Is it possible that the future of Australia would involve increased crowd support rather than “conventional” funding means? If so what will that mean for the industry as a whole and the definition of the term professionalism in the arts.
It seems that the term has a future of being defined by reference to the body of work amassed by the individual practitioner of arts rather than by reference to the source of income that the practitioner has.
It also seems likely that any crowd supported art efforts will be marked by an increase in the number of group activities. Even a half hearted scan of crowdsourcing opportunities reveals that in almost every sector such activities are characterised by being by or for groups, usually medium to large groups, of practitioners.
The emphasis then will be up on people working collaboratively to secure both hey source of support for their work as well as validation as professional arts practitioners. In those circumstances the power and forgiveness of union amongst at practitioners will increase and the need to treat those unions as a valuable re-sauce for the furtherance of arts will be far more than ever before.
Against those future prospects will be arrayed the conventional practices of the industry. Those practices include a preference for dealing with those who are represented by agents or through intermediaries and the utilisation of conventional legal structures and constructs that determine how relationships are to be conducted both now, in the future and in the event of a breakdown. The understandable preference (no doubt, arising from long established practice and all of the benefits of experience attached to their two) for conventional or even stereotypical approach is to practising in the professional arts community will continue to be the effective regulator of arts professionalism in Australia. The ability of practitioners to engage with those regimes that wish to continue to maintain the status quo will be limited by their access to that collective experience and education and training that will seek to pursue validation of the emerging industrial norms.
The upshot of all of this is to consider that what happened in the music industry with the invention of home studio recording and access to desktop publishing will become a template for arts practitioners going forward. Whether or not this will see a retreat into the confines of their homes, studies or bedrooms remains to be seen. What impact that has on the informed and experienced authorial voice of those practitioners is anyone’s guess.