Cultural policy and Australia's national cultural heritage: Issues and challenges in the GLAM landscape

Davis, Wendy & Howard, Katherine (2013) Cultural policy and Australia's national cultural heritage: Issues and challenges in the GLAM landscape. The Australian Library Journal, 62(1), pp. 15-26.

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In 2012 the Australian Commonwealth government was scheduled to release the first dedicated policy for culture and the arts since the Keating government's Creative Nation (1994). Investing in a Creative Australia was to appear after a lengthy period of consultation between the Commonwealth government and all interested cultural sectors and organisations. When it eventuates, the policy will be of particular interest to those information professionals working in the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) environment. GLAM is a cross-institutional field which seeks to find points of commonality among various cultural-heritage institutions, while still recognising their points of difference.

Digitisation, collaboration and convergence are key themes and characteristics of the GLAM sector and its associated theoretical discipline. The GLAM movement has seen many institutions seeking to work together to create networks of practice that are beneficial to the cultural-heritage industry and sector. With a new Australian cultural policy imminent, it is timely to reflect on the issues and challenges that GLAM principles present to national cultural-heritage institutions by discussing their current practices. In doing so, it is possible to suggest productive ways forward for these institutions which could then be supported at a policy level by the Commonwealth government. Specifically, this paper examines four institutions: the National Gallery of Australia, the National Library of Australia, the National Archives of Australia and the National Museum of Australia. The paper reflects on their responses to the Commonwealth's 2011 Cultural Policy Discussion Paper. It argues that by encouraging and supporting collecting institutions to participate more fully in GLAM practices the Commonwealth government's cultural policy would enable far greater public access to, and participation in, Australia's cultural heritage. Furthermore, by considering these four institutions, the paper presents a discussion of the challenges and the opportunities that GLAM theoretical and disciplinary principles present to the cultural-heritage sector.

Implications for Best Practice

  • GLAM is a developing field of theory and practice that encompasses many issues and challenges for practitioners in this area.

  • GLAM principles and practices are increasingly influencing the cultural-heritage sector.

  • Cultural policy is a key element in shaping the future of Australia's cultural-heritage sector and needs to incorporate GLAM principles.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 83878
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Cultural policy, Cultural heritage, GLAM, Australia
DOI: 10.1080/00049670.2013.774684
ISSN: 2201-4276
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES (080700)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Information Systems
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Australian Library and Information Association
Copyright Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The Australian Library Journal on 26 March 2013, available online:
Deposited On: 05 May 2015 23:14
Last Modified: 15 May 2015 11:41

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