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12 Artlands 2023 Day 3 Photo by Tim Ngo

Research Artlands 2023: The future is regional. The future is creative


On 6-8 September, 80 purposefully selected participants from across Australia gathered on Ngunnawal and Ngambri country for Artlands 2023. Over three days they explored the transformative potential of regional creativity and tackled the challenges and opportunities presented by the provocation: The Future of Regional Australia is Fundamentally Creative.

Ahead of the gathering, we invited idea submissions in April and hosted a series of online Roundtables in June.

We have established five key priorities emerging from the Artlands 2023 process:

PRIORITY 1: CROSS-SECTOR COLLABORATIVE PARTNERSHIPS AND EXCHANGE

a. Integrated regional arts practice

  1. Encourage the integration of arts practice into other sectors such as Health, Tourism and Education
  2. Promote collaborative projects that demonstrate the value of arts in diverse settings

b. Regional Strategic Framework

  1. Promote the Regional Strategic Framework as the guide to cross-sector partnerships and collaborative initiatives.
  2. Establish a structured approach to facilitate exchanges and synergies between regional arts and other sectors.

The creative and cultural industries are essential to the development of thriving communities. If enabled with cultural sensitivity and real value, arts and culture can be embedded deep within solutions to some of regional Australia's key challenges.

Across the north of Australia, two key challenges we face are; 1) Community Safety & Youth Engagement, and 2) the Diversification of our Economy & Enhancing Local Impact of the Visitor Economy. I am currently developing Broome's first arts and culture strategy and I have found myself exploring three key themes relating to how we can better harness the power of arts and culture to grow sustainable, resilient and thriving communities: 

1) The need to better articulate the connection between creativity and social development, whilst maintaining a balance of the intrinsic and instrumental roles of the arts. It is often easy, as an arts advocate working in local government, to be criticised for moving arts and culture into too much of an 'instrumental' space, i.e.: 'we will only support the arts because they help us engage youth', rather than supporting the arts for their intrinsic benefits. However, I hold that local government arts investment needs to focus on the inter-relatedness between creativity and social development in order for the arts to be truly valued and considered as part of region-wide solutions. I would like to see better collaboration and inter-relation between local government, state/territory governments and the arts sector, improving links and pathways for the arts to be deeply embedded in social development strategy. 

2) The need for the arts and tourism sectors to work more closely together and for arts audience development tools to be applied to tourism to ensure artists benefit from the visitor economy. Here in Broome, my role is to develop strategies to support Aboriginal artists to connect with markets for their work and be protected by resale royalty, copyright and IP legislation. I work in partnership with Australia's North West and Tourism WA whose remit it is to develop tourism across the region and I have been surprised by how little these organisations understand the psychology of the market. I have introduced the concept of Culture Segmentation to the discussion, and identified key market segments for growth, which would grow remote artist sales and revenue. The process has shown me that arts audience development strategy is advanced compared to that of other sectors, and considering the growing demand for Aboriginal cultural tourism amongst domestic and internal travellers, both the tourism and the arts sectors would benefit through improved collaboration and shared knowledge. 

3) The third theme is an overarching one, and one which I would like to centre a proposed Artlands discussion on: 'What is local government's role in attracting and retaining experienced arts advocates to the regions?'. It has become clear to me that neither of the above two themes can be addressed without experienced arts advocates embedded within communities. Whilst some states have RADO models that enable this, many of the models are flawed and local governments need to play a role in this space. However, my experience in Broome has shown me that regional local government is a very difficult place for professional arts advocates to work - we are so isolated from creative networks and from professional development opportunities and we ultimately need to leave the regions in order to progress our careers,  I would like to explore, at Artlands, how RAA and local governments can better support regional arts advocates to stay where they are most needed and help drive the contribution of the cultural and creative industries to the development of thriving communities.

I have been fortunate to be a part of Creative Regions Ltd (2008-2018) where projects were created that offered skill development and employment for regional emerging artists. Since 2019 I have been working with regional visual artists on creative entrepreneurship through the CQ Shopfront and Makers' Shopfront project. Recently I started in a position with Bridges Health & Community Care where I can now work collaboratively with the arts and health sector to create projects and programs with the aim of again employing regional emerging and established artists. There are overwhelming gaps in the sector in opportunities for skill development and particularly in accredited training. 

Through Bridges I will be working collaboratively with key players in the sector to develop an accredited course around arts and health that takes it beyond traditional art therapy into a much deeper understanding of people who identify with disability and ensuring they have a self-determined pathway into the arts for their wellbeing. This will also be a program that supports the artsworker in self-care, ensuring they have the tools to avoid vicarious trauma and understand where their role starts and finishes in the "help provider" role.

There are a lot of learnings from the "Mind-Life" project that will be brought into this course. This is an ongoing project that aims to breakdown the stigma of psychosocial disability. 42 resources were created for "helpers" and "help seekers" and some of these will be interpreted through arts projects over the next few years through the role I am now in.

It is also important to connect with the learnings of others like Wesley Arts and the Creative Recovery Network. We aim to be developing partnerships in projects and in the development of the accredited learning pathways.

Through my new role, I will also be responsible for developing an arts, culture and wellbeing precinct in an old fire station over the next few years - a site that my employer has purchased - a place that will be created for cultural and social connectivity for wellbeing.

So there are several key themes that I am keen to delve into - job creation and skill development, cultural and social infrastructure and connectivity, collaborations and partnerships and innovation and new thinking!


We need to connect better with those who are outside the arts bubble. I engage with people like this regularly in our community, and, having grown up on a farm, am aware there is a whole world outside our 'arts practice'. They often feel left out, and then react to the arts sector as if we feel ourselves to be elites. (Which, on my income, I'm most definitely not.) There is a disconnect between sectors of communities that we could do more to heal.

Hope Versus Cynicism and how to be an Optimist

Hope is a vital requirement for creating anything new or enacting change. Advocacy is an act of hope - it knows change is necessary and therefore it must be possible; creating art in an industry and place that is historically under-resourced is an act of hope; seeing restrictions as an opportunity to innovate is operating from a place of hope; choosing to DO something, to take a risk is an act of hope - for the business manager, entrepreneur, artist. The creative industries must operate from a place of hope.

I have three personal examples of how hope bridged industries, created new partnerships, and opened up mutually beneficial experiences for audiences, artists, venues and businesses.

2018: While creating a 32-venue national tour for B2M as Performing Arts Manager of Artback NT, I reached out to Budget Car Hire to discuss what opportunities there might be with the national company, to support our 3-month tour. We built a sponsorship opportunity from Budget with a very competitive price from one tour that saved us on average about $30K per year from 2018-2021 (I left the organisating in 2021, so I am unsure if it continues) - an approximate figure of $120K. Budget's competitive price meant they were the national car hire company that we used, bringing them as much income (or more on a given year) as we had saved in costs.

2020: Touring within the NT was still possible this year. Knowing that venues and businesses needed as many commercially viable shows as possible, I worked with two comedians to tour two theatre shows that they had created. It was huge. One restriction between the shows is that one of the performer needed an hour between shows. This is a very long interval for audiences. However I suggested to our venues (Alice Springs, Darwin, Gove and Katherine) that we partner with a local food vendor and create a mini-festival experience for their comedy-loving audiences. Only Gove and Katherine were willing to work with me on this. We found local food vendors, created ticket options for single shows or the full experience. Both those venues and their food vendors, sold out tickets and sold out food. Where the presenters in Darwin and Alice Springs were unwilling to try it the ticket sales were less.

2020/21: The Bump-in Box was another concept that came to me during COVID-19 - a way to keep tangible arts experiences accessible in remote and regional schools and to keep artists employed by creating the kit. Presented by myself and writer Sarah Hope in Artland's Conversation Series in 2022, The ‘Bump in Box’ was an idea that provided the industry with a new model for arts touring – one that had long-term outcomes for teachers to be supported in creative work. A theatre-making kit for Northern Territory schools that sought to bridge the gap between access and resources in regional, remote and very remote schools. Using tested, innovative shows that have toured successfully to regional and very remote schools in the Northern Territory, the ‘Bump-in Box’ delivers stories which are relevant to the Territory. This new model aimed to address the ongoing climate crisis, offering a way to deliver programs remotely without the carbon emissions of travel or the difficulties faced by regional and remote communities in accessing digital technology and reliable internet.

So is it hopeless for people that are realists, cynics or pessimists? By no means. Optimism can be learned!

HOW TO BECOME AN OPTIMIST otherwise titled GET YOUR MOJO BACK

1. Optimism is intentional - it sees the barrier, but knows there MUST be a way past it, and begins to look for it

2. Perspective shift: from 'problem' to 'opportunity'. See the obstacle, then ask 'how do we get past this?'

3. Check your surroundings. Who are you surrounded by? Are they all proudly self-proclaimed cynics? Surround yourself with optimists (it is irritating for a surprisingly short amount of time, I promise!). If you wish to grow in an area you must put people around you who do that thing well.

4. Pick your battle. Yes the big picture is often VERY BIG. Identify the first small step and then take the step. Then the next step. Then the next step. Ultimately it is consistency that makes the biggest difference in our life and the world around us.

5. Prefer the simple solution - we don't always need another committee/sub-committee/sub-sub-committee/report/sub-report/sub-sub-report

6. Trust. Trust yourself, and more importantly, trust the people around you. And if you can't trust the people around you, go back to recommendation 3.

In my experience engagement with creative endeavour, activities and projects greatly improves connectedness, health and well-being in communities.

Community art projects that contribute aesthetically to regional townships also contribute to participants well-being and sense of achievement and 

- connectedness in the community and therefore improved mental health outcomes

- the creation of new employment 

- to tourism

- the promotion of collaborative partnerships 

- the promotion of inclusiveness

- contribute to a sense of pride for location/township

FLING Physical Theatre is a regional youth dance organisation based in the Bega Valley, on the Far South Coast in NSW. We provide opportunities for young people & the community to work with professional artists to create original contemporary performance projects. Our projects are diverse in content & style, providing a broad range of high quality arts experiences that inspire & engage our community. Our region's unique stories are showcased through works presented locally & touring. We nurture the next generation of artists, build first time arts audiences, & our work has a distinctive voice that is an important part of the national cultural landscape.

We develop great artists by creating space for young people to explore & express their creativity while developing skills in movement & performance, creative thinking, problem solving & teamwork. These experiences build confidence, commitment & resilience. Also supporting physical health, mental health & wellbeing of young people & our community, countering the impacts of recent bushfires, covid 19 & regional isolation. 

FLING has a unique process in creating work with youth and community. These experiences give us the scope to speak about meaningful and effective youth engagement practices. We can highlight our work around youth mental health and showcase how FLING approaches making work with young people. We can also speak to how FLING's work impacts the cultural vibrancy of our region and how we are working to ensure there are pathways for young people into the arts.

3. Contemporary Heritage Initiative - the development of a funding pool that brings small town museums together with contemporary artists (i.e., that is a requirement of the application) to reinterpret built heritage and collections in contemporary and compelling ways - using theatre, digital art, music, festivals etc.  A key outcome would be to produce a cultural tourism asset (tangible or intangible) and to engage the local community in contemporary story telling.  The small regional heritage sector is so incredibly poorly funded and lacking in innovation and creative capacity - in order to see these organisations not only survive but to thrive is to create opportunities for people to engage that are creative and compelling!    

