The Digital Culture Public Sphere

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011 @ 1:30PM

On 11th August 2011 Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean, released a discussion paper seeking public input into the National Cultural Policy. This consultation will help to determine a 10 year strategic vision to ensure our arts, cultural and creative endeavours resonate with a 21st century, globally competitive, internationally celebrated and culturally diverse Australia.

The Final Submission was submitted to the Minister on 21 October 2011.

UPDATE: you can browse the content from the day in the schedule below. We are adding notes and links for all talks.

The National Cultural Policy itself covers three major sectors:

  • traditional core arts such as opera, dance, theatre, literature, music, visual arts and craft,
  • creative industries such as games development, film, animation, media content, architecture, fashion, design & publishing,
  • cultural heritage such as the work done by cultural institutions (regional metro & national galleries, libraries, archives & museums) and Australia’s Indigenous culture.

The Office of Senator Kate Lundy in collaboration with the Office of Minister Simon Crean is running a Digital Culture Public Sphere consultation to look specifically at the digital arts and industries as well as opportunities for cultural institutions around digitisation, public engagement and collaboration.

This consultation will result in a submission that will be presented directly to the Minister as part of the broader National Cultural Policy consultation.

Minister Crean strongly supports the initiative:

“The Digital Culture Public Sphere consultation is a breakthrough exercise in bringing together ideas and projects, working them through and providing a rich base of information and pathways for Australia’s digital cultural challenges and opportunities. It will provide a valuable contribution to the National Cultural Policy Consultation which is an important opportunity to examine how the Australian Government should support arts and culture in the 21st century.”

“We are laying the foundations for the broad cultural arts and industries in Australia at a time when high speed broadband will provide a platform to use our cultural collections and creative skills for new applications, education and research services. I welcome contributions from the digital arts and industries as well as cultural institutions across Australia”.

Australia is ideally positioned for strong digital arts and industries in the global context, with a highly skilled sector, ubiquitous high speed broadband being rolled out, a high quality of life and our multicultural character. All these elements contribute to a unique creative and cultural footprint. Digital Culture is something for which Australia has an international reputation. Not surprisingly there are significant social and economic opportunities available through the creation of a strategic approach across the sector.

This Public Sphere consultation is being done in collaboration with the broader digital arts and industries community. The aim is to draw together expertise and diverse ideas from individuals and organisations right across the digital arts and industry spectrum, and from all around Australia.

We look forward to your participation in this important piece of policy development, whether online or in person.

If you want to be kept up to date with progress of the consultation, please register for the Live Event either as a Regular Attendee or as an Online Participant, as we will email updates to those lists.

For more information about the Digital Culture Public Sphere please see below including how you contribute. Or you can contact the Public Sphere Coordinator, Pia Waugh on 0400966453

How to Contribute to the Consultation:

  • Wiki: Edit the draft submission directly by going to the Digital Culture Public Sphere wiki.
  • Blog: Post comments, links to papers, case studies and ideas to the comments below – which will then be summarised and presented at the event as part of the proceedings.
  • Twitter: Tweet with #publicsphere so we can find your ideas, collate and include them as part of the feedback.
  • Facebook: Post your ideas on the Facebook page at
  • Email or snail mail: You can also contribute to the topic by emailing or sending us a letter, but please note all topic correspondence will be published here on the topic blog for public transparency and peer review.
  • Run a roundtable: Run your own discussion or roundtable event and post the outcomes here in the comments.
  • Live Event: Join us for our Live Event (Sydney), which will be video streamed online so you can participate remotely. Please register to reserve a spot because spaces are limited to the venue capacity. Please see the full schedule below
  • Live Streaming: You can watch the Live Event remotely and participate in the online discussions on the day through
  • Video: Submit a (maximum) 10 minute talk by video submission by adding a link to the comments at the bottom of this post.
  • Endorse: Endorse the ideas that you think are most important, ideas will be put into an endorsement system from the 6th October till the 20th October and will be linked here.

Outcomes and the Consultation Framework:

All contributions to the Public Sphere – including the talks and discussions at the event – will be collated into a draft submission including the ideas put forward through the comments on this blog, Tweets to the #publicsphere hashtag, posts on the Facebook page, comments on the wiki, talks and live-blogging. The draft briefing paper is on the wiki and will be publicly editable until the 15th October. The briefing paper is then finalised, published online and then presented to Minister Crean before the 21st October.

The final submission will directly reflect the vision and ideas of the participants.

The consultation approach aligns closely with the National Cultural Policy discussion paper, incorporating specified by Minister Crean in his introduction, as well as ideas about the digital components of each of the policy goals defined in the discussion paper background.

