‘The Culturestate’, Meanjin, 69, 2, Winter 2010, pp. 56-63
The author examines the increasing and increasingly complex relationship between the state in Australia and cultural and artistic production. By examining the history of both Australian literary production and the crucial modern advent of education, as an important part of how literature is written, the author is also able to make broader points about the changing role of the arts in Australian society and Australian history.
Cultural production has gone from being an activity outside the mainstream, and often in conflict with the state, to having its entree into the centre of the marketplace facilitated by state programs. Yet in that passage, a strange thing has happened—the idea of the arts as professed by artists has remained centred on the bohemian and avant-gardist idea ….
Today, what confronts the questing artist is not the indifference of society and the state, but its embrace, and the requirements associated with it. The process of making art now brings with it induction into the business of grant applications, job applications, CV composition and folio preparation. Most creative writers approach these with intensely ambivalent feelings.
Also in Robert Drewe, ed., Best Australian Essays 2010, Black Inc., Melbourne, 2010, pp. 62-73.