GLAM Peak Meeting 15 National Film & Sound Archive (NFSA) Canberra

Meeting No. 15 of GLAM Peak was held on Friday 26 July and hosted by the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA).

GLAM Peak is the peak representative bodies of the galleries, libraries, archives and museums across Australia – which began meeting in mid-2015, collaborating to enable people to access, use and build on our national collections.

The key focus of this meeting was GLAM advocacy planning, and understanding the motivations and key emphases of the incoming political environment in which we all operate in.

On that note, some key presentations from Kylie Brass (AAH), Sue McKerracher (ALIA), Alex Marsden/Robin Hirst (AMaGA), Ross Latham (TAHO) and Meg Labrum (NFSA) reminded us of the great advocacy campaigns that:

The key themes were to “see the problem, and be the solution”; “fortune favours the brave”; “find the FUN in boring”, and get the public community support by not trying to explain too much by keeping our message simple.

First of the guest speakers was Stephen Arnott, Head of the Arts Division in the Dept of Communication and Arts provided some background on new emphases of the incoming government; being the importance of data and analysis in backing up the arguments in the GLAM sector, Brand Australia and the “national story” and constitutional recognition for Aboriginal people. Key message here is again “no stories without data, no data without stories.” No “motherhood statements” unless they can be backed up with facts. Important to draw the connection between regional Australia that drives the Australian identity, and the outreach of the GLAM sector into the regions. Also to take note is that the incoming Government is outlaying $750M for the Arts, which is the biggest spend of any government ever.

The second of our guest speakers was Kate Fielding (AAH), who addressed us at the Melbourne meeting some years back, and has now returned to outline the key findings of A New Approach’s upcoming report The Big Picture: Public Expenditure on Artisic, Cultural and Creative Activity in Australia. Further details available on their website here and in the media release. Firstly we should refer to the GLAM sector, as not a ‘sector’ as such, but as a source of activity.  The report would also provide some important factual evidence that could be used to support our advocacy pitches, but she advised not to use the adverse findings in the report as ammunition to take pot shots, or criticise the government, which would prove counterproductive to our collective aims. We need to speak as one united voice, and avoid the institutional fragmentation, concentrate not on ourselves but who we serve, undivided, understand our audience as “participators”, be relevant to the regions, talk about the impact of your products, and not the products themselves. So, harkening back to Ross Latham’s Monash Uni example; that archives, a constituent in GLAM, is more than just nostalgia, or historical lightweight “entertainment”; they can change, transform and enhance the lives of people that have been subjected to profound harm from the inside of bureaucratic systems. Important to emphasise such things in a STEMM driven political environment.

Next meeting is to be held in Brisbane, and the agenda and papers from this meeting (along with most of the preceding meetings) have been posted on the Australian Society of Archivists GLAMR page:

GLAM Peak Meeting No.15 National Film & Sound Archive (NFSA), Canberra ACT. 26 July 2019

Gionni Di Gravio
University Archivist and ASA GLAM Representative

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