5. Public / private partnerships - particularly between regional arts organisations and health insurance funds. The data is substantial now - suggesting that participation in arts activities saves health care dollars.  Surely this is a space that the likes of Medibank Private and others would like to invest in - given that it will ultimately save them dollars from a commercial perspective.

I am a Changemaker.

I have a vision for a robust, innovative, viable and sustainable Creative Strategic Framework that:

* builds on previous successes and relationships 

* is contemporary, forward looking (while acknowledging the past), and fit for purpose

* is responsive to rural, regional and remote environmental issues brought about by climate change

* identifies and enables the organic creation of new, dynamic and mutually-beneficial connections, collaborations and relationships, between creative practitioners and arts workers, arts and 'non-arts' organisations, and communities 

* identifies new professional opportunities for rural, regional and remote artists and arts workers, as well as 'non-arts' workers who may collaborate with creative practitioners 

* contributes to sustainable and meaningful individual and community wellbeing, resilience, cultural ecologies and fiscal economies, and employment in rural, regional and remote Australia

* facilitates opportunities for local, national and international creative exchanges, collaborations and partnerships

* expands conventional notions of creative practice and where work takes place (ie - in unique landscapes, beyond gallery walls)

* attracts visitors to engage differently with creative works in unique locations, and in turn, stimulates economies, resilience and wellbeing

Idea 1 : Art tourism can be a big draw card to a region. EG Art trails, arts festivals,  Small communities need to have support to put on events and there is often needed a person who can drive and pull these things together. They are often volunteers and  have very little financial support. An injection of funds to support a coordinator/organiser, who can also train volunteers how to achieve a high quality event would help to  consolidate events of significance to the community. Also some training for small groups who are just having a go and often find it hard going in their first few years because of mistakes they make or inexperience in hosting a large event.

The success of any project is because the project honours and respects culture, people and community and has allowed the time for deep consultation, contribution and collaboration from all stakeholders, the communities and Traditional Custodians involved.

Such a project is the 'Gateway to Cape York' at Lakeland in Tropical North Queensland.

The project honors the connection to Country and culture for Cape York Peninsula’s Traditional Custodians, sharing the collaborative spirit of our Cape communities.

The Gateway to Cape York precinct is a unique, new tourism development that entices travelers and tourists to stop, view and enjoy information and educational displays about our environment and our people. The precinct is a fusion of art, identity and culture which provides an avenue for information about our region including the ‘Thoughtful Travellers Tips’ educating visitors about caring for our environment and keeping themselves safe.

Ecological informative signage include beautiful photography, highlighting and giving visitors a brief appreciation and over view of the multiple ecological regions to be found on the Cape. ‘Faces of the Cape’ information signage highlights and showcases select people and organisations who have dedicated their lives to preserve, conserve and protect our environmental assets through their endeavours

As you travel through the park, you find yourself on a map of Cape York Peninsula. The pathways represent the major roads and each and every Cape York community is represented through signage and symbolized by a public artwork sculpture, each representing culture, spirit and aspirations of their community. ‍

Regional Shire Councils, Traditional Owner groups, artists and all sorts of other organisations across the 16 communities were consulted, engaged and collaborated in the planning, design and fabrication of the sculptures and interpretive signage.

The engagement of so many stakeholders in this project has developed this project into a daring and ambitious new initiative, ‘Sculpting the Tropical Trails’ is now planned as one of the longest, permanent outdoor public art trails in the world, spanning over 3000kms, from Cardwell in the south, traversing across Cape York Peninsula to finish on Thursday Island in the north.

Sculpting the Tropical Trails will be a tourism route that takes visitors visiting Tropical North Queensland on a unique journey, to experience and learn about the cultures of Tropical North Queensland communities, using environmental public artworks as way points.

The environmental art sculptures populating the trail will be designed and manufactured in each participating community, under direction of expert artisans who will aspire to create artworks by instructing and mentoring local artists from repurposed local resources.

Adopting the principals of the circular economy, the sculptures will be manufactured from repurposed waste, exposing artists to the use of ‘waste’ as a resource for further artworks. Resources targeted could include scrap metal, hard plastics, building materials such as used timbers and ghost nets.

These environmental art installations will be a major focus for visitors and locals alike in these communities, identifying and engendering the unique essence of each community in their design

Sculpting the Tropical Trails will be promoted through local and regional tours and through a downloadable guide and on digital platforms through regional and local tourism organisations and regional councils.

This project is designed to address key local priorities with the aim to supply outcomes in response to priorities identified in consultation by RASN (Regional Arts Services Network) with the Tropical North Queensland region.

There is strong evidence to suggest that arts and culture should be included as a part of the 'foundational economy' (Froud et al., 2018, O'Connor, 2002). The foundational economy is the part of our economy that creates and distributes goods and service that we rely on for everyday life, such as health, education, care, social services, housing, food supply, utilities, and other basic necessities. Prof Justin O'Connor (2022) has recently made the argument that including arts and culture as part of the foundational economy would strengthen not only the arts, but also our communities more generally. In his working paper on the topic, 'Art, Culture and the Foundational Economy', O'Connor quotes Peter Bazalgette (former Chair of the Arts Council England) who states, "It’s clear that if we ensure each generation immerses itself in arts and culture in all its manifestations, we’ll build better citizens who understand each other’s feelings and needs. That is what it is to be human." 

Does art and culture therefore not serve the same ends as health and education? Should we therefore not treat it as a public good?

Like health and education, the arts and culture are drivers of investment with massive public benefits that enrich our communities and also drive innovation and growth. Government has a role to play in terms of funding for arts initiatives, just as government has a role to play in funding health and education. However, the story does not end there, and public investment in the arts can often be used as vital seed funding for other arts and cultural enterprises. Conceiving of arts and cultural policy in terms of the foundational economy has vast ramifications for the regional arts in Australia, and it is this perspective that I believe needs to be explored and developed further in the context of Artlands 2023.

Arts in relation to mental well-being is topical and currently surveyed by peak organisations like the Australia Council for the Arts. As an experienced public artist with a specialty in socially engaged projects and all-accessible creative workshop facilitator, I have a long history of providing art-as-therapy and community creative expression. Since then, I expanded my practical know-how by completing a master's in art therapy.

I would like to join a discussion or present on the ‘therapeutic artmaking -to- art therapy’ spectrum. Addressing overlap, subtle and substantial differences. Review evidence-based theories and neurobiological research that underpins recovery-oriented, using case studies to illustrate psychodynamic art therapy in practice.

Considering the statement in ‘Connected Lives: Creative solutions to the mental health crisis’, Report on the Arts, Creativity and Mental Wellbeing Policy Development Program, 2022. “Professional development needs of the arts and mental health workforce. There is a need to professionally develop the workforce of artists and arts workers in mental health settings – to protect individuals and communities seeking wellbeing support, as well as the artists conducting this work.

Standardised and recognised training, accreditation and regulation would provide much needed structure for this field of practice, ensuring that best practice standards and ethical frameworks are established and met. Regulation of the field would also provide certainty about the different approaches, identifying the educational requirements for each and legitimising them with the oversight of a professional body.”

Regional Arts WA is deliberately connecting with the Regional Development Commissions (RDC) across the state; there are nine Commissions located in the state regional centers. Together with regional arts organsiations we are embarking on a strategic advocacy agenda that aims at lifting the profile of the creative sector and how it intersects with economic and social development. Historically, the RDC have focused on economic developed with little consideration of the role that arts and creativity can play in social and economic development. Our idea is to work strategically with senior members of regional arts organisations and help them to link their arts policy outcomes with some of those of the RDC. This work aims for a better alignment and visibility between regional development and arts and cultural development. This strategy has the potential to impact a few of the above:  job creation through doing more arts and cultural activity, festivals and events. It also aligns to connectivity by enabling inter-regional collaborations. Some of this work is already happening!

An arts-health approach is currently an underutilised strategy for increasing engagement in the arts. As the arts are a platform for positive individual and collective experiences, in Australia, recreational arts activities and events should be promoted to the general community as an avenue to maintain and improve their mental health and social wellbeing. With an emphasis on self-expression, agency, enjoyment, inclusion and mental wellbeing, artists and arts organisations, should consider promoting the impact of their events and activities in terms of health/mental wellbeing/social wellbeing as this would have a positive impact on the way the community values the arts and possibly increase engagement in arts. This would have a positive flow on effect for artist/arts organisation in terms of income, wellbeing, economy, cultural infrastructure, etc.

These ideas build upon the experiences I have had a practicing freelance musician based in Tasmania, as well as through my work at Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and working with small NFP art organisations based in Tasmania.

First Nations Creative Ecosystems: Support the development of self-determined First Nations creative ecosystems that are embedded in place-based creativity and industry best practice. This could include funding for Indigenous-led projects and initiatives, and promoting greater awareness of diverse cultures, languages and knowledges of First Nations peoples.

Creative Industries in Regional Development: Foster partnerships between the creative industries and other sectors, such as tourism, hospitality, manufacturing, agricultural and technology, to support the growth and development of regional communities.

Regional Arts and Health: Support the integration of arts and creativity in regional health and wellbeing programs, including partnerships with health services and community organisations to deliver creative programs and projects.

Research and Data: Undertake research and data collection to better understand the impact and potential of the creative industries in regional areas, and to inform the development of targeted programs and initiatives.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Support innovation and entrepreneurship in the creative industries through initiatives such as incubators, mentorship programs, and funding for start-ups and new ventures.

Collaborative Networks: Foster collaborative networks between artists, organisations, and communities across regional Australia, building connections and promoting cross-disciplinary and inter-generational approaches to creative practice.

My 2021 Regional Arts Australia Fellowship was the first stage of exploring a 20year vision to build a cultural tourism project/business that employs local artists, brings economic benefit to local food & accommodation providers, and draws attention to the unique characteristics and quirks of our places through the vehicle of original IP - specifically the creation of a fantasy world experience incorporating walking tours, immersive theatre, products/merch, books & screen content, and an annual festival. I'm really interested in these intersections between tourism, business, regional development, youth development, art-making and creative authorship. I'd love the opportunity to sit with some smarter brains than mine to really unpack these intersections and how we use what we are learning in my community to support ourselves and others.

Supporting local artists to share their art with the community and in schools through funded opportunities.

Bring local artists together to collaborate, forming partnerships that may allow a greater chance of obtaining opportunities.

Create local creative think tanks for artists and conduct regional surveys to see what is missing and needed in our community.

Partnering with local business leaders to look at opportunities and collaborations to add a creative offering to their community interaction.

Arts practice is both a knowledge form and a way of continually learning. Arts-based research (ABR) is now recognised within institutions of higher education. This means art practice is a contributor to skill development and can contribute to the creation of more innovative ways of considering work. Arts practice has the capacity to facilitate deep and critical thinking and already contributes to the thinking that goes into systems change, climate change and economic perspectives.

My main idea is under the working title, People are welcome.

I would like to combine my arts practice, leadership skills and art therapy training to create meaningful and fun art making experiences for people in my community.

My personal life motto is No man left behind. My focus is on inclusivity and accessibility. I would like to pair OT’s with local artists to create community groups with an ‘art making for all’ kind of vibe. I can visualise hosting/facilitating a hub/nest in my local area and creating a web of connection with other participating communities. There would be an open sharing of knowledge, resources, activities, and ideas with the world. We would be sharing freely and without agenda, just contributing to the wellbeing of our communities. Everyone would be invited to participate, in person and online. It could be designed to be completely accessible and inclusive of everybody.

Disability support. OT’s. Artists. Volunteers.

People are welcome.

Explore new mediums and materials.

