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Victoria-Asia cultural engagement research report

On the ground & in the know

Asia is Australia's nearest neighbour and our two countries have long had relationships on a social, economic and cultural level. To identify opportunities for strengthening cultural ties between Victorian artists and arts organisations and their counterparts in Asia, Arts Victoria partnered with Asialink Arts to undertake a research report on cultural engagement between Victoria and Asia.

The overall picture arising from the research project is one of a developing maturity in the Victorian arts sector with regard to the opportunities and challenges of engaging with Asia. Arts organisations are looking to increase their engagement with Asia over the next five years and want the tools and support to facilitate this.

Some of the findings include:

  • Asia is a priority for more than 60 per cent of organisations. Engagement with Asia is a higher priority for arts organisations in the next five years compared to the previous five years.
  • Fifty-four per cent of organisations surveyed have a specific Asia strategy. Key countries for Asia focus are India, Indonesia, China, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.
  • Key reasons for cultural engagement are cultural exchange, creative development, cultural diplomacy, business development and research.
  • The key activities were: touring; residencies; professional development; and exhibitions.
  • The key outcomes were: knowledge, skills and networks; organisational profile and reputation; and marketing and audience development.
  • Smaller organisations and individual artists were more active in cultural exchange initiatives and more willing to take risks than larger organisations that had a greater requirement to balance commercial returns with cultural exchange.
  • There is recognition that one-off projects do not necessarily lead to sustainable relationships.
  • Successful engagement with Asia requires a long-term commitment and substantial investment.
  • Long-term relationships require repeat visitation, people-to-people communication and opportunities for two-way exchange and collaboration.
  • Return on investment is most frequently quantified in terms of increased profile, skills, knowledge, confidence and demonstrating the diversity of contemporary Australia, in addition to financial returns.