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FEATURE vision wa 2040
We need to revel in the role of a young
city that’s constantly changing and
diversifying, while honouring the ancient
past of our Aboriginal people. Too often
people look at the bricks and mortar of
the last 200 years and suggest that we have
limited heritage, but we’ve got 50,000 years of
Aboriginal heritage. We need to acknowledge
those places that represent our Aboriginal
heritage, state- and city-wide, and make more
of them. We need to view our heritage through
a different lens with a sharper focus, and
contemplate it with more open minds.
Arts, culture and par ticipation are not
the domain of institutions. They are the
right and responsibility of everyone. We cannot
and should not think that we can demand
engagement, but we should provide the
opportunities for it to take place, and then it
is up to all of us to engage on our own terms.
Of course we need more public investment at
every level, but we need to keep encouraging
business and the independent sector and, as
individuals, we need to invest our own time,
energy and money. I believe that as a state we
are on the right path.
Cultural activity is vital to our state
and city. Not only as an economic driver and
tourism attractor, but also for what it contributes
in terms of livability, social capital, and giving
people an opportunity to express themselves.
We’ve all got our own identity, background and
heritage, and museums, galleries, performance,
music and food all provide important ways for
people to broaden their experiences and express
There is a definite appetite for culture
and the arts here, with sold-out events,
queues, growing audiences and growing
appreciation. But we can all be more than
consumers. It is time we better understood the
role that culture, in its widest sense, can play –
on one hand as a promoter of social cohesion,
pride and identity, and on the other as an
People still talk of travelling to see things
in other places but sometimes we need to
open our eyes and see that a lot is going
on here and there’s a lot more to come.
Too often people are disparaging about the
cultural richness of their own home, but we
should be confident, aspirational and believe in
ourselves. There is no reason for WA and Perth
to have an inferiority complex. Right now, there
is no place I’d rather be. In the past, other places
may have been investing more conspicuously
in cultural content and infrastructure, but right
now, this is our time.
One of the major challenges is self-belief.
Believing we can be the best, or as good
as the best. One challenge is to understand
that culture and creativity have many guises
and are about everything we do. Scientists,
ALEC COLES – CEO OF THE
WESTERN AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM
By 2040, WA will have changed and grown significantly – grown in size, of
course, but also, importantly, grown in stature on the world stage. Perth will be
a thriving, colourful multicultural city and WA will be an exciting and vibrant place
to live, work, play and visit. A place that treasures its ancient landscapes, its
environment and its human heritage, and embraces its incredible diversity and
the cultural vibrancy that creates. West Australians will have developed their
sense of shared identity and we will be proud to call ourselves West Australian,
proud to live in WA, and proud that people will be coming here from all over the
world to experience our culture – in all its forms.
engineers, journalists, chefs – these are all
very creative people. Cultural investment
breeds a sense of creativity in a community that
is self-perpetuating and allows it to push on.
The State Gover nment has committed
almost $430 million to the new WA
Museum. Opening in 2020, it will be a centre
for cultural activity, expression and enjoyment
a hub that also works with cultural partners
in the city and in the regions. The New WA
Museum is a major commitment to the future,
which is an irony of museums. People may
think they’re about the past, but they’re also
about the present and very much about the
future. They can help us understand ourselves,
each other, our environment and our world.
The WA Museum covers such a range of
subject areas – science, arts, history, culture,
communities – it has the potential to touch
everyone. In many ways we transcend and
stretch beyond the concept of a cultural
institution – we are a ‘whole of life’ institution
in both a temporal and philosophical sense.
Our aspiration is to be the heart of the state
and the soul of our people.
If you look at the major financial centres
of the world, they are all cities with
great cultural resources. These things
go hand-in-hand. It’s about co-investment,
creative capital, and creating an environment
where people want to explore, experience and
try new things.
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