A thriving arts, culture, media and entertainment industry
Contemporary Australia is home to a wide range of creative arts and industries, from world-class films, visual and performing arts, to publishing and the games industry. Australia has a vibrant arts, culture and entertainment community which is known internationally for its unique cultural style and enriched Indigenous history. Australia also plays a key role in the education, training and development of future leaders across all arts and creative industries.
The Australian government recognises that a creative economy contributes to cultural diversity, social inclusion, environmental sustainability and technological advancement. Creativity is key to innovation, driving sustainability and prosperity. Creativity and innovation play an important role in Australia’s resilience to recent global economic challenges, helping Australia to register 22 years of uninterrupted economic growth.
The arts and creative industries are integral to contemporary Australian values, self-expression, confidence and engagement with the world.
Visit Australian Stories to learn more about Australia's history and culture.
Creative Industry Sectors:
Australian Expertise Delivering World Class Venues
Australia has one of the most sophisticated arts and creative sectors in the world an international reputation for designing, building and successfully managing world-leading cultural institutions.
Download the Cultural Precincts publication for an overview of Australian capability and examples of Australian companies with expertise across;
- infrastructure, sustainable design and engineering
- programming, curation and research
- venue, facilities and production management
- audience engagement, education and public relations
- technology and communications.
Australian writers have achieved huge international readerships, including; Thomas Keneally, Kate Grenville, Nevil Shute, Peter Carey, Bryce Courtenay, Kathy Lette and Nobel Prize winner Patrick White.
An increasing number of independent Australian publishers are taking their works offshore and attending the major book fairs in London, Bologna, Frankfurt, Taipei and Warsaw.
Many smaller independent publishers attend fairs as members of the Australian Publishers Association (APA). The stalls attract overseas agents and publishers to purchase Australian books - or the right to publish them.
Australia has a vibrant performing arts sector, including; theatre works, orchestras, musicals, physical theatre, outdoor performances, theatre for young audiences and contemporary dance.
The Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) is a biennial, five-day event, showcasing Australian dance, music and theatre. International buyers and producers are welcomed at this event to network and purchase the rights to tour Australian performances. Festival and venue managers also have the opportunity to view Australian works and meet Australian producers at the Performing Arts Market in Seoul, Cinars in Montreal, and at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Conference in New York.
Australia is home to a vibrant community of artists — painters, photographers, potters, printmakers, glassblowers, sculptors, weavers, and digital and multimedia artists — working in a wide variety of genres and styles.
There is global interest in the Australian arts scene. Internationally recognised Australian artists include:
- Tracey Moffatt
- Shaun Gladwell
- John Brack
- Arthur Boyd
- Margaret Preston
- Sidney Nolan
- Brett Whiteley
- Ben Quilty
- Judy Watson
There is a booming trade in Australian Indigenous art and the works of Indigenous artists such as Emily Kame Kngwarreye, continue to be revered internationally.
There are over thirty academic institutions across Australia offering degrees in art, craft and design.
Australia regularly hosts exhibitions of local and international artists. Australia’s museums hold an estimated 54.9 million artworks and objects displaying a wide variety of genres and representing thousands of domestic and international artists.
The Australian Commercial Galleries Association (ACGA) is the lead industry body and is the industry export leader. There are over 50 galleries which are members of the ACGA, representing over 1300 artists.
Overseas buyers can view and purchase Australian art works at world art fairs, including the:
The Australian digital games industry has developed a reputation for quality. Australia has a dynamic and sophisticated game development industry, with more than 100 game development companies in Australia, developing games across all platforms. Australia offers world-class game development studios, which are recognised for creativity, innovation, quality and technical skills in games, tools and platforms.
Screen production – feature films, television and documentary
The Australian screen industry has achieved global recognition for documentary and commercial TV production.
Actors who have had great international success in TV include; Simon Baker (The Mentalist, The Guardian), Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under, Brothers and Sisters), Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development, Ally McBeal) and Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace).
Australian actors achieving international success in film, include:
- Eric Bana
- Cate Blanchett
- Toni Collette
- Russell Crowe
- Hugh Jackman
- Nicole Kidman
- Joel Edgerton
- Naomi Watts
Well-known Australian film directors include:
- Gillian Armstrong (Little Women, Oscar and Lucinda)
- Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Australia, The Great Gatsby)
- Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde)
- George Miller (the Oscar-winning Happy Feet 1 )
- Peter Weir (Gallipoli, Witness, The Truman Show)
- Bruce Beresford (Breaker Morant, Driving Miss Daisy).
Foreign buyers and commissioning editors of documentary films come together at the Australian International Documentary Conference in Adelaide. Film & TV producers meet at the annual Screen Producers Association of Australian Conference.
Screen services and facilities - diverse film locations and state-of-the-art technology
Australia has a sophisticated infrastructure of production, digital post production, special effects (VFX) and technical facilities.
Australia has spectacular and varied filming locations, including:
- futuristic cityscapes
- rugged deserts
- unspoilt coastlines
- ethnic neighbourhoods
- dusty outback towns
- mountain ranges
- sand dunes
- industrial plants
- European-style villages.
Hollywood blockbuster movies filmed in Australia include:
- The Great Gatsby
- The Matrix
- Star Wars II
- Mad Max
- Crocodile Dundee
- Mission Impossible II
- Superman Returns
- Happy Feet.
Australia's highly-skilled technical crews and world-class studio facilities make it a popular choice for offshore filming. Reverse seasons and time zones complement northern hemisphere shooting schedules.
Filming costs are lower than in the US, and government support through production and location tax incentives attracts overseas projects.
Many Australian musicians have achieved considerable success across the world. Global success stories include:
- Kylie Minogue
- Keith Urban
- Savage Garden
- Crowded House
On the classical front, acclaimed artists include:
- Dame Joan Sutherland
- Joan Carden
- Yvonne Kenny
- Emma Matthews.
Sounds Australia is a national music industry partnership to support Australia’s contemporary music sector at key music markets such as SxSW, The Great Escape, WOMEX, CMJ, Music Matters and Canadian Music Week.
Sounds Australia places Australia’s musical talents on the world map promotion the nation as a truly creative cultural hub. Sounds Australia facilitates export-focused networking and business brokering opportunities at domestic music market events. Export training, resources and tailored information are also delivered as a component of the Sounds Australia inbound strategy.
Visual arts/crafts and indigenous art
Film and TV