  1. A vision and success for the different sectors of the digital cultural landscape, and then ideas for how to reach each goal. Participants are encouraged to consider areas such as skills development, funding & entrepreneurialism, new opportunities, existing challenges, emerging business models and technologies, the current state of each area, public access & participation and case studies that showcase excellence in each area:
    • Games development
    • Film & Animation
    • Media & Music
    • Digital Arts
    • Cultural Institutions (GLAMs) looking at opportunities for collaboration, digitisation, access and public engagement in cultural heritage
  2. The Big Picture, the role that arts and culture can play in meeting Australian aspirations and what success would look like for digital culture in Australia:
    • To ensure that what the government supports – and how this support is provided – reflects the diversity of a 21st Century Australia, and protects and supports Indigenous culture.
    • To encourage the use of emerging technologies and new ideas that support the development of new artworks and the creative industries, and that enable more people to access and participate in arts and culture.
    • To support excellence and world-class endeavour, and strengthen the role that the arts play in telling Australian stories both here and overseas.
    • To increase and strengthen the capacity of the arts to contribute to our society and economy.

Target Audience for the Public Sphere:

  1. Digital Arts & Industries – games development communities and companies, film, music, media, animation, data visualisation communities, augmented reality communities, a broad representation of industry, creatives and community.
  2. Cultural institutions including regional, metro and national galleries, libraries archives and museums – specifically looking at digital cultural assets, online engagement & access initiatives so facilitate public engagement with our culturally diverse heritage and generating ideas for how cultural institutions can collaborate.

The Public Sphere Methodology

Conversations (weeks 1-5)

In this phase:

  • the consultation is launched as a blog with a corresponding wiki and Twitter hashtag (#publicsphere),
  • the blog is promoted throughout identified communities of interest and participants are encouraged to comment on the blog, wiki and on established social media networks (all to be collated for the consultation),
  • the Live Event creates the opportunity for discussion time to share and develop ideas. The Live Event is live streamed over the internet for public discussion and peer review,
  • the community is encouraged to run focused roundtables with their sector to contribute to the Consultation and to participate in the discussions online during the Live Event.

Consolidation & Submission (weeks 6-7)

In this phase:

  • all input collated is published in one place (on a wiki) for public review along with a draft submission paper based on the input for public feedback,
  • after the Live Event the ideas are all put into an endorsement system for quality assurance,
  • the wiki is closed on October 15th and submission is finalised and published online,
  • the submission is then presented to the Minister prior to the 21st October for consideration and the participating community contributions are recognised through a public thanks.

The Digital Culture Public Sphere Live Event

The Live Event will be on October 6th in the Sydney CBD. Details are being confirmed and will be announced on this blog in the coming week. To reserve a place at the event, please register. Please note that this event will be live streamed online so anyone from around Australia can participate in the discussions, and give their feedback on the ideas presented on the day.

Please note that contributions made to the consultation prior to the 6th October will be consolidated and presented to the Live Event as part of the schedule to feed into the discussions, so please contribute your ideas before then!

Date: 6th October 2011
Time: 0900 – 1700
Location: The NSW Teacher Federation Conference Centre, 37 Reservoir Street Surry Hills NSW 2010. Limited parking available, short walk from Central Station and buses.
RSVP: Either as a Regular Attendee if you want to participate in person, or as an Online Participant if you want to be kept up to date with announcements. Register at

The Live Event Schedule

Speakers to be announced closer to the date so stay tuned. Please note, all talks will be designed to stimulate discussion.

0900 Welcome and introduction to Public Sphere and process Senator Kate Lundy
Session 1: Defining a vision for different sectors
0920 Short talks – one for each sector
* Games Development
* Film & Animation
* Cultural Media & Music
* Digital Arts
* Cultural Institutions
* Ron Curry (iGEA) [speech notes]
* Matthew Deaner (Screen Australia) [slides]
* John Wardle [discussion paper]
* Paul Wallbank [blog of speech]
* Tim Hart (Museum of Victoria) [slides]
1010 Split into sectors to discuss vision and what successful implementation would look like
1045 Morning Tea and continue discussions
1115 Brief report back from tables on their discussions on vision and success
Session 2: Ideas for how to get there
1155 Short talks – one for each sector
* Games Development
* Film & Animation
* Cultural Media & Music
* Digital Arts
* Cultural Institutions
* Paul Callaghan [video presentation]
* Dr Paul Brock (NSWDEC, Sydney Uni) [speech notes]
* Craig Wilson (Sticky Ads) [blog of speech notes]
* Caitlin Vaughan (ICE) [video]
* Suse Cairns (University of Newcastle) [blog of speech]

