‘Should we care more than we do about our neighbours in the Asian region?’ ask the authors, who have spent a lifetime in such engagement.
This has been called the Asian century and Australia is being offered unique opportunities. But too few of us in the arts have experience, let alone in-depth knowledge, cultural fluency or competency in any Asian language. More should be made of those Australian artists who live and work in China, Japan, India and Indonesia, as well as the companies that tour with Asialink.
In the past, connections made through Foreign Affairs and the Australia Council have been subject to the changing policies of successive governments, and subservient to trade promotions and the overriding need for financial return. The authors outline the way public funding has reflected trade policy over cultural policy, propose a plan for a new direction and point to the benefits we are already earning by getting to know our neighbours better.