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Petition against scrapping of Australian federal arts department signed by 34,000

Plus: Arts Council England to monitor class background of arts workers | Protests at Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts over unpaid staff wages | and Caroline Fowler named director of Research and Academic Program at Clark Art Institute

16 December 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Petition against scrapping of Australian federal arts department signed by 34,000 | A petition on change.org, calling for the removal of all of the 6,500 artworks at Parliament House in Canberra, has been signed by more than 34,000 people. The petition states that the demand is a ‘demonstrations to politicians of the intrinsic value of the arts’, after the decision taken by the Australian government, announced by prime minister Scott Morrison on 6 December, to incorporate the federal arts department into a new Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, as part of a restructuring that has reduced the number of governmental departments from 18 to 14. Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications and the Arts, has stated that there will be no reduction in the resources allocated to the arts as a result of the changes.

Arts Council England to monitor class background of arts workers | Arts Council England (ACE) has announced that it will begin collecting data from arts organisations on the socio-economic background of employees, with a view to improving the representation of people from working class backgrounds in the culture sector. Simon Mellor, deputy chief executive of ACE, has said that he hopes to begin publishing the data in the charity’s annual diversity report in 2021, which currently includes data about gender, ethnicity and disability.

Protests at Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts over unpaid staff wages | The Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura (INBAL) in Mexico City was closed by staff unions last Wednesday (11 December) in response to the delayed payment of their wages. Workers spoke to Hyperallergic about the strikes, stating that their wages have been routinely delayed in recent years.

Caroline Fowler named director of Research and Academic Program at Clark Art Institute | Caroline Fowler has been named the new Starr Director of the Research and Academic Program at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Fowler has been interim director for the past year, having first joined the Clark as associate director for the programme in 2018.

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