By using the Expressive Therapies Continuum, we would encourage self-exploration though the art making. The ETC can be used to explain the benefits of different art making materials and experiences.

People are welcome could also be given agency to offer opportunities like scissor lift training for local artists interested in tackling larger scale works, and any other locals wanting to fill spots in the course. This creates an up skilling and empowerment opportunity for local artists and members of the community, and would contribute education and employment opportunities through the arts.

Idea 2) 'The Arts must lead, not need'.

In an age of septic media, where the consumer is driving content creation,  the arts sector has the capacity to function like an 'S bend' in plumbing. Arts is not a luxury, its a human necessity and the solution for social, cultural and economic challenges being faced by humanity, yet we, the Arts sector have traditionally been relegated to being a luxury. ‍
To change this we need: 

- we need to be like the Cook-coo birds who lay their eggs in others nests - ie use other sectors funds by framing shared agendas. 

- we need hard budget lines and to foster generational shifts for long range funding for the Arts for real positive change. Perpetual cycles of funding crisis has created an industry of burnt out risk takers.

Libraries are vital cultural and community hubs, offering inclusive public spaces and in many regional communties providing some of the only cultural and social infrastructure. Libraries are delivering of a diversity of local programs and services, enabling free access to connectivity and technology and supporting opportunities for life-long-learning and literacy in all its forms. 

State and local governments in Queensland value the role of public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs), collectivelly investing more than $300 million each year into library spaces, services, staffing and support. Through our partnership with 76 local governments, State Library enables the delivery of more than 320 public libraries and IKCs across Queensland. 

Public libraries have the potential to be at the centre of social and cultural programming, partnerships and placed-based solutions for growing thirving creative communities now and into the future.

I am a cultural producer based in Bathurst NSW. A place with a strong creative community across the performing and visual arts.

The splash pattern of artists who live here enables us to create quality works that are by nature cross-disciplinary and deeply engaged with community. The work we create generates connections across several local government areas, jobs for regionally based artists, technical crew, musicians, and more. 

I want to attend ArtLands to share experiences about how I as an independent artist collaborate with artists and arts and non-art organisations across disciplines and sectors to generate cultural experiences. 

I want to discuss how to develop strategic partnerships with industries to move away from funding-based models toward more sustainable models that serve longer term community engagement with cultural experiences based in local-place making activities.

FORM – Building a State of Creativity Inc. is an independent, non-profit cultural organisation that develops and advocates for excellence in creativity and artistic practice in Western Australia. FORM’s mission is to be a leader in developing a vibrant creative economy for the benefit and wellbeing of all Western Australian communities. FORM manages Spinifex Hill Studio in South Hedland, where we have 8 staff servicing over 100 artists. From Spinifex Hill Studio, and our metropolitan Perth location, we deliver significant projects across regional Western Australia, which has given us a very broad and deep understanding of the challenges facing regional communities.

FORM drives five main strategies to deliver on its mission. These are: Aboriginal Partnership; Cultural Programming; Cultural Tourism; Sector & Community Building and Creative Learning. FORM’s projects are community-led and employ cross-sector collaboration to embed long-term cultural and economic impact. While our work extends across the State, our experience operating across the Pilbara from our South Hedland location has informed and motivated the following proposed ideas:

1.Sustainable Cultural Tourism: Aboriginal cultural tourism (and cultural tourism more broadly) is too often focused on tour operators or one-off experiences or events. Through consultation with key stakeholders and industry groups, we believe there is an opportunity to achieve sustainable cultural tourism outcomes through developing bespoke tourism assets, owned and operated by Aboriginal people. This could include resort, hotel, boutique accommodation, caravan parks, cultural centres, or other tourism assets that include the tour, events or other arts and cultural experiences as part of a comprehensive tourism business model.

2.Arts & Cultural Skills Exchange: A key challenge of regional arts and cultural activity is skills shortages and/or transient workers. FORM experiences this directly when resourcing Spinifex Hill Studio. One way of solving this problem is to leverage staff and skills from other regional organisations, creative practitioners from intra- or inter-State and overseas, or partnerships with large, Perth-based institutions. This can be through secondments, artist-in-residence programs, or other skills-sharing initiatives. Incorporating a knowledge sharing component is critical to the success of these initiatives; this should be a two-way exchange comprising training and development for regional workers and building the skills and knowledge needed for working in regional and remote communities in those visiting from urban areas. There is a role for peak bodies (such as AACHWA or CACWA) to play in formalising and coordinating such skills sharing initiatives.

3.Digital Keeping Places: Cultural repositories developed for keeping traditional and cultural knowledge are critical for Aboriginal people to build economic, social and cultural independence, for example, to demonstrate cultural heritage in land title considerations. These repositories can also be mined to communicate cultural knowledge and traditions in innovative and creative ways (examples include FORM’s Canning Stock Route and Tracks We Share projects). Digital keeping places offer an important opportunity for cross-sector collaboration and skills development.

4.Making Space for Culture: In order to create spaces for cultural in regional areas, cultural infrastructure could be mandated into planning schemes, similar to green star ratings and percent for public art.  

5.Advocating for creative industries as key workers: It is one thing to build cultural infrastructure, but as mentioned above, without the right workforce to staff and power these spaces, they will fail. Creative industries are a critical part of Australia’s future economy, and artists and creative workers should be prioritised as key workers in government housing schemes, particularly in the regions. 

These are just a few examples of ideas we have to support the development of a vibrant creative sector throughout regional Western Australia. We would be grateful for the opportunity to provide further information and discussion on these and other ideas and initiatives that help us achieve our mission.

My ideas:

My name is Simone O'Brien, I am a 57 year woman of Irish heritage and the Artistic/Director and co-founder of SeedArts, a small to micro community arts organisation based on unceded Bundjalung Country. I live in Main Arm, near Lismore - the whole area which still recovering from the devastating effects of the climate disaster floods Feb/March 2022. It is this that I want to talk about and its effects. This that has got me thinking. I shall share my ideas here:

Collaboration and partnerships: Empathy arts university fuelled by green power:

As regional artists we could be sponsored by the private sector (Atlassian? Mike Cannon-Brookes and Saul Griffith?) to fund localised regional hubs of green universities driven by First Nations artists, elders and knowledge holders and their allies that offer young people and their communities purpose and meaning, skills and training in the arts, trades, education to be the architects of tomorrow and the leaders of today. We listen and we learn. The hubs also train artists to lead the empathy and kindness challenge, to be community responders in times of disasters. In Lismore we have rehearsed this already. The community knew what to do waaaaay before the government and services did. I am now part of the Main Arm Disaster Recovery committee, preparing for the when, not the if of the next disaster. I use my skills as an artist, listener, observer, empath to support people in need. I have created projects combining art forms (circus, visual arts, craft, dance, music) to create creative recovery spaces for flood affected people to 'do nothing' in, to calm their parasympathetic nervous systems; to just hang, to chill, to create (rather than consume), to rest - as I heard Melissa Lucashenko say on Invasion Day - is rebellion.

I realise I have more questions than ideas here, and my one idea above is somewhere waaayyy over the rainbow - however I am exceptional at problem solving, connecting people and making partnerships - I want to see the arts embedded in health portfolio and the sweet exchange of art and science - resident CSIRO scientist in an arts organisation? Resident ecologist? Economist? We need to learn to talk the language of money to subvert it. We need to be able to connect with these networks in engaging ways as only the arts can.

I believe that I would be able to offer a mind with fast synapses of association that can envisage gorgeous utopias grounded in reality. I like to riff off other people's ideas (not rip off, riff off) and create new neural pathways and associations. I believe I may be slightly neurodivergent, (self diagnosis), but either way my super power is collaborative thinking and linking people and making new connections. I am particularly interested in inverting power dynamics and inversions in particular - perhaps that's why I was/am drawn to aerials in circus because one can spend a long time upside down - which gives good perspective.

Regional Arts Development - partnerships are essential for regional arts development and often this means non-arts organisations. Local councils are a key part of this mix, certainly in NSW, as they are often the only providers of regional cultural infrastructure and provide services in areas that are well suited to arts project engagement such as health, tourism, recovery and resilience, and economic development.

Creative Industries in the regions - I am currently the lead RADO in a State-wide strategic project that looks to develop cultural tourism in regional NSW and increase the connection between tourism and the arts. Supported by Create NSW the project will undertake vital research and benchmarking in identifying the value of arts to the visitor economy in regional NSW, and identify a range of opportunities for the RADOs to undertake to create employment and business development for creative practitioners.

Creating space

As Manager of Arts and Culture at the Central Coast Council in North-west Tasmania I would like to offer HIVE, a newly established cultural precinct (which I manage) as a working example of cultural and creative industries contributing to economic growth and thriving communities in regional Australia.

Opened in November 2021, HIVE is the Central Coast municipality’s first cultural precinct that serves both as a local community hub and a drawcard destination for visitors to the region. Inspired by the concept of a beehive, Hive Tasmania has been designed as a space for community to gather, explore, share and grow and is home to:

•The largest dome planetarium in Tasmania‍
•The first Tasmanian Science Centre
•The Ulverstone History Museum and Art Gallery
•The Ulverstone Visitor Information Centre
•Workshop spaces for local arts and woodcraft community groups
•A café.

Some of the most exciting early findings have included:

•The value of embedded community through onsite studios for local arts and woodcraft groups as well as a strong volunteering program (we currently have 40 volunteers in our team).
•The opportunity that having such diverse programming provides to bring together cross-sector skills, audiences and programming particularly at the intersection of Science and Art.
•Demand for our interactive STEAM education program from across Northern Tasmania. 
•Interest and opportunity for collaboration with community and industry stakeholders i.e. our Science Centre exhibits are developed in collaboration with organizations across Tasmania connecting our audience to the innovation, possibility and opportunity that exists in their own backyard.

I am working as CEO and artistic director of an arts practice / arts business that predominantly works in regional arts tourism.  Building infrastructure such as remote collaboration tools and methods to enable regional artists and creative people to play key roles within large collaborative projects devised as 'stories' which have a natural appeal to tourists; and with the aim of having art in the open outside of the gallery context.

My overall motivation and wish for participation and attending is, in summary:  I find myself to be in the position of GLUE holding many projects and installations together. With this momentum I found that the partners are more willing to engage in cross regional and cross promotional ventures and adventures, more willing to take risks and more interested in being part of the big team who want to support and leverage regional arts.  I can truly say if we can bring partners to the table to listen and support, we can increasingly participate in the design of sustainable long term regional projects. We can also ensure that artists are co-designers, co-creators, co-curators of business ventures. But being in this position takes time and working together, and I hope sincerely to find like minds and willing protagonists at Artlands!

As the reputation of my company and our successful projects grow, I want us to continue to learn grow and to share. We need to be sure that what we build works, and this involves educating our potential future clients, partners, advocates, peers and participants. It involves also listening to what is really needed.  Ethically I want to avoid building white elephants... I want to build projects that help communities and regional artists and preserve stories and create futures. As a builder, deviser, team leader and 'architect of the impossible' I need to help make sure the dreams are viable, while crafting a ladder to the clouds.

Working in the arts tourism space, working predominantly with projection and light based technologies provides a boost to overnight stays and supports increased engagement and length of stay in the region. Working in this space now for over 15 years, my collaborators, technical team and the company overall have been recognised for our leadership and innovation in this space.  Each of the successful projects inspires 'me too' but seeing a project is not the same as knowing how to do it well or correctly.

In the meantime, Our peak tourism bodies are not yet really invested in regional art tourism or in long term projects. They still think in terms of events.

