Thursday, 11 March, 2021



The industries of arts, culture and creativity are fundamental to the building blocks that make a thriving community.

Economically, the creative arts contributes some $15 billion to the Australian Gross Domestic Product*. Often referred to as the ‘creative city’, it has been suggested that Newcastle is home to more artists per capita than any other region in Australia.

The impact of COVID-19 on the creative arts sectors in regional cities like Newcastle is yet to be explored.

The Independent Creative Alliance Newcastle (ICAN) has commissioned the University of Newcastle to undertake research that will investigate the impact of the pandemic, and the effect this has had on individual artists and organisations, particularly in the Newcastle LGA. The project has been funded by the City of Newcastle through the Special Business Rate program.

Led by Professor Roberta Ryan, the research will deliver an important baseline to:

  • establish an evidence-base of the impact of COVID-19 on individual artists and organisations
  • provide insight into the flow-on effects for the city’s cultural economy and
  • develop quantitative and qualitative data and evidence to support advocacy for the arts and culture sector.

The project methodology comprises three parts: a synthesis of the impact of COVID-19 on the arts and culture sector nationally and internationally; an online survey of sector representatives across Newcastle; and in-depth interviews.

The project is due for completion in April 2021.

Further information

For more information about this project, please contact the research support officer, Olivia Wyborn or phone (02) 4033 9457.

* Analysis and Policy Observatory, Art vs dismal science: the economics of Australia’s creative arts sector, April 2020