Regional Arts and Social Impact Project

The Role of the Creative Arts in Regional Australia: A Social Impact Model is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage project that presents a rare opportunity to address the long standing problem facing regional and remote communities in Australia of how to strategically communicate and effectively evaluate the social impact of the creative arts in their communities.

This project will enable regional communities to use evidence-based research on arts engagement to develop future investments by government and philanthropic funders to enhance jobs growth, liveability factors and visibility of arts and culture in regional Australia. The positive impacts and benefits of arts and culture are well documented in the areas of health, civic pride, crime reduction, economic opportunities and development; however, arts policy and funding remains outside the otherwise whole of government approach to regional policy.

The overarching goal of this project is to develop avenues and methods to include end users, through the voices of communities, in the decision making on how regional arts funding is dispensed and allocated.

The fieldwork will be conducted in the remote and geographically dispersed regions of Central and Western Queensland on the lands of the Inangai, Malintji and Kuunkari people in the town of Longreach, and the Northwest Corridor of Tasmania, namely the city of Burnie which lies on Palawa country. Both of these communities have existing active arts ecosystems while also experiencing significant economic disadvantage and rates of social exclusion.

The project will be led by Chief Investigator Associate Professor Sandra Gattenhof at the Queensland University of Technology with project partners including Regional Arts Australia, Central Western Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD), Red Ridge (Interior Queensland) Ltd, Burnie City Council, the Department of Communication and the Arts (DoCA), Performing Arts Connections Australia (PAC) and the Regional Australia Institute (RAI).

Ongoing information about this research project is available on the project website.

In February 2021 an article about this ongoing research was published in the academic journal Cultural Trends. You can download a copy of the article here:
Understanding the value of the creative arts: place-based perspectives from regional Australia

In December 2021 two digital stories and two case studies were added to the outcomes of the ARC Regional Arts and Social Impact Linkage Project. The digital stories can be accessed using this link. The case studies are available to download below.