Counting culture to death: an Australian perspective on culture counts and quality metrics

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Metrics-based approaches to understanding the value of culture imply homogeneity of artistic purpose, invite political manipulation and demand time, money and attention from cultural organisations without proven benefit. The system retailing as Culture Counts, a dashboard approach to quality measurement that emerged from Western Australia and is currently trialling in Australia, the US, the UK and Asia, serves to further abstract assessment processes. Cultural policy-makers across international domains need a more robust appreciation of the limits of metrics. Statistical data, well channelled, may provide useful ancillary information. But, where questions of value are concerned, it cannot replace critical judgment.

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