Following on from his 2006 Platform Paper Does Australia Need a Cultural Policy?,in his highly anticipated new Platform Paper from Currency House,  Art, Politics, Money: Revisiting Australia’s Cultural Policy, cultural economist David Throsby reviews Australia’s fraught attempts to deliver a sustainable, wide-ranging arts and cultural policy – and on the eve of Budget 2018, points to where we go from here. In this excerpt, he discusses how international engagement might fit into a broader cultural policy.

Cultural diplomacy and the exercise of soft power has been an important element that falls within the ambit of a comprehensive cultural policy. There are both cultural and economic dimensions to the promotion of a country’s culture abroad. Here in Australia we have always engaged in cultural exchange with other countries, including through programs such as Asialink Arts, and the cultural engagements pursued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In this latter context, the conjunction of foreign affairs and trade is appropriate when the arts are involved, in view of the old adage “where culture leads, trade follows”. Although such a slogan may seem far-fetched, the fact remains that countries in our region are our major trading partners and economic relations...

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