The Wolanski Foundation Project


Report no 1 section 7: Recommendation









List of papers








performing arts information management in New South Wales



The Wolanski Foundation

It is recommended that a performing arts foundation, based on the philanthropic objectives of the Dennis Wolanski Library and Archives Trust, be established to develop, in collaboration with relevant organisations, information services and products relating to the performing arts.

The establishment of the foundation does not preclude possible consortium arrangements that may be created in the future or for jointly funded projects with all or with particular organisations.

A separate strategic plan has been prepared, with the following goals and strategies:

1. Research

Stimulating improved management of performing arts information through research initiatives

2. Publishing

Connecting people to performing arts information resources, systems and networks through a website, educational products and other publications

3. Industry support

Supporting performing arts organisations, libraries, archives and museum through fellowships, grants, and other forms of assistance.


Quality management

In providing a mechanism to address needs, quality management principles and concepts will be useful not only as a guide for assessing the overall effort but also in developing collaborative projects. The principles of the Australian Quality Council, for example, provide pillars on which the future could be built:

  1. Leadership provides direction and creates a supportive environment

  2. Improvement should be plan-driven, not event driven

  3. Decisions and actions must be based on facts and data

  4. The most important resources are people - their creativity and knowledge

  5. People work within a system

  6. Quality is defined by the customer

  7. All systems and processes exhibit variability

  8. To improve output, improve the process

  9. Continual improvement relies on continuous learning.


Professional groups operate with varying degrees of effectiveness m Australia. They usually don't pool funds to achieve common goals. Unless additional funds are made available through government bodies or philanthropic trusts, group interests, understandably, usually play second fiddle to the demands of the individual institutions. Projects are usually completed at snail's pace. The potential for dovetailing professional thinking and experiences with related groups is not fully realised.

The Performing Arts Special Interest Group of Museums Australia (PASIG) is the principal national body currently serving the interests of organisations involved in the provision of performing arts information services. Its national committee includes representatives from Australian arts centres, museums, libraries, archives, art galleries and educational institutions. It aims to develop collaborative exhibition, information and collection management programs. It is currently developing a website that will include information on member collections, exhibitions, new books in the performing arts and hot links to member sites. The National Committee includes NSW representatives from the State Library, Powerhouse Museum, and NIDA.

PASIG therefore provides a mechanism for fruitful collaboration in NSW perhaps through the creation of a NSW division and the strengthening of state membership. The roles and relationships of kindred special interest groups like ARLIS/ANZ and IAML also need to be considered. The effectiveness of these groups could be strengthened with the support of an organisation able to commit funds and professional expertise..

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