Changing the story on arts, culture and creativity in Aotearoa; a guide for arts advocates about how to build support for a future where artists and creativity thrive, so all New Zealanders flourish.
The guide is for people already advocating for the arts, or anyone who wants to play a role in creating an Aotearoa where arts, culture and creativity thrive.
Aotearoa New Zealand's arts, cultural and creative sectors continue to face complex and significant challenges. A flourishing future for our arts sector will require a collective approach to advocating for the changes that will make the biggest difference.
The guide offers advice on how to build effective public narratives that:
- celebrate and support the role arts, culture and creativity play in our lives
- communicate what changes our sector and communities need to flourish.
Watch the video below to hear from some of the people involved in creating the guide, watch the guide launch event on YouTube or read more about Creative New Zealand’s advocacy work
Changing the story on arts, culture, and creativity in Aotearoa is available in a two main formats; the full guide, and a more concise ‘quick guide’ that communicates the key concepts. There are eText versions of both documents available for screen readers. There are also a limited number of printed copies available, email us at email@example.com to request one.
- Microsoft Word full version (docx, 73KB)
- HTML full version (new window)
- Plain text full version (txt, 94KB)
- Microsoft Word quick guide version (docx, 36KB)
- HTML quick guide version (new window)
- Plain text quick guide version (txt, 28KB)
These additional resources help put the advice in the guide into practice. Use the 'How to build an effective narrative' worksheet to create the core elements of your narrative like your vision, explanation and solution. Use the communications check list to double check that your communications materials are bringing the advice to life.
Over the coming months we’ll be working with The Workshop to support a community of practice – a group of arts advocates interested in sharing insights on how to bring the advice in the guide to life. If you’d like more information, or if you’re interested in joining, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We believe in building towards a future, where artists and creativity thrive so all New Zealanders flourish. Arts, culture and creativity are vital to our national identity, the resilience and vibrance of our communities and our individual wellbeing.
Part of Creative New Zealand’s role is to champion our arts and artists, and to advocate for the changes our arts, culture and creative sector need in order to thrive. We are uniquely placed to support this work though our own advocacy, and by building tools to support the advocacy of others – including storytelling, key messages, research, resources, evidence, and a shared approach to long term change.
We know that the sector is facing major challenges and requires change, and there is a huge appetite for advocacy right now. We know things can be better for all artists. To get to a future where the sector flourishes collective effort is required. We need to give better explanations about the changes needed, and we need to shift mindsets that stand in the way of positive change.
The guide is a tool to help us do this collectively, to help people who want support in their advocacy – to make our collective advocacy approach more impactful and effective.
Working with our sector advocacy group, Te Rōpū Mana Toi, showed us the powerful potential of this work, so we commissioned the guide to help bring these tools to a wider audience.
The guide aims to support those already advocating for the arts within their work. This might include people working in arts or community organisations, economic development agencies, councils, artist collectives and artists – anyone that is doing this important work.
We understand that the weight of this work should not fall exclusively on anyone’s individual shoulders and we’re not calling on the sector to do more. None of us can do this work alone. The guide aims to support the work that is already happening – to support the significant energy around advocacy, offering a framework that allows individual advocacy efforts to add up to a greater collective impact.
Advocacy works best when it comes from a range of voices with shared messages. We’re stronger when we work together and have the power to effect real change.
The guide offers advice on how to:
- build public narratives that celebrate and support the role arts, culture, and creativity play in our lives
- communicate what changes our sector and communities need to flourish
The advice in the guide is based on evidence around what works when advocating for systems change both here in Aotearoa and internationally. It uses tools that have been shown to shift dominant mindsets that act as barriers to increasing support and sentiment for change.
Our vision is for a country that thrives with diverse and transformative creative activity – one where all people are encouraged to find arts, culture, and creativity in their daily lives, and recognise the immense value it brings.
There are lots of ideas about what changes might make the sector thrive. These changes might include ways to enable viable careers for artists, long-term sustainable investment, and equity of access.
It might mean bringing labour protection of artists and cultural professionals into line with the general workforce, a base income for artists, or better pension and sick pay conditions for freelancers.
Te Rōpū Mana Toi – a group of sector leaders convened to advise Creative New Zealand on our advocacy mahi and advance advocacy at the national level – were our core sector insights group for this mahi. Their advice and guidance have been integral to the development of the work.
We also invited a selection of advocacy focused organisations to feed into the research and development of the guide. This included participants from The Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi, Te Taumata Toi a Iwi and Toi o Taraika Arts Wellington. Tanea Heke and Dr Lana Lopesi generously shared their specialist knowledge through 1:1 in depth interviews.
We also sought the input and advice of other sector leaders, who participated in user testing, as well as staff across Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa. We have woven Māori perspectives throughout the guide, with generous input from knowledge holders from Māori communities.
We encourage you to use the guide — and the checklists provided — to inform and test your advocacy communication. We encourage you to approach the resource with an open mind. The guide is not a quick fix and we know that this work takes sustained effort over a long time. We believe that if we collectively use this advice in an ongoing and habitual way, over time we will see the changes we want to see.
Every piece of advocacy has its own nuances, audiences, cultures, history, and objectives. Use the advice in the guide to scaffold your own communications for your specific needs.
We’d love your feedback and we’ll be working with The Workshop to support a community of advocates to bring this advice to life. If you’re interested in joining us as we work together to build support for a future where artists and creativity thrive, please contact us by email at email@example.com