Recalibrating Culture: Production, Consumption, Policy


  • Professor Deborah Stevenson, Institute for Culture and Society
  • Professor David Rowe, Institute for Culture and Society
  • Ms Cecelia Cmielewski, Institute for Culture and Society
  • Dr Josephine Caust, Jo Caust Arts
  • Ms Jenny Cheeseman, Auburn City Council
  • Ms Karen Harris, Penrith City Council
  • Mr John Kirkman, Information and Cultural Exchange Inc.
  • Ms Tiffany Lee-Shoy, Fairfield City Council
  • Mr George Mannix, Parramatta City Council
  • Mr Khaled Sabsabi, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre
  • Ms Augusta Supple, Arts NSW
  • Dr Ianto Ware, City of Sydney Council


  • Australian Research Council, Linkage Project; City of Sydney Council; Fairfield City Council; Arts NSW


  • City of Sydney Council; Fairfield City Council; Penrith City Council; Liverpool City Council; Parramatta City Council; Auburn City Council; Information and Cultural Exchange Inc.
  • Additional Industry Participant: Arts NSW

» Fact sheet (opens in a new window) (PDF, 191KB)

A collection of 24 images which are patterns made from photographs and repeated to form a square shape.Khaled Sabsabi, Syria (video still), 2012. Image courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery Brisbane. Image credit: Khaled Sabsabi.


Professors Deborah Stevenson and David Rowe from the Institute for Culture and Society and a research team are examining the changing modes of cultural activity and participation in Australia. This project is funded by the Australian Research Council through its Linkage Projects grant scheme in collaboration with seven industry partners.

'Over the last decade the number of Australians engaging in paid or unpaid cultural activities has increased by over 50%,' says Professor Stevenson. 'This is despite falling attendances at more traditional arts forms such as ballet, theatre and classical music. So what is happening in Australia's cultural sector? What now counts as a cultural activity and how can reconceptualising it help us to develop better cultural policy and planning?' This research focuses on artists and cultural practitioners, exploring how they work and survive. It advances knowledge and understanding of contemporary cultural employment and activity. The findings will provide the basis for a new approach to Australian cultural policy that reflects rapidly changing conditions, including new technologies.

The researchers will use a case study analysis of the cultural economy of Australia's most dynamic urban area – Greater Western Sydney – in the context of metropolitan Sydney. It adds a deeper quality and value to 'broader-brush' national cultural statistics and current cultural mapping approaches.

Databases of cultural practitioners, productions and audiences will be examined along with the results of an online survey, interviews and field research. A strategic cultural policy framework will be developed that more accurately reflects the patterns of today's cultural production and consumption.

Final Report

Recalibrating culture: production, consumption, policy (opens in a new window) (PDF, 1.56MB)

Recalibrating Culture flyer thumbnail


For further information on this project contact Professor Deborah Stevenson: