Reset: A New Public Agenda for the Arts – conference

There’s no doubt that the arts and cultural sector is facing a crisis in Australia. After years of cuts, the gig economy, undermining of the public and democratic value of the arts, and the ever-widening gap between haves and have-nots, the sector has been slammed by the pandemic, with long-term consequences set to last years.

The way out of this mess cannot be incremental tinkering, but rather a transformative reset of policy and advocacy – a bold new public agenda for the arts.

How do we return arts and culture to their rightful place in public policy? What would public reconstruction of the arts look like? How could we create a fairer deal for artists and arts workers? What kind of new ‘policy imaginary’ can place arts and culture at the heart of a healthy, diverse, inclusive, and participatory democracy?

Reset: A New Public Agenda for the Arts offers two days and nights of thinking and discussion about how the arts and cultural sector could work to break out of the current impasse through a radical reorganisation of cultural practice and policy.

Presented by: Arts Industry Council of South Australia and Reset (Flinders University, University of Adelaide, and University of South Australia), in association with the Don Dunstan Foundation.

Each day of the conference includes a keynote, two in-conversation panels, I’ll Take That as a Comment, and an evening event. Day one of the conference will take place at Allan Scott Auditorium (University of South Australia, Hawke Building, 55 North Terrace) and the second day will take place at the Adelaide Town Hall (128 King William St). Evening events are from 6:30pm – 8pm; with Thursday evening at Treasury 1860 and Friday’s closing event at Adelaide Town Hall. Speakers will be presenting live, in person or on screen depending on their location. A COVID-19 Safe plan will be in place for the event, and we are monitoring how the event will be delivered in accordance with up-to-date restrictions at the time of the event.

All daytime sessions will be livestreamed, please visit the registration page to purchase tickets.

Please note that on Thursday evening there will be 15-20 minute walk from the Allan Scott Auditorium to Treasury 1860. Alternatively, City West tram stop is located close by on North Terrace, followed by three stops, and another short walk from Pirie Street tram stop to the venue. If you require any assistance or further information, please contact to discuss.

The full conference guide and schedule will be available late October.

I’ll Take That as a Comment
Expressions of Interest now open

Each day will include a session called I’ll Take That as a Comment – a soapbox for artists, and academics, activists, and arts leaders, to put forward your wildest ideas and dreams for how we can transform the arts and cultural sector, in a seven-minute pitch.

Do you have an idea for how things – or one important thing – could be done very differently? Here’s the chance to talk about it, in a supportive, enjoyable, and thought-provoking format.

Anyone who has something to say is welcome. Submit your idea with a summary of up to 500 words, and we will select ten for presentation at the conference. Proposals are due by midnight Sunday 24 October.

You do not need to hold a conference registration to submit your idea, selected speakers will receive a two-day conference pass.

About the organisers

Reset is a network of practitioners, policymakers, and academics from all three universities in South Australia, seeking to promote the public value of art and culture, and re-establish their place in progressive policy and in our everyday citizenship.

Reset seeks to respond to the crises in arts and cultural policy and practice through considering a wide range of ideas through the lens of alternative economics, ecological thinking, people-centred design, labour rights, and radical proposals gaining momentum in response to the pandemic.

The Arts Industry Council of South Australia (AICSA), the state’s peak representative advocacy body for the arts, and the Don Dunstan Foundation, a thought leadership organisation inspiring action for a fairer world, are both members of the Reset network.

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something build a new model that makes the existing one look obsolete.

Buckminster Fuller