Justin O’Connor

From 2012-2018 Justin O’Connor was Professor of Communications and Cultural Economy at Monash University, Melbourne. In that same period, he was part of the UNESCO ‘Expert Facility’, supporting the ‘2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Diversity’. Justin has produced creative industry policy reports for the Australia Federal Government and the Tasmanian State Government, and recently for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DEFAT) on ‘Creative Industries and Soft Power’. Previously, he helped set up Manchester’s Creative Industries Development Service (CIDS) and Forum on Creative Industries (FOCI). He has advised cities in Europe, Russia, Korea and China. Under the UNESCO/EU Technical Assistance Programme he has worked with the Ministries of Culture in both Mauritius and Samoa to develop cultural industry strategies.

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Art and Culture after Covid-19

Everyone seems to agree that the Covid-19 pandemic has a huge impact on the economy, social relations, politics, and culture. We’re nowhere near through this crisis yet, and alternative futures are already being promoted, others wait to ‘get back to normal’, while most people are too busy coping with the emergency. In this ferment of events and contestation, it’s valuable to be reminded of the bigger picture. This essay by Professor Justin O’Connor (University of South Australia) places the current situation of cultural organisations and workers in a historical context, reminding us of their developing relationship with the political economy of recent decades. It is also challenging because it asks what compromises have been made by cultural actors in pursuit of recognition and at what costs.

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