So there are many topics I am willing to engage with and share knowledge from the 'what is stopping us from doing better' to 'what we are sticking to because we know it works' to 'lets work together.'

I would like to share knowledge about the significance of creative partnerships in the arts tourism space and also how these large scale permanent projects can provide a really sustainable opportunity for regional artists and communities. It can take a long effort and team work to get such a project off the ground. I am happy to give examples of communities who have worked with us to assess the potential of the concept, look at how it may support the local economy and what the ongoing commitment will be, then we work together to apply for grants and leverage sponsorship. We continue to support all the communities we work with to assist the development of the installation and to provide support for the local regional artists to participate in the production of new media for the installation.

In the last few months we have been excited to have illuminart recognised for our ongoing commitment to this work, with the recognition of national award for Quorn Silo Light Show in the Australian Street Art Awards. This installation has employed many artists during projects that have been developed for presentation and also provides mentorship and training opportunities for emerging artists. And I was really surprised to receive a special award in recognition of my own efforts and I hope this does help me in my ongoing persistent advocacy for regional art and artists.

We would like to be part of the conversation at Artlands, on the proven value of regional arts in arts and cultural tourism, and to provide information about what we know works. We also feel that our ongoing work in the space will really benefit from our participation in Artlands. We are already involved in curating many regional installations and would like to be informed and involved in responding to trends in the regional arts space to be responsive.

There will be much more that we could add but you will have a gazillion applications.  However if you would like to know more please review our support material and also check out our special page of notes at https://artlands2023.illuminart.com.au thanks.

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PRIORITY 2: EMBEDDING SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AND CAPACITY BUILDING WITHIN COMMUNITIES

a. Regional artist residencies

  1. Create opportunities for artist residencies in regional communities.
  2. Develop programs that encourage collaboration between artists and regional communities.

b. Creative hubs/precincts

  1. Establish a framework for creative hubs and precincts in regional areas as providers for skill development and creative collaboration.
  2. Support the development of infrastructure and resources within these spaces.

c. Technology/digital training

  1. Offer technology and digital training programs to equip artists with essential digital skills.
  2. Enable artists to leverage digital platforms for artistic expression and promotion.

d. Partner with education providers

  1. Promote programs that offer mentorship and training opportunities for emerging regional artists.
  2. Partner with institutions to provide educational pathways for regional artists.

1) Art and Technology / My organisation is in a remote and small community but serves a region the size of Victoria. Our town population is around 10,000, and the region has just over 20,000 (smaller than the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda). In 2022 I was selected for the Australia Council's CEO Digital Mentorship Program, in partnership with ACMI, and this has helped us begin experimenting with and investigating new technology and digital tools we can apply to our organisation and community. I would like to be involved in any conference content or panel discussions involving how regional arts entities are using technology to support artists, live performance, visitor experience, interpretation and museology, and community identity

‍2) Artist Residencies / I am interested in presenting, or possibly leading a panel, on Artist-in-Residence programs in regional locations, including the group model known as the Artist Colony that is more rare in Australia. In my 30 years as a cultural manager, I have founded a half dozen artist residencies/colonies (The Studios of Key West, Sedona Summer Colony, Whakatane Volcanic Artist Residency, Wellington (NZ) Asia Residency Exchange, a performing arts troupe-based residency while Director of Cairns Festival, and in the late 1990s the Pritchard's Island Artist Retreat off the coast of South Carolina). I would be happy to lead a talk or panel addressing artist residency models, developmental process, essential ingredients, funding sources, application process, pitfalls, etc.

I would like to share ACT Natimuk's new Creative Lab program and hear of other like models.

Following on for the impact on artists of COVID and also in-line with a new strategic direction that grew out of our strategic planning sessions late 2020 and early 2021, ACT Natimuk created a new Creative Lab Program with the following aims: -

•To encourage artists to connect with Natimuk and work as part of Natimuk’s small but vibrant arts community 

•To create/seed work for Nati Frinj Biennale

•To create/seed work that may be suitable for inclusion as a Made in Natimuk (MiN) product.

•To help with the sustainability of maintaining a regional arts practice 

•To encourage artistic exploration

•To encourage diversity of artistic expression

Over 2021 & 22 we supported 6 Creative Lab projects with a grant of $5000 each through a competitive project proposal process that was overseen by an independent panel. We expressly wanted the application process to be simple/straightforward and for the artists to be able to be process not outcome driven with freedom to explore an aspect of their practice. Although we hoped that the Creative Labs might lead to developing a work for Nati Frinj 2022, the only outcomes required were sharing their exploration at a session at NatiFrinj Festival 2022, providing images and content for a catalogue (a means of documenting the ephemeral), and filing a brief written report for evaluation purposes.

We are looking at ways to find the resources for this to be an ongoing program. For the first 2 year iteration the additional staffing resource to create and coordinate the program came from salary savings through Government support through COVID and the funding offered to artists came through our Creative Vic CEP funding. Due to resource limitations this year we are scaling down to offer 2  targeted Creative Lab opportunities - one for an artist with a disability and one for a First Nations artist. In order to resource this program into the future, and also in line with another aim identified in our Strategic Plan, we are looking at attracting sponsors/donors/supporters/patrons as we believe the direct support of artists with discrete amounts and identifiable value will be attractive. We also used the COVID down time to focus on getting some of our policy framework in order, to support us into the future - this included developing a Reconciliation Action Plan and drafting a Patron Prospectus. 

I would very much like to hear and share learnings about any similar programs, and the pivots other regional creative companies made through COVID to help regional artists not only survive but thrive.

Yarra Valley ECOSS is a not-for-profit association in Wesburn- Victoria. We use a community enterprise model creating an inspiring, educational and recreational facility demonstrating sustainable living solutions.

Our Vision promotes local food-security, builds work skills and competencies, facilitates local employment and develops a vibrant, resilient and sustainable community.
‍We are earth activists inviting all along on the journey to Localising the economy, celebrating together in fun creative ways.

ECOSS fosters community connection and diversity by hosting many Multi Cultural and First Nation events and annual Arts projects. We host All abilities volunteers in our Crops for Community Program which offers essential food relief to Oonah Indigenous Services Tuckerbag Program and Koha Community Cafe.  We run a weekly local produce market supporting small businesses to recover from Covid-19. ECOSS hosts festivals and events partnering with many local organisations and artistic Individuals.

ECOSS has a Native Nursery, UpCycles (Bicycle Upcycling Hub), Community Gardens, Food Forest, Bio Char education, Community Viticulture Project and an Educative Eco Trail around this beautiful 17acre Permaculture Designed property. Arts projects are infused all around the site as a means of connection and education. 

ECOSS currently has a small part-time staff supported by a Management Committee and an active and enthusiastic group of volunteers with all abilities, students and work-experience partners. 

ECOSS facilitates school groups, work for the dole and volunteers with all abilities. ECOSS also provides a hub for related ethically aligned local non-profits and small businesses in the area of Arts, Environment and Food- including Yarra Valley Bee Group, Warburton Environment, Upper Yarra Landcare, Community Pottery Studio, Melganics, Tonantzin Chocolate, Bushwood Creations, Silvertine BD Farm, The Dreaming Space Circus, Farmer Incubator, Tiny Houses 2 Go and Silvertop Joinery.

On the ECOSS site alchemy occurs daily with the space facilitated for connections, inspiration and collaboration.  We ensure multiculturalism is celebrated onsite breaking down barriers for connection.  We host an Annual Indigenous Arts project that we showcase at our Annual Ngulu (All Indigenous) festival.  We bring mob together from the east side of Melbourne to gather at ECOSS on Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung land to celebrate culture.  

We host an annual Ecotopia Earth Festival and co-facilitate Permaculture Week in the Valley alongside Permaculture Yarra Valley and PEACE Farm, making 1 week of Permaculture inspiration via site visits and 2 festivals celebrating the Arts and Environment.

These are just 2 of our 5 Annual large festivals and monthly creative events.

We collaborate with our partners onsite offering Clay Play, Greenwood furniture making and demonstrations by our woman chainsaw artist.  We support new migrant businesses and culture hosting Tonantzin Chocolate- Raw vegan Aztec Chocolatary onsite and Fernando (the owner) holds Cacao Ceremonies and Sweat lodges in honour of his culture onsite.

We support The Dreaming Space Circus onsite who perform at our events and also hold Circus skills, monthly poetry nights and dance workshops in their big geodesic dome.

We would love to let everyone know how supportive and wonderful this model is, and how it benefits our region.  How accessible it is to create these all around Australia!

2020/21: The Bump-in Box was another concept that came to me during COVID-19 - a way to keep tangible arts experiences accessible in remote and regional schools and to keep artists employed by creating the kit. Presented by myself and writer Sarah Hope in Artland's Conversation Series in 2022, The ‘Bump in Box’ was an idea that provided the industry with a new model for arts touring – one that had long-term outcomes for teachers to be supported in creative work. A theatre-making kit for Northern Territory schools that sought to bridge the gap between access and resources in regional, remote and very remote schools. Using tested, innovative shows that have toured successfully to regional and very remote schools in the Northern Territory, the ‘Bump-in Box’ delivers stories which are relevant to the Territory. This new model aimed to address the ongoing climate crisis, offering a way to deliver programs remotely without the carbon emissions of travel or the difficulties faced by regional and remote communities in accessing digital technology and reliable internet.

What do Artists Creators Need Now?

What are the Gifts from the last 3 years

Does Zoom connect us in the same way as live? What are the benign especially in Regional Areas….

What can help can we ask for the Regional Arts for areas and platforms can we offer each other as Artists Supporting  Artists.

Job creation and skill development

- Create an age appropriate peer to peer mentoring support (senior practitioners for senior community performers)

- Across boarders: Initiate an artist’s exchange program where artists from diverse backgrounds swap locations to deliver their art practice.

Cultural and social connectivity - groups in regional towns are often small in numbers and rely on the skills of local members.

- Enrich the cultural and artistic appreciation of members by facilitating a diverse variety of workshops both face to face and virtual.

- The Hub: Create regional clusters where a number of contributors from a region work collaboratively on a theme to present a series of workshops (develop stronger local networks and skills awareness in the area) e.g - an event manager, a sound technician, a grant writer, an accountant familiar with arts taxation law etc

Collaboration and new thinking

- Use art practice as a platform to raise awareness on a public health issue e.g - BUMS is a ukulele society in Brisbane that could promote &  Preventative Bowel Screening.

Innovation and New thinking

- collaborate with local councils to access regional facilities for low fees to enable workshops and access to creative spaces

I have been a Writer in Residence with Creative Victoria 3 times in the last 5 years and currently run a 3D creative writing platform called Parallel Wilds and in 2023 am engaged with Creative Victoria, Regional Arts Victoria, Young Somerset UK and City of Greater Dandenong. 

After completing a Bachelor of Education in Creative Industries in 2020, I have become fascinated by the interaction of innovative technologies with creative writing. To have youth writing together on the future of wilderness in a shared 3D platform that is immediate has been empowering for them and for me. Parallel Wilds is an immersive and empowering 3D platform for youth, featuring creative writing, digital photography and videography, cosplay and modelling, 3D and drone imagery, and sound composition. 

This innovative convergence of artforms allows youth to express self-identity in the natural world, to create a speculative universe on the future of wilderness, set in 2050. www.parallelwilds.com I would love to share this intersection of state-of-the-art technology and community connection to remote wilderness shared globally via a weblink to social media and other communication platforms.

4. Small town street theatre / visual arts as a way of re-thinking our engagement with main streets in small towns - Developing a model to create small theatre performances that can literally be delivered in small town main streets - not just in the one spot but progressively taking an audience along the main street traversing both indoor and outdoor locations.  The project would focus on local story telling and connect deeply with place.  It would provide a public storytelling opportunity for communities, engage artists in regional towns and give people a chance to engage with main streets in new ways - which is a significant challenge for many small towns that have struggling main streets.  The idea of building outdoor galleries across main streets from a visual arts perspective would also be worth considering.  Again - anything to engage people in different ways in our small town main streets.  

6. Art Olympics - I am not interested in the sport vs art argument - both are good for humanity!  But I think there is still a lot we could learn from sport in terms of engaging people in it at all levels - from amateur participant / volunteer (think local football club) to elite athletes competing at a national or international level.  I appreciate that we have competitions in the art world and the likes of the Venice Biennale but why not rethink this slightly and liken it to the system and brand of the Olympics - which people love and has some fantastic foundational principles, relevant to art and community. 

7. Art Gyms - Piloting an art studio as an art gym - a place where you go to improve your fitness (mental and physical).  You pay a monthly membership fee and much like a gym you can go and use the equipment independently, progressing, experimenting and dabbling in their own projects.  Or, they can participate in group programs or collective projects - much like a gym.  Piloting this from a viable business perspective would be amazing!!  These could also be incubator sites for creative industries with programs similar to the Refinery (Sunshine Coast Qld) supporting creative start ups, in partnership with Regional Development Australia.  

8. Piloting Artist Residency / Living Wage Project - Government - particularly local government like to spend money on bricks and mortar.  I often work with Councils on the development of cultural facilities and whilst these are important I often here the lament of artists who would prefer to see a direct investment in the artists (who will supposedly benefit from the capital investment).  For example, imagine a small town, that is considering applying for funding to support the redevelopment of a cultural facility - perhaps to the tune of $6 - $7 million.  Imagine reinvesting that in a group of artists - who are paid a living wage to grow their practice but to also contribute to the community in productive and creative ways.  Following how their interactions potentially transform a place and comparing this to the anticipated impact of the investment in facilities would be a fascinating project!!  

I could go on - ideas are easy, it's the implementation that is tough!

I am a Changemaker.

I have a vision for a robust, innovative, viable and sustainable Creative Strategic Framework that:

* provides meaningful creative opportunities in, and for, the full range of unique rural, regional and remote contexts

* identifies and enables the organic creation of new, dynamic and mutually-beneficial connections, collaborations and relationships, between creative practitioners and arts workers, arts and 'non-arts' organisations, and communities 

* identifies new professional opportunities for rural, regional and remote artists and arts workers, as well as 'non-arts' workers who may collaborate with creative practitioners 

* contributes to sustainable and meaningful individual and community wellbeing, resilience, cultural ecologies and fiscal economies, and employment in rural, regional and remote Australia

* supports programming and delivery of projects that are sensitive to the unique priorities of all people living in rural, regional and remote contexts

* recognises and respects the significance of place, language, history and culture held by indigenous communities 

* deeply connects all people to place

* is inclusive, recognises and celebrates the breadth of diversity within creative and local communities

* encourages the exchange of bold ideas and new critical dialogues

* facilitates opportunities for local, national and international creative exchanges, collaborations and partnerships

* expands conventional notions of creative practice and where work takes place (ie - in unique landscapes, beyond gallery walls)

* improves and maximises positive outcomes for people and place through participation in creative and cultural experiences

* attracts visitors to engage differently with creative works in unique locations, and in turn, stimulates economies, resilience and wellbeing

As the Arts and Culture member for the Sunshine Coast 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Committee, I have an enormous interest in this framework and how cultural infrastructure and partnerships will influence my regional community (it is, indeed, a unique opportunity for growth in REGIONAL arts to be able to facilitate an event such as 2032 and the legacy opportunities this offers for Arts and Culture in regional QLD). 

Establishing relationships with larger performance companies and galleries, whereby there is compulsory implementation of any city performances or shows to be offered in regional hubs as part of their performance obligation might be worth more consideration. In my experience, any art or creative performance that is offered in regional areas is generally more embraced (regionally) per capita than in cities.

One of the major problems these areas have, however, is the established infrastructure to implement these projects. A conversation is needed about increasing investment in temporary structure options (marquees, stages, PA, movable galleries and sculptures) to allow for these events to take place. This would be a fundamental system change in approach and one that I believe would have a greater long-term impact.

Idea 1 : Art tourism  can be a big draw card to a region. EG Art trails, arts festivals,  Small communities need to have support to put on events and there is often needed a person who can drive and pull these things together. They are often volunteers and  have very little financial support. An injection of funds to support a coordinator/organiser, who can also train volunteers how to achieve a high quality event would help to  consolidate events of significance to the community. Also some training for small groups who are just having a go and often find it hard going in their first few years because of mistakes they make or inexperience in hosting a large event. 

Idea 2: Online space for emerging artists; Regional artists often have limited gallery spaces to show their work and to go further afield  can become expensive. To enter works into online galleries becomes an expensive exercise. Support for regional artists to show their work in an online space that promotes them well and gets their art seen  would be a great advantage to helping artists grow their profile and reach to the community. This could be done in a collaborative model eg IT company, high profile business as sponsors and artist (s). 

Idea 3: helping artists to grow their business.  workshops and networks that support artists to grow their business in a goal orientated manner. starting with planning, to who and how they can network with, as well as product development.

We have just run a program here at FLOAT (East Gippsland) which builds on our floating arts residency here on Lake Tyers.

We know the immeasurable impact we have on Far East Gippsland by hosting artists - local and visiting. From that starting point we engaged the community in the FLOAT project by creating a COMMUNIVERSITY around the management of the vessel. To share local knowledge (natural, cultural, scientific, historic) and begin to value that knowledge as our great asset. Since then we have been working to flip our understanding of the economy and build value through regenerative economics.

We are now in the process of developing a broader artist in residence network (funded by RAV), building an OBSERVATORIUM at FLOAT (funded by Creative Victoria), establishing a community owned (co-operative) Artspace in Lakes Entrance (long abandoned Iceworks - privately owned, shared with the community, exploring co-operative strategies.) Launching a farmers and makers market that supports diversity through  a social enterprise dedicated to sustainable regen tourism.

In the last few weeks we have launched a Feral MBA program - which is 'a radically re-imagined training course in business for artists and others. It responds to the towering failure of business-as-usual to maintain a liveable planet.'  The program has been fully subscribed, fully paid, with several positions sponsored by local philanthropists

We are now engaging those Feral MBA graduates in a 5-week FORA discussion around  regenerative opportunities. (creating tourism experiences collaboratively) while engaging Far East Communities in a process of Community Wealth Building through co-ops and collectively managing underused community facilities. We have engaged Ethical Fields in this process to deliver the learning - and are working with Senvic and ACRE - to create community led regenerative projects.

We like to think of ourselves as an ephemeral COMMUNIVERSITY (using existing infrastructure). and recently partnered with the NGV to deliver our School of Untourism project.(co-funded by Creative Victoria)

We have come to the obvious conclusion that art drives our success - where others fail to gather momentum and passion and shared community ownership.

While other communities around us - with far bigger budgets - are seeing  their bushfire recovery budgets disappear with less impactful outcomes. Our 5 week FORA (community conversations)  plans to reverse the slide - by sharing our stories, ideas and welcome a MUCH bigger network of arts driven action in East Gippsland who want to know what we are on about.

A thriving cultural sector ni regional communities is essential to grow regional centres in several ways. Culture expresses local stories and helps define the uniqueness of a region thus creating connectivity and providing resilience. The arts create a welcoming, vibrant, and attractive community that appeals to new residents. Those moving from centres rich in cuultural activity want the stimulus and social context that cultural activities provide. The creativity that is encouraged contributes to a positive debate on solutions of regional issues and provides important, healthy, and stimulating activities for young people in the community. The arts in regional areas can provide for an understanding and appreciation of diversity.

The Whitsundays Arts Festival over three years has provided jobs and opportunities for local artists and other members of the creative industry, shared local stories through multicultural performance, engaged community members of all ages, and brought thousands of dollars into the community. Yet there are no Council provided venues or significant  financial support for these events. A venue such as the Empire Theatre in Toowoomba leads to yearlong programming of creative activities for the community. Forums for discussion can help raise important social and environmental issues and engage the population.

An idea for rural arts tourism that supports job creation and skills development, cultural and social infrastructure and connectivity, collaborations and partnerships, innovation and new thinking, systems change, climate change, and different economies is to create and collate an extensive collection of online resources for artisans to build entrepreneurial skills.

The idea is based around training to help create a bottom-up approach, bringing together artists, musicians, writers and other creatives to build tourism-based collaboration alongside the arts while promoting the uniqueness of the area. This would be achieved by offering links, resources, mentorships, training, and online courses.

Supporting small arts collectives, authors, artists, musicians in growing and collaborating on creative tourism events will support job creation, skills and community development while contributing to the economic growth of regional, rural, and remote Australia.  And, be the catalyst for bringing together like-minded people to collaborate and support each other in turning their creative endeavour into sources of income.

This is a change-maker model, how to bring innovation and new thinking in by empowering locals through education on creating an arts tourism destination while retaining local distinction. It’s about empowering and developing local creatives using best business practices, while understanding and respecting the wellbeing of the local community. It is about developing community bases initiatives while encompassing the unique challenges and opportunities of each rural area. Collaborations and partnerships are fostered between existing businesses, government agencies, and community organisations to support growth of this sector.

By offering products, support and training through the web, rural areas can tap into a pool of talented creatives without the costs of setting up a physical space. This approach can help support the local economy, while also giving rural and remote artists the freedom to pursue their creative passions individually, yet market together producing a creative tourism destination. There always has been and always will be strength in numbers. This is about empowering artisans by promoting best business practices such as building soft skills, governance, networking, collaboration, creating strategic and business plans, sourcing funding and finding the uniqueness in your community and then inviting others to experience it.

TAFE, Cape York Partnerships and My Pathways offer Certificate level training opportunities that will be made available to artists, these may include Business Certificate I, II and/or III to support artists with business development and Engineering I which includes metal work and welding. The Country University Centre in Cooktown will supply mentoring and help in Certificate III and diploma to those arts workers who wish to further their education.

Pathways for artists requires more support, from understanding more about the industry and not just highlighting "famous artists"  there are so many roles in our industry that are vital.

Creating access for all people to access creative programs, Creative Kid Vouchers that can be rolled out across the country for all artforms - this is available in some states but not all.

Better access to training. I sell a lot online but struggle with the tech part, as do many of my artist friends.

Photoshop, photography, marketing...

I have built my website, but it's been a struggle.

It is essential to have good online presents, as most of my sales are from tourists who visit,  see my work and then want to buy it once they are home. It's so vital I have good online presents as it creates trust in buying on my website.

We also need to promote more local artists, e.g. we pay a million dollars to the arts in Cairns as taxpayers. However, only a few locals can exhibit/be chosen to show at the Court House gallery. They often have the large room at the back empty. The same goes for the Tanks art Centre, a vast gallery but rarely filled with local or non-local work.

