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

Wendy Davis, Katherine Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


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. igitisation, 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian Library Journal
Issue number1
Early online date26 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • Cultural heritage
  • Cultural policy
  • GLAM


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