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Home > View & Discuss > Paul Grabowsky on the creative arts

Paul Grabowsky on the creative arts

  • Date recorded: 20 Sep 2016

  • Duration: 36:22

'As inheritors of the oldest artistic traditions on the planet, themselves the expressions of the highest concepts, increasingly backed up by the latest speculative thinking about the nature of the universe, we are in a good position to develop a 21st-century narrative about art and its value.'

– Paul Grabowsky AO

About this video

Paul Grabowsky AO delivers the 2016 Stephen Murray-Smith Memorial Lecture in this video, and asks crucial questions about the role of the creative arts in Australia today.

Paul's free-flowing, spirited and honest reflections share the syncopation and rhythms of jazz, touching on a wide-ranging set of themes.

Discussing the recent changes to arts funding, and revealing the similarity between improvised music and the Indigenous view of place and song, he ponders the definition of our 'creative industries' within a broader context of Australian national identity.

Finally, Paul calls on us to celebrate our ingenuity and skill as a nation of improvisers, underscoring the continuing role of the arts as the purest expression of our collective humanity.

The 2016 Stephen Murray-Smith lecture was held on 20 September 2016.

About the Stephen Murray-Smith lecture

This annual memorial lecture commemorates the contribution to Australian intellectual life made by Stephen Murray-Smith, founding editor of Overland magazine. The lecture promotes research and debate in the broad areas of Stephen's interest and influence.


Paul Grabowsky is a pianist, composer, conductor and festival director. He formed the influential ARIA-award-winning jazz ensemble the Paul Grabowsky Trio in 1983 and in 2014 he was awarded an Order of Australia. Paul is the Executive Director of Music at the Academy of Performing Arts, Monash University.

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