the backdrop of massive cuts to arts funding in Australia. This recurrent project is Federally funded and is a complete waste of arts funding money.

What is also appropriate to mention is that this project enshrines many of the arguments that claim the value of arts to society as providing quantifiable benefits. Coincidentally I stumbled across this article discussing the findings of a UK government commissioned study by the Arts and Humanities Research Council - they completely debunk the quantifiable concepts and prove them to be false without implying that the arts serve no purpose at all. They are, instead, necessary expressions of our level of civilsation:

How we’ve got it wrong about the arts by Ivan Hewett

In reality the idea of suggesting to small Victorian towns that they should transform themselves in some artistic way is grossly insulting as it implies that they are sub-standard. Many small towns see themselves as living national treasures and, for this reason, would prefer to maintain that status. That said there wouldn't be a small town in Victoria that couldn't identify all sorts of items, services, facilites or policies that would improve their lot. The glaring problem with this project is that it is a classic example of the highly patronising and elitist, "let them eat cake" approach.

My view is that through a very aggressive advertising campaign Regional Arts Victoria appealed to the greed/desperation of the small towns that did apply with a $325,000 carrot. 

So congratulations to all the small towns who had the moral and ethical strength to turn their backs on this one. You are the real winners.

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