Australian arts are right at home on ABC

No media organisation does more than the ABC to promote and provide a forum for the arts and artists in Australia.

The ABC’s ongoing commitment to the arts and culture across multiple platforms includes RN’s The Stage Show, The Art Show, The Book Show, The Music Show, The Screen Show, The Bookshelf, Lost and Found, Blueprint, Stop Everything! and Indigenous program Awaye!.

Joining them is ABC News’ weekly arts, entertainment and culture program The Mix, plus popular ABC TV titles including Anh’s Brush With Fame, Rage and the Spicks and Specks specials, as well as coverage of live events such as New Year’s Eve, triple j’s One Night Stand and major Australian music and arts festivals.

The ABC’s national music networks offer unparalleled support for Australian artists across ABC Classic, ABC Country, ABC Jazz, Double J, triple j and triple J Unearthed – which has kicked off the careers of thousands of local musicians, including Tones and I and Missy Higgins.

The ABC’s new arts content in 2020 includes documentaries Leplastrier – Framing the View, The Leunig Fragments and Getting Their Acts Together, plus upcoming films on Midnight Oil, Bangarra Dance Theatre and Australia’s “Queen of Honky Tonk”.

This year, the ABC has further increased its support for Australian artists and creatives impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with our Charter requirement to encourage and promote the musical, dramatic and other performing arts in Australia, recent examples of the ABC’s enhanced arts content include:

  • June 2020: The ABC’s decision to repurpose the ABC Comedy channelinto a broader destination for showcasing multiple genres will enable us to bring more Arts content to mainstream audiences in primetime.
  • June 2020: RN’s Big Weekend of Books celebrated authors, readers and writing, including conversations with some of the best writers from around the world, such as Hilary Mantel, Elizabeth Gilbert and Christos Tsiolkas. The weekend-long event was produced in response to the cancellation of major literary festivals due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • May 2020: With the lights out in theatres and concert halls due to COVID-19, the ABC launched a collection on iview of Australian arts content across theatre, opera, ballet and classical music. The launch of more than 30 performances represented the biggest catalogue from Australian arts companies ever offered on-demand to our viewers. The ABC also launched RN’s The Bookshelf – a monthly Book Club bringing together a panel of readers to discuss the books they’re reading, recommending or have always wanted to get to.

  • May 2020: The ABC TOP 5 media residency scheme was expanded to artists and arts scholars for the first time. The inaugural ABC TOP 5 Arts, in partnership with the University of Melbourne and Australia Council for the Arts, supports early-career graduate PhD arts scholars and graduate arts practitioners across the visual arts, performance, design, architecture and screen.

  • April 2020: The ABC launched the Fresh Start Fund to provide urgent and critical support to Australian independent producers and creatives. This included the Arts Digital Fund for innovative new arts content and Australian Music Fund to support independent artists and musicians across all ABC music networks.
  • April 2020: The ABC boosted support for local artists and creatives impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
    • The ABC’s national music networks are already well above the industry’s Australian music quotas for radio (triple j plays 60% of Australian music). But we are looking to further increase the proportion of local music featured and played on-air across national and local and regional radio to assist Australian musicians.
    • triple j, Double J and triple j Unearthed announced a special edition of Ausmusic T-shirt Day, held on 17 April, to encourage listeners to buy and wear a new T-shirt from their favourite Australian artist.
    • We are working with partners across all arts platforms to co-host virtual festivals and events, from book clubs to live streaming performances.
    • ABC Music launched the #covidcoverschallenge on social media to support Australian country music, by encouraging musicians to post videos of their performances.
    • ABC Classic is keeping the music going as Australia’s Concert Hall, working with Australian musicians to bring audiences concerts and livestreams and a list of online music events.
    • ABC music networks worked with the Australian music industry on the Sound of Silenceinitiative, which is supporting local artists and music industry workers during the shutdown of live music performances.

The ABC also works closely with Australian arts organisations and institutions to raise awareness about Australian artworks, performances and exhibitions. Recent examples of such partnerships include:

  • In June 2020, ABC Classic partnered with the Australian Chamber Orchestra to spend a week celebrating the Orchestra’s 30-year relationship with their Artistic Director, Richard Tognetti.
  • In May 2020, the ABC partnered with the University of Melbourne and the Australia Council for the inaugural ABC TOP 5 for artists and arts scholars.
  • In 2020, the ABC partnered with the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) on their #knowmyname campaign to advance recognition of female artists.
  • From November 2019 to February 2020, ABC Classic partnered with the NGA around their summer exhibition Matisse & Picasso.
  • In 2019, the ABC entered into a media partnership with the Copyright Agency for the Miles Franklin Award.
  • In 2017, the ABC announced a three-year creative collaboration with the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), including the Finding the Field documentary on ABC TV.
  • ABC RN has an annual media partnership with the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

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