Literary culture has a profound social impact. It is fundamental to the recovery and growth of Australia after the pandemic. It is also severely underfunded and urgently in need of new support. Particularly concerned is the low level in investment in literature by federal and state funding agencies, compared to other forms of art.
The Economic Social Benefits
Literature is an important part of Australia’s creative and cultural industries. It contributed $63.5 million to the Australian economy between 2016-17. The creative arts are employed by 645,000 Australians, and that number was increasing even before the pandemic. Literature is a key component of the economy. Writers are the primary producers, which means that they have many complex functions.
Books are an invisible foundation of strong resources that support the economy. They are a source of creative content in film, television, theatre, and opera. In addition, they have a fundamental impact on the education sector, libraries, events, and our forms cultural conversation. Libraries, universities, schools and festivals are the most prominent areas of economic benefit, employment, and publishing.
Literature’s economic benefits often overlook the indirect benefits such as tourism and cross-cultural understanding. Books are a prestigious, implicit reference to a country or culture. They attract visitors, students, and may even establish an atmosphere of ideas that is more than the direct mechanism of cultural exchange.
Cross-Cultural Social Understanding
Cross-cultural understanding and exchange are vital to the literary industry and of immense benefit when recommending Australia. Writers incomes average $12,900 and COVID-19 has eliminated any other sources of income. Writing in Australia has been difficult since the beginning. This is why many of us have “day jobs” and writers are clearly disproportionately disadvantage. While the arts are essential for the economic health of Australia, our institutions and infrastructure do not support writers.
The Australia Council’s total literature funding has dropped by 44% in the last six years, from $9 million in 2013-14 down to $5.1million in 2018-19. This decrease is largely due to the abolition or Books Alive, Get Reading and Book Council programs.
Additional government-directed funding is needed, such as the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy funding ($6.6 million in 2018-19), regional touring through Playing Australia ($7.4million 2018-19), and the Major Festivals Initiative ($1.5million 2018-19).
The Creation Of A National Identity
Despite being chronically underfunded in Australia, the literary culture is a valuable, long-lasting, and invaluable asset. Social literacy is essential for social well-being. It’s a sense that one has a connection to their history, community, and self. These connections can be generated through narrative, reflection, and conversation.
Literature can create pride, community, and solidarity. One library in a small town can provide amazing opportunities for learning and self-knowledge. How do we calculate such value?
Growing up in rural and remote areas, I know how important libraries and book culture were to my sense of belonging with the country. Reading is a sign of mental health, particularly among young people.
Reflexive literacy is also necessary for “national identity”. Social understanding and agency are derive from reading and writing. A nation that neglects its literary cultural risks losing its creative thinking skills in other areas, including industry and innovative manufacturing. In areas such as Aboriginal literacy or aged care mental support, local reading and writing programs have achieved remarkable success.
Australians are more interested in reading, writing and attending festivals than ever before. The second most popular way Australians interact with culture and arts is through reading.
Festivals for writers are growing in popularity and attendance is increasing. Libraries are still vital to the survival of our urban and regional communities. It’s not an exaggeration to say that literature has shaped our national identity.
Australian Literature Social At Universities
Paul Fletcher, Arts Minister, has created a Creative Economy Taskforce to improve our understanding of this vital economy. However, I’d like to point out the dearth of literary expertise in the taskforce. A publisher or an Indigenous writer of high profile would be a great addition to our collective voice.
Additional appointments of Australian academics, like the current director of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature would enhance the literature claims.
Education will play a key role in the implementation of creative arts initiatives. The academy has shown a terrible lack of support for Australian literature poker pelangi.
The current plan to revitalize the job sector through the creative arts offers the opportunity to direct funds from the education budget to establish a Chair of Australian Literature at each university or in the Group of Eight.
One Chair is currently available at the University of Western Australia, and one privately endowed at the University of Melbourne. Postgraduate scholarships may also be available in the area Australian literary studies.
This move, which would require a relatively small budget, would support Australian writing, reading and research. It would also be highly celebrate in education and libraries.