Author Archives: Judith White

Judith White

About Judith White

Judith White, a former executive director of the Art Gallery Society of NSW, is author of the book Culture Heist: Art versus Money and blogs on the site

Australia’s needs to stand up for the arts

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Coalition Government has been widely criticised for its failure to support the arts in the COVID-19 crisis. The PM has responded with a handful of PR announcements. But what’s needed is a complete change of policy … Continue reading

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Heritage, justice and the future of culture

A crucial debate is taking place over the function of cultural institutions. The concerns of a rising generation about race, gender and historical justice have to be heard. But it’s equally important to defend heritage collections and the cultural achievements … Continue reading

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William Barton: A voice from the heart

On 1 August didgeridoo artist-composer William Barton and violinist Véronique Serret brought their composition Heartland to online audiences via the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall. It is a work to resonate across Australia and around the world.

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Scott Morrison’s 21st century book burning

Prime Minister Morrison’s Coalition Government has committed $270 billion to militarisation, while universities, public broadcasters and the arts face devastation. The implications for Australian society are grim.

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How the Powerhouse Museum was saved

In an extraordinary about-turn, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced that she will retain the Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo and build a new museum at Parramatta.

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Australian history and the empire of the mind

Black Lives Matter has shone the spotlight on colonial-era crimes across the world. But Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reignited the history wars with his spurious claim that “there was no slavery in Australia”.

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Universities as businesses: a cultural disaster

Australian universities are in crisis. Under pressure to corporatise, they have become over-dependent on income from overseas students. The pandemic has exposed the fatal flaws in this model, sparking fresh debate. The outcome is critical to the culture of society … Continue reading

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JUDITH WHITE. Cultural recovery in a globalised world

With international travel at a standstill, arts organisations are grappling with the dilemma of future programming. There is no lack of local work to showcase – but what about international connections?

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JUDITH WHITE. Trainwreck at Carriageworks

The collapse of Sydney arts and entertainment centre Carriageworks has sent tremors through the besieged arts sector; but it also shows up the deep flaws in the NSW Government’s cultural policy, and is fuelling demands to halt its disastrous $1.5 … Continue reading

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JUDITH WHITE. Funding, local content and the future of Australian culture

There can be no question that the arts have taken an enormous hit in the pandemic. Token support from governments is not the answer. The crisis requires not only a bailout, but a re-examination of cultural policies in the digital … Continue reading

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JUDITH WHITE. The Australia Council latest funding – the arts betrayed.

The latest round of The Australia Council funding, announced on 3 April, marks a new level of government interference in the arts. The council was never meant to police the arts on behalf of government, but under the Coalition that … Continue reading

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JUDITH WHITE. Save the arts, save the nation

As the Federal Government rolls out one bailout package after another, the arts is being ignored. ‘Culture Heist’ author Judith White argues that saving the arts is integral to saving the nation.

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JUDITH WHITE. Arts budgets in the age of catastrophe: the case of NSW

In the panic over the coronavirus, arts organisation are pleading for support as performances and festivals are cancelled, museums and galleries close and whole areas of the country are threatened with lockdown.

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JUDITH WHITE. Whatever happened to Whitlam’s vision for the arts?

In 1972 Gough Whitlam’s election campaign promised “to promote a standard of excellence in the arts, to widen access to, and the understanding and application of, the arts in the community generally, to help establish and express an Australian identity … Continue reading

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JUDITH WHITE. NSW arts policy officially in ruins

Arm’s length funding of the arts is the hallmark of a government attempting to work in the interests of the people. It prevents the arts being used as a political football, and together with peer assessment fosters the development of … Continue reading

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JUDITH WHITE. Arts vandalised in NSW

Buoyed by the re-election of the NSW Berejiklian Government in March, Minister for the Arts Don Harwin is ploughing ahead with the controversial move of the Powerhouse Museum from Ultimo to Parramatta. He has at last responded to the painstaking, … Continue reading

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JUDITH WHITE. Arts, culture and the Australian elections

The Federal election on Saturday 18 May has profound implications for culture, heritage and the arts – and voters would be well advised to take heed of what is happening in NSW.

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JUDITH WHITE. Government arts policy slammed in NSW report

The NSW Coalition Government has breached its own Treasury guidelines and governance of the arts and culture sector needs a complete review, according to the final report of the Upper House Inquiry into Museums and Galleries.

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JUDITH WHITE. Governments, bankers and burning museums.

When Brazil’s Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro burned down on 2 September, staff described it as “a tragedy foretold”. For years, successive governments had cut recurrent funding for the museum, whose collection of 20 million priceless and irreplaceable objects … Continue reading

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JUDITH WHITE. Risks of gallery expansion

The NSW Coalition government has allocated $244m towards a major new building at the state Art Gallery. But questions are being raised about its ongoing funding and its mission as a public institution.

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JUDITH WHITE. Arts policy and the need to counter the undermining of public cultural institutions

Writing a book is a solitary occupation, but with this one I’ve been constantly aware of the hosts of people – staff, members, volunteers, benefactors – who are concerned about what is happening to our public institutions. And they are … Continue reading

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