As a relatively recent contributor to the Arts Sector, I am here with new fresh eyes. I have lived in both Cairns and Townsville, where there are sizeable Arts Communities.  My vision is the sharing of more cross cultural and cross regional skills within the arts sector. Having recently enrolled in the Build Back Better program with the JUTE Theatre company it is obvious that there is a large amount of talent in these areas, but I believe it is fragmented and still insufficient for such a large region. This necessitates the employment of industry workers from outside the regions; a process which is not economical.  Due to Covid, many arts workers with lifetimes of knowledge, were lost to the industry and there must be a sustained effort to encourage these people back or replace those who have permanently left.  We need to encourage school leavers, people of all backgrounds and ages to see the value and opportunity that there is for them here, without leaving their areas.

Having local people in the roles creates a follow-on effect throughout the community, creating jobs in other sectors. Hospitality, tourism, transport.

The 2032 Brisbane Olympics is an amazing opportunity to showcase regional arts talent to the world and we need to start working towards this now.

I have been a regional artist for my whole career and work as a full time artist from my studio in Maleny. Over my career I've been on quite a few assessment panels for grants including the Australia Council, and most recently for Arts Qld last year.  I have observed that regional arts are not widely understood by organizations and assessors based in the urban areas.  There is a cultural cringe that fails to recognise the unique appeal and cultural significance of the regions.  Often regional projects that get funded are generated in the city and take culture to the regions rather than building capacity within regional areas themselves. When I’ve been on grants review boards I’ve noticed the advantage that urban communities have through generational funding, building a healthy arts eco-system where the older generation of artists is able to pass their knowledge and skills onto to younger artists. I'd love to see more projects that create  a model for events that provide financial opportunities for regional artists and grow creative businesses in the area.

For the last 2 decades I’ve been sending out porcelain vessels covered in drawings to galleries and shops throughout the world from my little studio under my Queenslander in the heart of Maleny. Over the last few years I began to notice what a hunger there was to know about artist’s lives and get a glimpse of how they live and I began to see a way to showcase the amazing talents of the artists hidden in regional Australia and bring people together to feast, talk and bond through creativity.

I called these tours “Creative Voyage” I've taken travellers to ceramics studio in the Huon Valley, blackksmith studios in Hobart, explored drawing in Mullumbimby, toured farms in Tasmania and in 2023 I’m very excited to reveal the hidden beauty and creative spirit of my hometown Maleny.  The Maleny Creative Voyage will include a day in my studio experiencing the beauty of porcelain from a lump of clay on the potter’s wheel through to exquisite finished pieces, after all that making my husband the founder of award winning Cedar St Cheeserie will take the travellers into his cheeserie where they will experience first hand making mozzarella which we will then eat for lunch in an al fresco Italian feast! From garden designers to ceramic artists, to cheesemakers and opera singers, this voyage is a feast for the senses.

I’m passionate about the unique richness of the Regional Arts in Australia and the Creative Voyages are a way for me to give back to regional communities by promoting the hidden arts within them and connecting art lovers with artists in an intimate setting.  All the artists involved in the Creative Voyages are paid per head for the visitors to the studio, and the travellers who are potential patrons are encouraged to collect work from the studios we visit.  I also talk to the travellers about the importance of studios, what regional artists need from collectors and patrons and the realities of artist's lives in the country.  This forms bonds between artists and collectors from within the artists environment  rather than from within a gallery environment. I set up this model to encourage sustainable creative tourism in the regions.

I'm passionate about regional arts and artists, I really believe that regional Australia is going to be a huge force for cultural identity and innovation in the next decade.

One of the things I notice as being a rural artist is the lack of connection and interaction with other creatives/ cultural workers. This can be as simple as talking about current trends, initiatives, ideas, to skill sharing and feedback on new work. I would like to propose some ideas to navigate this problem, noting that they are in early stages and hopefully could be fleshed out/ discussed at the round tables.

I am currently on an arts residency in Oatlands, Tasmania. This town is similar to my own( Ramong, Encounter Bay) in being a smaller community, with a strong arts appreciation and an hour from a major city( Adelaide and Hobart).

Being on a residency not only gives me time and space to create new work but it also allows me to make new connections and share my work and ideas with other people.

My idea is to create more of these residencies that are designated for rural artists. For those towns which have small facilities, there could be a billeting system, where resident artists are accommodated with locals. Towns that don't have a designated residency studio space could do things like use a community hall or local workshop for the duration of the residency, perhaps working with local businesses and industries to find spaces. Each town could have a focus depending on the facilities available and the cultural history of the town. There could also be a swap system where towns create partnerships with each other and swap artists from their regions. There could also be a similar metro/ regional swap system where a regional artist swaps residency with a rural artist. The residency could be as little as one week- to share new work and run workshops with the community, to one month for a more immersive based residency. There is the issue of funding, but this can be addressed through the support ideally of local serviced who would provide the accommodation and space and through grant applications for travel costs. There is already some residencies but my idea is to really expands this out., Have a dedicated program, guidelines or communication with local arts groups to create a vibrant Australia wide rural residency program.

My other idea deals with the same issue of connectivity but is on a smaller scale. I propose a regular virtual gathering, organised through RAA, at least at the outset, where regional artists are invited to present ideas, new work, discussions etc around specific predetermined themes. The  themes could such things as new work presentation for feedback, having discussions around current ideas with panels or guest speakers, particular theories with guest speakers who are practitioners or researchers in the field, or sessions for creating partnerships with a networking focus, or sessions devoted to a particular art form. The session would be completely online and would require a registration to attend to ensure numbers didn’t get so big as to be unworkable, then the session could be available for viewing after to allow both an archive creation and for those who didn’t attend or were interested in a particular topic to have access to the session.

BLC aims to build an “engine room” around a digital backbone that aggregates, promotes and builds new integrated digital revenue streams for the creative talent in regional australia and through partnerships that deliver immersive events, professional development and career pathways that enable a robust creative ecosystem that will redefine the identity of the Coffs Coast region and provide a scalable model for other regions.

1.Communications and Engagement

a) engage, showcase and connect creative talent to opportunities, projects and partnerships through

b) create revenue models for creatives beyond fee for service - encourage digital content creation to enhance live experiences for audiences and create ongoing engagement

c) promote and stage hybrid events utilising digital infrastructure required to support essential COVID-19 practices whilst enabling high value immersive events anywhere, anytime - creating new revenue models to break free of the" hand to mouth" events grant culture.

d)engage the community around immersive experiences

e)develop a targeted membership model for each core stakeholder group

2. Talent Development

a) Catalogue and continually showcase the skills, capability and experience of the 1600 Coffs Coast Creative Industries Members - create a membership drive, competitions, social media campaigns to promote local talent

b) Partner with the Federal Government Entrepreneur Facilitator Services Programme to develop entrepreneurial skills for artists to ensure the sustainability of their careers and businesses.

c)Connecting creatives to projects and initiatives that build the local creative economy and develop new skills

d) Creating a vehicle to continuously attract new and diverse talent from within the region and abroad.

Regional artists share the experience of isolation, yet its very are hard to actually connect with regional artists not only within your own community but in other regional areas around Australia. My proposal is about how to connect regional artists within their own community to their local council and business and tourism sector to optimize opportunities locally and secondly, how this local engagement works in other regional areas. This has a two fold approach - connectivity between regional artists within their region and in other regions. and secondly to share stories of success in relation to how regional artists have been able to leverage off local council, government and tourism opportunities. Perhaps this could end up with a proposal to workshop ideas in different regions that bring together regional artists, community, business and government to support opportunities for regional artists.

More opportunities for networking and professional development for local government arts and cultural employees. The reality is that many local governments have growing arts and cultural commitments and expertise in-house/staff- and are facing increasing community expectations in terms of what they will deliver across arts and culture. It is interesting to consider the role of different organisations considering this shift.

1. In the context of the next 10 years and with a view to the next 80, I feel there's great potential in mapping regional Australia's systems of production to name the interconnected facets of 'the system' within which we each work and where there are gaps which we'd seek to shift through delivering alternatives...and then naming and acting upon these alternatives, and giving these a timeline for testing.

This systems thinking would account for differing cultural systems, the sharing and production of knowledge and practices and consider how relationships with communities and audiences are built. It would take into account where they diverge and interconnect. It would enable new ways of considering job creation, skill development, care, cultural and social infrastructure and connectivity, collaborations and partnerships, innovation and new thinking and systems change linked to our climate crisis, conflict resolution practices, and different economies.

For example, through the lens of 'Archipelago Thinking' it would be a system that speaks to a zone of many, not one. It would have no centre. Built on differences that interact, it would propose the distribution of possibility—distributed equity, distributed knowledge, distributed research, production, and exchange—from the local through to the international. Alignment of shared values and defining of divergence to approaches to all the above would offer the establishing of ecosystems of production and partnership, connectivity, testing of new thinking and systems, jobs etc.

2. It would be great to examine concrete examples and evaluated case studies of 'slow touring' to know what support mechanisms could be implemented over the next 10 years. Over the last year I've piloted a regionally based four state collegiate model experiment in 'slow touring' working with culturally diverse artists. We evaluated 3 case studies and through it understand its great potential. It would be great to bring this experience to the table but to also to have exposure to other successful 'slow touring' models.

Considering the statement in ‘Connected Lives: Creative solutions to the mental health crisis’, Report on the Arts, Creativity and Mental Wellbeing Policy Development Program, 2022. “Professional development needs of the arts and mental health workforce. There is a need to professionally develop the workforce of artists and arts workers in mental health settings – to protect individuals and communities seeking wellbeing support, as well as the artists conducting this work.

Standardised and recognised training, accreditation and regulation would provide much needed structure for this field of practice, ensuring that best practice standards and ethical frameworks are established and met. Regulation of the field would also provide certainty about the different approaches, identifying the educational requirements for each and legitimising them with the oversight of a professional body.”

As well as facilitate a recovery-oriented psychosocial art therapy group session.

My ideas for regional development of the arts are as follows:

- internship connections between schools and regional art galleries, theatres etc. to develop youth engagement and understanding of employment opportunities.

- regional scholarships for students to undertake further study in arts degrees and courses

- regional high school creative arts camps where students from regional sectors come together once a year to engage in workshops development and meet with artists and industry representatives - these are in regional centres thereby also allowing for community collaboration and sector building

My experience is around Youth development and emerging artists and my ideas centre on how to engage youth and provide opportunities.

The idea to connect traditional processes with contemporary approaches is a priority for me. Connecting WA or Australia with Europe through art residencies is the aim of this project.

I personally run a Printmaking Studio in Margaret River and one in Bologna (Italy). They are connected and I am already generating experiences in both studios.
The idea to generate an official channel and cultural exchange would be a a great opportunity for both countries (even though the project could be extended to whole Europe).

Creative Residencies: Develop programs that provide opportunities for artists and creatives to work in regional communities, building connections with local people and place. These residencies could be supported by partnerships with local businesses, organisations, schools and tourism venues to provide the artists with resources and support during their stay.

Digital Connectivity: Develop initiatives that support the digital connectivity of regional communities, including investment in digital infrastructure, training for digital literacy and use of digital platforms for creative industries.

Cultural and Social Infrastructure: Support the development of cultural and social infrastructure in regional communities, including arts and cultural facilities, community spaces, and cultural events and festivals.

Education Pathways and Training: Develop programs that support education and training pathways for people interested in pursuing careers in the creative industries in regional areas. This could include vocational training programs, apprenticeships, and partnerships with universities and TAFEs.

I see job creation and skill development as increasing the availability of workshops and professional development to enable local artists to take their creativity to a professional level and increasing artistic representation in regional Australia.

I'd like to see regional art societies supported with funding to enable them to hire professional services to reduce the workload on inexperienced and voluntary positions.

