ARTLANDS, the RAA national biennial conference, is now the largest arts gathering in Australia attracting average attendances of 800. Since it was reinvigorated in 1998, it has been held in every state and territory (except the ACT), most recently in Dubbo (2016), Kalgoorlie-Boulder WA (2014), Goolwa SA (2012), Launceston TAS (2010), Alice Springs NT (2008) and Mackay QLD (2006).
Queensland Arts Council (now Artslink Queensland) presented RAA’s national conference as The Pacific Edge in Mackay in 2006, embracing the concept of creative collaborations between visiting international companies [including Kozinoko Theatre Company (Japan), Sojourn Theatre Company (Portland, Oregon, US) and artists from the Torres Strait Islander and Australian South Sea Islander communities] and conference attendees. Ground-breaking at the time, the conference attracted delegates from as far afield as the Capital of Culture Committee, Liverpool, England, who used the event to assist with their own programming.
In 2008 Art at the Heart was staged in Alice Springs, with a strong focus on the recognition of the diverse roles of indigenous communities. This special landscape and warm community welcoming provided a unique cultural experience for delegates.
Tasmanian Regional Arts staged the conference as Junction 2010 and, with state and local government and community support, this has now become Launceston’s first cross-art form, participatory annual arts festival. Importantly, it serves as a vehicle for engaging all communities of Launceston in the creative process, and provides a platform for Launceston artists to collaborate with national and international artists.
Following on from the success of the 2010 Event, Country Arts South Australia engaged with the communities of Goolwa, in hosting Kumuwuki: Big Wave. in 2012. The 2012 event produced some memorable experiences with the delivery of the conference along environmentally sustainable lines a key feature in line with the ecological sensitivities associated with the Goolwa region.
2014 Saw Country Arts WA deliver the Arts and Edges Summit in the joint communities of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. Discussions and creativity were present in droves with many strong presentations. As with previous national events, Arts and Edges left a significant positive cultural legacy in the region.
2016 saw New South Wales host the conference in the regional centre of Dubbo. The 2016 conference marked the return of the conference to NSW for the first time in 14 years and saw the introduction of the ARTLANDS brand that will continue to be used into the future.