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Understanding the creative workforce

Media release

A new project by Curtin University will collaborate with 1000 artists in Perth to provide insight into the role of arts and culture in Perth.

The project is part of an international study which will analyse the cultural fabric of three cities – Perth, Vancouver and Glasgow.

Associate Professor Dawn Bennett from Curtin’s Faculty of Humanities and Chief Investigator of this study said that we don’t understand what artists do, yet we make policies with very little knowledge of the creative workforce.

“The only way to meet the needs of the creative workers behind Perth’s cultural and arts scene is to understand them,” Associate Professor Bennett said.

“A rich and diverse cultural environment plays a pivotal role in urban competitiveness, social cohesion and liveability.

“Many of our artists go overseas to work so we don’t retain their expertise. This means no mentorship for students and new graduates entering the workforce.

“The survey will help provide insight into time allocation, remuneration, resource needs, migration, connectivity and the alignment of skills training to sustainable careers.

“We are striving to bridge the gap between artists and policy makers by developing a clearer understanding of artists’ work and its critical role in society.”

A/Professor Bennett also disputes the claim that Perth is dullsville.

“The common response to claims of ‘dullsville’ is a suggestion that we need to bring in new talent,” she said.

“If we understood the creative workforce better and gave them better visibility and spaces to exhibit, Dullsville would be a much harder claim to make.”

The study is being conducted in collaboration with the Committee for Perth.

A/Professor Bennett has recently been appointed to the Music Council of Australia. It is Australia’s peak body for music.

Artists who are interested in helping with this project are asked to fill out on online survey at or request a hardcopy from

Responses are welcome from creative workers across the state and from every discipline.

Contacts: Monique Billstein; Public Relations; Curtin; 08 9266 3353; 0401 103 018;