Arts Centre Melbourne | Asia TOPA

Arts Centre Melbourne
Research team
Professor Hilary Glow
Professor Katya Johanson
Dr Andrea North-Samardiz
Dr Anne Kershaw
Dr Amanda Coles
Dr Jordan Vincent

The Impact of Asia TOPA on the Victorian cultural sector: Collaboration and Capacity Building

With 280 events created by over 30 participating Australian cultural organisations and 1000 artists drawn from the region, the 2017 Asia TOPA was a first for Melbourne in its ambitious scope, the range of countries and cultures with which it engaged, and the collaboration it expected from the cultural sector as well as from business and government partners.

Beyond its strategic value - informing future program design, collaboration, planning and allocation of resources to areas of strategic priority, report findings have been an asset when connecting with federal, state and local government funders as we begin advocacy for the next Asia TOPA in 2020; presenting the complexity of Asia TOPA's achievements in a way that demonstrates impact, but also captures its strengths, challenges and opportunities for the future

Arts Centre Melbourne, on behalf of the Asia TOPA consortium, commissioned an evaluation of Asia TOPA’s experience in providing networks between collaborating arts institutions and in leveraging funding across public and philanthropic sources, and of its impact on arts audiences. The evaluation had the support of the City of Melbourne and the Australian government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Communications and the Arts. The evaluation took the form of an in-depth, critical and grounded report on Asia TOPA’s approach to management and capacity building, audience development and funder engagement.

[the report] demonstrated [the] benefits of genuine and rigorous evaluation; [it] laid foundations for future sector collaboration and data sharing; identified factors that contributed to success of Asia TOPA, with key learnings for future delivery; encouraged more flexible work practices suited to culturally diverse artists and audiences; [and] built sector understanding of Australia's role in the Asia-Pacific and for harnessing the arts as a vehicle supporting Australia's cultural and economic objectives
—John Clark, Arts Centre Melbourne

Image credits: AR Rahman, photo: Mark Gambino; Attractor at XO State; Satan Jawa; Pavarthy Baul at XO State, photo: Kate Dyer