HUMANITIES 21 PRESS RELEASE 19/05/16
MEANJIN FUNDING CUT IS PART OF A BROADER DOWNWARD TREND
Humanities 21 is troubled by news that Meanjin has not received long-term funding in the latest round of Australia Council grants. Meanjin has contributed to Australian culture and thinking for three quarters of a century, and is a pivotal vessel for understanding the evolution of Australian culture and intellectualism.
We are deeply concerned by a broad shift in the funding of the arts and humanities in Australia. It is important that the humanities are recognised for the vital impact they have on all aspects of our society. The humanities teach and enable the use of a broad range of skills which benefit Australians across many industries. Without the humanities, many achievements and innovations would not exist, and further, our ability to recognise them as such would be diminished.
The ideological thinking that has led Australia to provide less funding to the arts and humanities is dangerous. It risks making Australia a hollow place, a vacuum for intellectual exploration, where the only ideas worthy of our attention are those that are believed to deliver an immediate commercial return.
At a time when there is bipartisan support for innovation and a call for Australia to embark on an ‘ideas boom’, there has never been a better time to place funds in the arts, which nourish creativity and innovation above all else.
Humanities 21 President, Peter Acton, said: ‘If our arts funders can’t appreciate the centrality of an institution like Meanjin to our intellectual and cultural life, there is precious little reason to hope they have a coherent vision of what it takes to build a creative and innovative society.‘
Meanjin represents a pivotal place in Australian culture and in our literary community. It is a foundation for many writers, a journal in which they can make their mark and know that their contribution to our nation and our culture can be valued. It is a place where ideas can begin, long before they can boom.