Initiating ways that include the arts in the lives of everyone and making the arts more accessible to regional Australia. Actively exploring ways to make Regional Arts Centres sustainable with an economically sound basis.

One of the projects I’m excited to be facilitating alongside the Director of Arts Strategy is a collaborative Zine project (self-published, small-circulation mini magazines that can be constructed through the use of collage, drawing, painting, text, stitching and other mixed media). This project will see regionally based DADAA participants in Lancelin co-creating Zines with participants at ….. in Canberra. Participants in the Lancelin branch will create one half of the Zine and then send it across the country for participants in Canberra to respond to, add to and extend.

By bringing artists from different regions and backgrounds together to collaborate and co-create, we hope to spark new creative directions, approaches, and outcomes that would not have been possible otherwise.

Regional and remote communities in Western Australia have limited opportunity for artists with disabilities so there will be an online component to the project, allowing our artists with disabilities to socialise via zoom with their collaborators and encourage relationship building and mentoring between project participants.

This is also an opportunity for the arts workers themselves to develop new skills in terms of Zine publication, share knowledge and resources and build relationships and partnerships with other arts workers and organisations that will hopefully lead to new opportunities in the future.

I'm also the founder of Part of Things - an ideas hub and creative gathering place in the Riverland which opened in August 2019 - and I am interested to be in conversation around the role of these kind of spaces as Third Places, capacity building engines and (arts) experts. Part of Things has no core funding and is largely resourced through my salaried roles elsewhere, and some strategic project grants. I'm interested in the business models that can sustain this work, without losing what makes us nimble and relevant to our community. 

So much of my practice has been in youth arts and nurturing the longterm careers/lives of young people - I'm interested in how we capture and communicate this impact. I continue to work with young people across multiple projects and roles, many of who are now valued peers and collaborators. But if we just looked at an individual project I worked with them on we wouldn't see the whole story. An example of this - Emma (16) attended a workshop in 2014. She was the only attendee so on paper that workshop was a failure. Because of meeting and talking with Emma at that workshop I invited her to be part of another project I was running. She then became the founding member of a new youth ensemble and went on to co-create 2 performances with other young people and professional artists over 3 years. I then invited her to be a commissioned artist on another project. She then participated in a writing residency and had her work published. She was then invited to be an assistant director for a State Theatre Company show. All from a workshop that only 1 person attended...

My own career is an example of this kind of impact - I was a highschool droput and teen mum who got involved in a youth arts project at 19 (with 4 other participants). That was 20years ago, but the impact of that project lives through everything I do now. How do we truly capture and understand that in both cultural and economic terms?

Opportunities for regional artists to have access to business building skills through tailored workshops and mentoring.

Supporting local artists to share their art with the community and in schools through funded opportunities.

Bring local artists together to collaborate, forming partnerships that may allow a greater chance of obtaining opportunities.

Create local creative think tanks for artists and conduct regional surveys to see what is missing and needed in our community.

Partnering with local business leaders to look at opportunities and collaborations to add a creative offering to their community interaction.

My research investigates, and my interests focus on, the interdisciplinary nature of arts practice. Arts practice is an embodied knowledge form. That is we hold what we learn within our selves. Art practice is learning by doing and has the capacity to create new perspectives, strategies and possibilities for  knowledge creation. It is especially relevant to interdisciplinary knowledge creation, and is critical to much of the interdisciplinary activity being encouraged in many fields of learning today. One of the ways art practice can contribute to interdisciplinary settings is through its exposure of our positionality. Arts practice provides both process and practice for identifying, confronting, and reconciling positional assumptions and presumptions for disciplinary and interdisciplinary ways of knowing and doing. The arts impact, because they encourage us to look at familiar things differently, this is useful in todays current debates on race, gender equity and identity.

Arts practice is both a knowledge form and a way of continually learning. Arts-based research (ABR) is now recognised within institutions of higher education. This means art practice is a contributor to skill development and can contribute to the creation of more innovative ways of considering work. Arts practice has the capacity to facilitate deep and critical thinking and already contributes to the thinking that goes into systems change, climate change and economic perspectives.

Job creation - Artsland Creative Facilitators employed in regions to meet and plan with, engage and collaborate with creative arts workers/enthusiasts, at all stages of career development, to create and promote relevant and diverse skill development and creative exposure opportunities.

Collaboration and networking with exisiting organisations, such as QCWA, Arts Groups and individual artisans, in rural and remote areas that have a wealth of creative knowledge and skill which can be shared and passed on. Building community growth through active and regular engagement.

Physical infrastructure - In the form of creative spaces, studios, performance and exhibition space, community art buildings/houses to support beginning and emerging creatives in their arts practice. This could include exhibition opportunities and workshops regarding developing their creative practice.

Put the activation of cultural creativity at the forefront of communities through and for active community renewal, creative tourism, mental health initiatives, and youth programming.

Ensure every remote and rural community has cultural and creative assets to attract creative tourism experiences, - identified through cultural mapping. This will identify current cultural and creative assets, inform planning and development of collective strategies and initiatives. Ensure the planning and development is grassroots and is connected to place, history and community engagement strategies.

The emergence of Web3 technologies, such as blockchain, NFTs, AI generative art platforms and metaverse showcases, have provided artists and creators with a new set of tools to create, distribute and monetise their art. The democratisation and decentralisation of the arts and creative industries occurring with the advent of Web3 technologies means artists and creators can participate in an expanded art world that no longer relies on traditional intermediaries and geographical hubs. However, artists, creators, and industry professionals need better access to Web3 education and ecosystems to take advantage of these opportunities. Understanding how emerging technologies can enhance creativity, build brand awareness, secure provenance, and generate new revenue streams and employment opportunities will ensure that artists, creators and arts organisations across Australia can flourish in the digital age. 

While some companies and institutions offer in-person and online courses in Web3, they can be cost-prohibitive, location dependent and limited in places and ongoing support. Likewise, these courses are rarely tailored to regional arts practice. Unfortunately, many artists, creators, galleries and museums operating in rural and regional areas lack the resources and opportunities to learn about Web3 technologies. This could lead to a significant gap with their capital city-based peers in a rapidly changing industry. Regional arts practice deserves access to independent, expert and relevant content around the adoption of Web3 technologies delivered in accessible and user-friendly formats that collapse geographical boundaries and support vibrant art communities around Australia. Possible solutions might include online educational resources and learning experiences, including webinars, interactive modules and workshops, in-person town halls, exhibitions, live demonstrations and community-led networking. Such action aims to build awareness of emerging technologies outside of capital cities, promote best practices and foster new employment opportunities for artists, creators and arts organisations operating in rural and regional Australia.

As we become genuinely immersed in the digital age, artists and creative entrepreneurs working in rural and regional Australia need the information and the skills required to participate in an expanded art world that lives up to the promise of Web3, with its progressive model for inclusion, virtuality, and individual sovereignty. Harnessing the potential of Web3 technologies will ensure that artists and organisations in rural and regional Australia can access content and learning opportunities from their location at a pace that suits their practice or business. Tailoring the process is vital to supporting digital and traditional artists as they explore the potential for hybridity in their creative practices. For example, painters and sculptors living in rural and regional areas might be interested in learning about blockchain-based digital certificates to authenticate and prove ownership of their artworks. Similarly, First Nations artists and regional galleries may benefit from knowledge about the arts-blockchain company IndigiLedger. This Aboriginal-owned and operated business empowers Indigenous Australian communities in their fight against fraudulent Indigenous art. These are some of the many examples of ways emerging technologies can support regional arts practice. 

While emerging technologies offer new ways to create, distribute, authenticate and sell art and collectables online, the space remains fluid and is prone to bad actors. We need solutions that address the need for education and community engagement in Web3 arts and culture outside of the capital cities to guide artists and creative industry professionals towards best practices. With the recent introduction of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, there will likely be a significant uptake of AI-generated content creation, especially in the ed-tech space. Although AI chatbot systems make it possible to receive crafted responses to complex questions, they are trained to recognise patterns in existing data harvested from the internet and may contain disinformation or bias. As OpenAI’s Chief executive Sam Altman recently tweeted, “it would be a mistake relying on it for anything important right now.” Such a concession reinforces the need for trusted, independent and reliable human-centric information and analysis around adopting emergent technology in the Australian arts and creative industries. 

If invited to participate in Artlands 2023, I plan to discuss the challenges facing the adoption of emerging technologies in regional art practice and explore solutions around building awareness and skills in decentralised creativity and digital provenance. My proposal for Artlands 2023 builds on my teaching practice as a lecturer at the National Art School, where I teach the next generation of artists about emerging technologies such as blockchain, AI, NFTs, artist-related Decentralised Automatous Organisations (DAOs) and metaverse activation. It is shaped further by “arts3”, an Australian education platform and community ecosystem I am developing to help guide artists, creators and arts organisations around Australia as they navigate emerging technology in their creative practices and businesses. Still in the early stages of research and development, arts3 is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and Sydney University’s IncubateX. My work at NAS and arts3 has involved extensive research and writing on NFT art, blockchain-driven art patronage, museum NFT projects, metaverse world-building and AI art. I have also surveyed BFA and MFA students, arts educators and practitioners to find out what they think of these technologies and their application in the arts. The results revealed limited knowledge of their potential as sales mechanism and creative medium. The art sector in Australia, particularly in rural and regional areas, is missing out on the opportunities presented by tectonic shifts in technology. By empowering artists and organisations with the knowledge and skills they need to participate in the Web3 industry, we can help build a more inclusive and diverse creative economy and a stronger regional arts practice in Australia. For the first time, we have the prospect of artists in rural and regional Australia finally overcoming the tyranny of distance and using emerging technologies to showcase their talents to a global audience. I am excited by this prospect and seeking opportunities to further this objective wherever possible.

My main idea is under the working title, People are welcome.

I would like to combine my arts practice, leadership skills and art therapy training to create meaningful and fun art making experiences for people in my community.

My personal life motto is No man left behind. My focus is on inclusivity and accessibility. I would like to pair OT’s with local artists to create community groups with an ‘art making for all’ kind of vibe. I can visualise hosting/facilitating a hub/nest in my local area and creating a web of connection with other participating communities. There would be an open sharing of knowledge, resources, activities, and ideas with the world. We would be sharing freely and without agenda, just contributing to the wellbeing of our communities. Everyone would be invited to participate, in person and online. It could be designed to be completely accessible and inclusive of everybody.

Disability support. OT’s. Artists. Volunteers.

People are welcome.

Explore new mediums and materials. 
By using the Expressive Therapies Continuum, we would encourage self-exploration though the art making. The ETC can be used to explain the benefits of different art making materials and experiences.

People are welcome could also be given agency to offer opportunities like scissor lift training for local artists interested in tackling larger scale works, and any other locals wanting to fill spots in the course. This creates an up skilling and empowerment opportunity for local artists and members of the community, and would contribute education and employment opportunities through the arts.

I am gravely concerned that grassroots organisations in the regions have neglected to address succession planning. In my area these groups define the cultural landscape and create the rich environment which leads to participation and engagement. Lifestyle changes, downward trends in volunteering and the burden of compliance add to the barriers these groups face. The fragility of their existence has been exacerbated since the demise of the state-wide umbrella body, Tasmanian Regional Arts (TRA). The sense of connectivity and support provided by TRA is missed and has impacted the sector. For these groups to be sustainable, we need to identify their needs and address how they can be better supported.

