Elliott Bledsoe (Agentry), Change Media, Leah Barclay, Bong Ramilo, Vicki Sowry (ANAT)

Exploring the impact of new technologies on arts and cultural practice, now and in the future, is a major priority for Arts Front, and a focus of work in 2018.

Currently we have something of a paradox when it comes to the relationship between technology and the arts. On the one hand technology seems to be fading in terms of its significance in the arts sector. The utopian vision for technology in the arts that underpinned the Creative Australia Policy is a distant memory. The National Broadband Network has largely failed to materialise or deliver the benefits in terms of creation and presentation of work. Dedicated technology and innovation funding programs that agencies like the Australia Council once delivered are gone, as has federal funding in games and multi-platform development. The arts has been left out of the innovation agendas of state and federal governments and there is almost palpable anti-technology sentiment across much of the sector.

On the other hand, it could be argued that the influence of technology in the arts and cultural sector has never been greater, and is growing at an incredible rate. Corporations like Facebook, YouTube, Google, Amazon and Netflix are hugely influential and their footprint is growing exponentially. Many within the arts sector seem oblivious to this process. What rights are put at risk through this process and what new opportunities are being missed? How do we bring technology and its impacts on the arts (positive and negative) back into a public discursive space? How do we shift the arts from a passive to an active voice in the imaging the future of arts and technology in Australia (by 2030)?

The Arts Front Technology work is driven by ongoing research and analysis being undertaken by a growing team of contributors headed up by Elliott Bledsoe (Agentry). The Technology stream will investigate these key questions:

  • Artists in the networked future – how will the arts interact with emerging digital trends and make use of the new technologies?
  • First Peoples and technology – what happens when the world’s oldest cultures collide with the digital revolution?
  • Case studies – what are some interesting and innovative examples of artists and artwork using technology?


Recent activities


Arts Front Human Rights and Technology submission

Arts Front’s submission to the set out some of the ways in which culture and the arts,
technology and human rights inter-relate. In particular the submission looked at:

  • Creative practice that utilises experimental methodologies to engage with other fields of inquiry such as science, medicine and technology
  • The crucial role of the arts to the complete enjoyment to freedom of expression
  • The potential for conflict between copyright and artistic freedom, and how this is compounded by technology.
  • The vulnerability of artists in terms of human rights
  • The importance of access to, enjoyment of and participation in culture and the arts and how technology and the internet can increase people’s ability to do so
  • How access to, enjoyment of and participation in culture and the arts is fundamental to realising a number of other social, cultural and economic right

A copy of the submission is published on the consultation website.