It has been some decades since the arts community was last under such pressure from government cutbacks; ideological attacks; and attempts to undermine peer-reviewed assessments of funding needs.
This puts pressure on both large and small arts organisations and for many their survival is at risk. Writers’ Victoria is not immune from these pressures. But what is remarkable is the resilience it has shown; the fact that it now has the largest membership in the organisation’s history; and, that it is experiencing – and meeting – strong and growing demand for its services and courses.
This says much about Writers’ Victoria, its staff, its members and its committee of management. But it also says something powerful about people’s urge to write. Few of us are ever going to be best-selling authors but we write despite that – stories of our lives, non-fiction essays, not-so-bestselling books, short stories and other writings in a myriad of genres and styles.
Writers’ Victoria helps make that possible, not only because it provides outstanding courses with outstanding tutors, but also because of its underlying philosophy and the sense of collegiality it engenders. It is true that writing is ultimately a solitary pursuit. But while the physical act of writing may be solitary, it actually takes place within the context of many other writings, voices and conversations which are present whenever we are at the desk or wherever else we write.
Writers’ Victoria helps us write but also helps ensure those myriad voices and influences are there when we do. It also demonstrates that, whatever arts cutbacks occur from time to time, organisations such as Writers’ Victoria and its members demonstrate that the act of writing will always be encouraged and celebrated.