Back in 2001 at a time of high uncertainty, Currency House ‘was conceived out of a conviction that the arts are fundamental to a civil society; that a society that does not value its own arts is a nation alienated from its own culture’. With this in mind, its editor, Katharine Brisbane, reflects on the legacy of the 62 authors published since 2004 who were given the brief to tell what it means in Australia to be an arts worker and defender of the public good.
Since then, the lives of artists have been overtaken by the digital realm, reforms to policy and globalisation. Some have used these incentives to achieve international success; but, for most, survival is more precarious than ever. Our public institutions, dedicated to providing accurate news, informed opinion, health care and social research, have also suffered. In 2020, Covid-19 has exposed the fragility of such a society. This Paper reviews the problems faced, and the opportunities now opening for us to set the arts on a more secure foundation.