Brigalow bondage: Rural women and the arts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

'The arts' is a field of activity and power which has traditionally been associated with 'great men'; women have typically been represented as having only tenuous links with the field. However, in regional and rural areas, women are by far the major arts participants, organisers and educators, and tend to operate not as individuals, but as members of arts groups. Possibly as a corollary, while arts in rural areas recruits substantial community participation, the activity apparently receives little media coverage or support from governments or corporations, relative to other recreational activities. In this paper I will discuss 'the arts' as a social practice, with its own internal rules and logic, and explore the social location of arts beyond the metropolis. To this end I will outline the results of my research to date in the field of arts in Central Queensland, drawing on policy statements and on interviews with (mainly women) rural art practitioners. The paper examines whether the logic of the field of arts changes when it is moved from the city to the bush, and discusses to what extent this can be attributed to the social position of women in rural communities. It attempts to engage with social relations in regional Queensland, and the incommensurability of the public and private spheres. That is, women arts practitioners are actively engaged in a public activity-dealing with funding, public relations and policy implementation-yet are perceived (and, typically, perceive themselves) to be operating largely within the private sphere. This suggests that modes of representation have greater material effects than empirical 'realities'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Semiotics
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

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