Please note, Dr Brock stepped in for Greg Hall (Producer of Lockout). We will post Greg’s video as soon as it is available.
1245 Address from Minister Simon Crean [speech notes]
1300 Split into sectors and discuss ideas for how to achieve your vision, using themes below as guide:
* Existing Challenges – the current state of play.
* Local excellence – training, entrepreneurialism, talent and skills development.
* Funding & Support – R&D, startups, skills devel+B10, funding.
* New Opportunities – emerging business models & technologies, public access and participation.
1330 Lunch and continue discussions
1400 Brief report from tables on their discussions on ideas to achieve the vision – reports viewable in livestream captured video
Session 3: The role that arts and culture can play in meeting Australian aspirations & what success would look like for each goal
1430 Short talks – one for each goal
* To ensure that what the government supports – and how this support is provided – reflects the diversity of a 21st Century Australia, and protects and supports Indigenous culture.
* To encourage the use of emerging technologies and new ideas that support the development of new artworks and the creative industries, and that enable more people to access and participate in arts and culture.
* To support excellence and world-class endeavour, and strengthen the role that the arts play in telling Australian stories both here and overseas.
* To increase and strengthen the capacity of the arts to contribute to our society and economy.
Speakers:All afternoon talks are available on the captured livestream video.
* Lisa Havilah (CarriageWorks)* Gavin Artz (ANAT) [slides]* Tony Moore (Monash University) [speech notes, [slides]]* Elliot Bledsoe (Australian Council for the Arts) [slides]
1510 Split into groups (cross sector if possible) to discuss the vision of each goal.
1540 Afternoon Tea and continue discussions
1610 Brief report back from each group on vision, success and ideas for each goal for The Big Picture and opportunity any last thoughts to share with the consultation.
1630 Wrapup and Close Senator Kate Lundy


Finally, an enormous thank you to our sponsors for their support in running the Digital Culture Public Sphere Live Event:

Google AustraliaGoogle Australia

Google’s search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day and its targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results. Our Sydney office is a central hub for Google in developing innovative products and partnering with Aussie businesses to help them take advantage of the digital economy. With over 500 employees, Australia has produced exciting global projects like: Chrome, Maps, Docs & App Engine. We were voted BRW’s Best Place to Work in 2009 and 2011.


iGEA is an industry association representing Australian and New Zealand companies in the computer and video game industry. Our members publish, market and/or distribute interactive games and entertainment content.

Screen Australia

Screen Australia is the key government agency supporting the development of a creative, innovative and commercially sustainable Australian screen production industry. Screen Australia offers funds for the development, production and marketing of Australian screen content, as well as for the development of Australian talent and screen production businesses.

Cisco SystemsCisco

Cisco Systems, Inc. is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. Today, networks are an essential part of business, education, government and home communications, and Cisco Internet Protocol-based (IP) networking solutions are the foundation of these networks. Cisco hardware, software, and service offerings are used to create Internet solutions that allow individuals, companies, and countries to increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction and strengthen competitive advantage. The Cisco name has become synonymous with the Internet, as well as with the productivity improvements. At Cisco, our vision is to change the way people work, live, play and learn.

Adobe Australia

We help our customers create and deliver compelling content and applications as well as fully realise their business potential. Together we’re turning engaging digital experiences into more valuable interactions every day — across media and devices, anywhere, anytime. Adobe helps customers create highly compelling content, deliver it across diverse media and devices, and then optimise it through systematic targeting and measurement. Only Adobe offers this complete spectrum of capabilities, providing a critical competitive edge in today’s ever-changing media landscape.

In-Kind Software Sponsors


Leximancer is the latest in text analytics software, allowing powerful insights to be discovered automatically from electronic text in an unbiased way. Leximancer supports the Digital Culture Consultation by providing analytic services to derive insights from the  submissions. Leximancer: From words to meaning to insight.


Palantir Technologies is working to radically change how groups analyze information. We were founded in 2004 by a handful of PayPal alumni and Stanford computer scientists. Since then we’ve doubled in size every year while retaining our early-stage values: a startup culture, strong work ethic, and rigorous hiring standards. We currently offer two products: Palantir Government and Palantir Finance. Both are platforms for integrating, visualizing, and analyzing the world’s information. We support many kinds of data including structured, unstructured, relational, temporal, and geospatial. Our products are built for real analysis with a focus on security, scalability, ease of use, and collaboration.

Share this page

    Posted by
    Categories: Digital Culture Public Sphere
    Tags: , , , , ,

    Comments are closed.