Australia’s arts have never been particularly welcoming to its critics, but hostility is growing. Howard considers the current critical landscape, diminishing publishing space, and the treatment of audiences as consumers rather than participants. But, in looking at the ways critical thinking empowers audiences, she considers the biggest winners from supporting criticism will be arts organisations themselves.
Jane Howard is a freelance journalist, critic, artist and researcher. She is a contributing editor at Kill Your Darlings, where she focuses on podcast criticism, and a regular contributor to The Guardian Australia. Her writing has been published in ABC Arts Online, RealTime, Meanjin, The Lifted Brow, Crikey, Junkee and The Stage. Jane’s artistic work explores writing in collaborative digital spaces, most prominently as director of the 2016 Digital Writers’ Festival. She is currently manager of communications and development at ActNow, research assistant at Deakin University and a 2018 Australia Council Future Leader.