The Ethics of Arts Partnerships

Often we think of ethics as something abstract – which is not the case. Ethics are part of everyday decision making, and a defensible, values-aligned ethics framework is necessary when considering corporate partnerships for your arts organisation.

The Ethics of Arts Partnerships – good money, bad money, no money

On Wednesday 18 November, Creative Partnerships Australia facilitated a valuable discussion on the ethics of arts and business partnerships. Welcoming opinions from multiple sides of the conversation, the panellists included Simon Longstaff (Executive Director – The Ethics Centre), John Richardson (Director of Development – The Art Gallery of NSW) and Simone Whetton (Corporate Partner – Colin Biggers & Paisley) moderated by Creative Partnerships Australia’s Este Darin-Cooper (State Manager for NSW and ACT).

The focused discussion addressed many issues: looking at decision-making processes; what an ethics framework looks like; whether there is such thing as good money or bad money; and how to find a strategic reason for a business partner to take a risk with you.

Ethical perfection is impossible to achieve and there is always the potential to inadvertently become complicit in wrongdoing or harm via association with corporate money. The winds of public opinion can change quickly and your organisation’s position can be compromised. Social media can inflame issues quickly and it is critical to have a defensible ethical framework guiding your strategic decisions. Courage is often required to look the gift horse in the mouth.

How do we face the temptation to rationalise self-interest and accept questionable funding enabling your project to go ahead when it otherwise may not? Should we hit the eject button immediately when something goes wrong in a partnership?

If you missed the live broadcast, you can watch a live recording below.