Colloquium: "What Matters? Talking Value in Culture"

March 26, 2019 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm

Location and Address

Humanities Center, 602 Cathedral of Learning

Too often, academics, cultural leaders and policy makers want to chase the perfect metric for activities whose real worth lies in our own personal experience. The major problem facing Australian culture today is demonstrating its value – to governments, the business sector, and the public in general.

When did culture become a number? When did the books, paintings, poems, plays, songs, films, games, art installations, clothes, and the objects that fill our daily lives become a matter of statistical measurement? When did experience become data?

This colloquium will focus on better articulations of the public value of culture. Based on work done in a Laboratory Adelaide research project and most extensively outlined in What Matters? Talking Value in Australian Culture (2018), we will explore approaches that maintain a better balance between words and quantification. We seem to be trapped in assessment systems that miss the primary experience that draws people in to make and explore culture. Is there a way out?

Reading available here

with Robert Phiddian (Flinders University, English) and responses from David Shumway (English, CMU) & Alys Moody (English, Macquarie University (Humanities Center Early Career Fellow))