Supporting the primacy of the arts as part of the social and cultural infrastructure of our regional communities is paramount. This is especially true since COVID, as the arts were what people turned to for sustenance, comfort and inspiration.

Beyond the use of economic metrics based on ticket sales, overnight stays and door clicks, the sector faces an ongoing challenge to define itself as a credible entity which is vital to the wellbeing of society. There is work to be done on establishing these parameters so that cogent arguments can be established for support and access.

The value of the ‘intangible’ benefit of the arts was illuminated to me recently when our local council closed three of our key cultural venues, sacked 16 long-term staff engaged at those venues, and dismantled their events department.  They did this without any public consultation. Perhaps not surprisingly, there was an uproar. Quite apart from the argument about the validity of these decisions, the backlash demonstrated the intrinsic value placed on these institutions by the community. They were part of the identity of the city – known as the ‘City of Makers’ – to which people felt deeply connected. What I now feel is that the population are carrying a deep wound as a result of that blow. The whole experience has highlighted just how important a healthy ecosystem is. If faced with a catastrophic event, there will be long-term consequences.

Public libraries have the potential to be at the centre of social and cultural programming, partnerships and placed-based solutions for growing thirving creative communities now and into the future.

Hello - I am sharing my ideas from Barngarla Country, Gallinyalla Port Lincoln South Australia and want to recognise that the lands I am on today have always been places where stories have been told, songs have been sung, dances and artworks have been created and celebrated. My small regional city, like many, centres around sports. However, changemakers and innovative thinkers have been instrumental in creating a new festival, the SALT festival which is showing others what is possible to bring ideas into practice. I have just turned 18 and have been learning music and singing since kindergarten. My supportive parents have searched for many opportunities for me, but it has been a search as the cost of bringing arts productions to my town is not financially viable for many touring companies. Throughout Covid lockdowns, in order for many art practices to survive they went online. This allowed me to access opportunities that I could have only dreamed of up until then, as I was able to join a Queensland Theatre Company in their online creations, sing with the National Gondwana choir and more specifically, attend online workshops with the cream of the industry which would have been otherwise out of my reach. I was able to work with astonishing professionals to extend my vocal and performance abilities and through opportunities like this and other events I was able to gain the confidence to take the next steps to public performance, by releasing my own music and performing in the Adelaide Cabaret Festival as part of the Class of Cabaret (only possible through achieving the Nathaniel O'Brien Class of Cabaret scholarship) and all of these experiences led me to be able to create my own Fringe show at the age of 16/17 and take it to Adelaide as part of the Fringe as well as bring the fringe to Port Lincoln for the first time. I also performed in our local SALT Festival last year and also created a new Fringe show for this year, bringing Fringe back to Port Lincoln and providing a platform for another local artist to also have the confidence to create a show (as well as a venue for 2 more visiting performers).  I know that as a result of me doing my FRINGE show at 17 years of age is that after seeing what I did a number of older artists are exploring participating in SALT also which is great as building local creative capacity is also important to me. I want to deepen my practice and build my skills as I have found that local performance, although supportive is also much tougher in a home crowd where you do not have anonymity and so this is important for my skill building and specifically my attempts to engage the audience and break down the 4th wall of performance. In 2022, I grew so much as a performer and vocal artist and want these opportunities again in 2023 before I make a decision about which direction my career will go.

So my main idea for ARTLANDS would be for arts practitioners to continue to be funded to use online technologies to share skills with regional people who may not have the funding or support to visit cities where it seems that workshop events mainly occur. Additionally, it would be for those wanting to provide workshops to link in with established festivals to extend the opportunities for what is available and to ensure that workshops are on weekends or on a Friday or Monday to make the trip to a city worthwhile as far as the time and energy required to take up the offers. Also providing training to those running workshops so that they are prepared and able to share their information in the most practical and accessible way. A lot online can be very hit-and-miss and involves way too much waffle. By connecting to key industry people, a lot of learning could occur without the expense of travelling to a city, and having to stay overnight (very difficult for practitioners with young children or who are caregivers to elderly parents etc) but which allows for a thriving online network where people can share their arts practice and feel supported. I sure would love more of that.

I would love to see an Arts Hub developed in Townsville to train up people in a number of areas: Dance, Music, Drama, Visual and other forms of Art as well as AV/technical. 

The Hub could have multiple performance spaces, formal and informal, and be able to have a place for shared use by the many theatre and artistic groups in Townsville. Galleries/theatre/cafe/showroom - shop to sell Artwork/recordings etc. This could see our youth find a place, find their passion and be mentored by those seniors who have time to spare to share expertise.

The Hub should be a place with innovative construction materials and furniture. Pigmented concrete and cross-laminated timber (engineered wood), cyclone proof buildings with an aesthetic style.  Buildings that look attractive - not just concrete boxes.

In recent years the closure of the creative industries courses at Charles Sturt University - in particular the respected B.A Communication -Theatre/Media degree will impact future opportunities for emerging and established artists.  As an alumni and previous Lecturer of this well -respected course I am observing the serious impact the removal of this course is having across the sector not just locally but nationally.

There is now a gap in places to train emerging artists in this large region and this has flow on affect in terms of attracting established and mid-career artists to stay in the region. 

I would like to discuss the social, educational and cultural infrastructure we have in Bathurst that can help to rebuild these training opportunities and foster new networks, locally and nationally.

Recently  under the leadership of Stephen Champion Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre received significant funding from Create NSW to build The BARN Residency. Director at BMEC for the past 20 years Stephen is now managing this project.

The BARN is a significant cultural infrastructure project for Bathurst that will shape its future as a destination for arts and culture in NSW and enhance experiences for artists, locals and visitors. With purpose-built facilities for dance, circus, music and theatre, The BARN will form a critical part of  NSW’s creative infrastructure by supporting artists to create innovative new work.  Situated at the picturesque Ben Chifley Dam, it will create a space for regional, metropolitan and international artists to develop new works, and develop long -term community collaborations. 

My ideas look at education opportunities for young people living in regional areas. I have two young adult children who have moved into developing creative careers in Music and Digital arts. Both have had to make many life changes to make this happen, such as relocating to major cities for further education and opportunities. Country kids find this very daunting and are not provided with SUPPORT in the city.

Too often country kids are growing up being told that the Arts is not a real job...................many arts jobs are in the cities. Through the 90's and early 2000, As a mother and concerned community member, I set up Creative workshops and community for children in our Shire during school holiday periods. Bring Creatives to young people from all creative areas such as Visual Arts, Music, and Theatre. It is interesting to note these children are now in their twenties, with many studying or working in Creative industries. 

In NSW the Arts have been removed from many TAFE institutions in Regional NSW. This has removed and down played the importance of the Creative Arts in all our lives.

1. More Education/training based in regional areas so that it is easily accessible to everyone without having to relocate to major cities

2. Flexible learning - online?

3. Creative Business in regional areas need more support so that they can grow which in turn means more jobs for Creative people.

4. Create hotspots emerging down under, regional Australia can serve as a fresh example of these culturally-rich, creatively-inspired communities....thriving despite (or perhaps because of) their size or location.‍5. Creative Jobs are real jobs

6. Arts and culture are key components of quality of life, and important contributors to economies as well.

7. Mental Health is a big one at the moment. Our young people are being forced to believe they must succeed at very high levels, then compound this with COVID lockdowns and Creative arts not seen as important. We must get back to people interacting with each other in a safe, creative space so that people can understand happiness and value connection with others.

Computers are good, but they are a TOOL not a best friend. People really do need people to feel and share emotions.

3.Digital Keeping Places: Cultural repositories developed for keeping traditional and cultural knowledge are critical for Aboriginal people to build economic, social and cultural independence, for example, to demonstrate cultural heritage in land title considerations. These repositories can also be mined to communicate cultural knowledge and traditions in innovative and creative ways (examples include FORM’s Canning Stock Route and Tracks We Share projects). Digital keeping places offer an important opportunity for cross-sector collaboration and skills development.

4.Making Space for Culture: In order to create spaces for cultural in regional areas, cultural infrastructure could be mandated into planning schemes, similar to green star ratings and percent for public art.

If we were able to establish a form of supplemental educational package, a series of workshops, or a specific training module for those interested in supporting artists and the arts sector, I believe we would see our artists have more creative potential, as they will have more time and ability to prioritise the creative pursuits themselves. As the arts sector is only expanding in potential and capacity, growing these support roles around us will only bolster everyone's success.

Creating space

As Manager of Arts and Culture at the Central Coast Council in North-west Tasmania I would like to offer HIVE, a newly established cultural precinct (which I manage) as a working example of cultural and creative industries contributing to economic growth and thriving communities in regional Australia.

Opened in November 2021, HIVE is the Central Coast municipality’s first cultural precinct that serves both as a local community hub and a drawcard destination for visitors to the region. Inspired by the concept of a beehive, Hive Tasmania has been designed as a space for community to gather, explore, share and grow and is home to:

•The largest dome planetarium in Tasmania‍
•The first Tasmanian Science Centre
•The Ulverstone History Museum and Art Gallery
•The Ulverstone Visitor Information Centre
•Workshop spaces for local arts and woodcraft community groups
•A café.

Some of the most exciting early findings have included:

•The value of embedded community through onsite studios for local arts and woodcraft groups as well as a strong volunteering program (we currently have 40 volunteers in our team).
•The opportunity that having such diverse programming provides to bring together cross-sector skills, audiences and programming particularly at the intersection of Science and Art.
•Demand for our interactive STEAM education program from across Northern Tasmania. 
•Interest and opportunity for collaboration with community and industry stakeholders i.e. our Science Centre exhibits are developed in collaboration with organizations across Tasmania connecting our audience to the innovation, possibility and opportunity that exists in their own backyard.

So many things happen in the performing arts through networking connections and collaborations; through providing opportunities for people to meet and work with each other.  Universities and training organisations aren’t the only way to provide these opportunities but they have been pretty amazing at generating connections, projects and incredibly successful alumni.  There has been a quantifiable impact of institutions and courses such as Drama at UNSW and UNWS, Melbourne Uni and the VCA, NICA, NIDA, FFFC, Kelvin Grove, Flinders Uni, WAAPA and more.  In my experience it is not always what you are taught in these institutions that is paramount it is the connections you make.

In the regional context of Bathurst it has been the Theatre Media Course (TM) at CSU that for 37 years has inspired, connected and generated artists who shape, foster and lead Australian cultural expression.  When a performing arts centre, BMEC, was created in Bathurst opportunities arose to collaborate with TM staff and students on projects that amplified opportunities for regionally based artists.  Festivals that were created not only provided performance opportunities but also, real life, stage, event management and a range of other skills.  The Local Stages program did the same.  Students from regional and rural backgrounds found they could create work in a regional setting with invaluable venue, technical staff and other support and use their regional location as a base to take work to other places.

One shining example of the result of making connections in the Bathurst context has been physical theatre company Lingua Franca.  At the 2014 Catapult Festival we included what was called the “Merging Emerging Artists Program” where 6 emerging artists were combined with two national mentors over a two week period.  We included local emerging artists Adam Deusien who was a TM student and Alison Plevey who was a local dancer with no university connection.  Through this experience Adam and Alison teamed up to form Lingua Franca the most successful local, contemporary performance troupe to come from Bathurst.

Unfortunately, after 37 years, the TM course is being wound up this year.  There will still be an Arts BA but it will have virtually no practical component.  The 20 year association between TM and BMEC is no more and opportunities for young regional artists are diminishing.  Local Stages still exists but the overall offering of support is considerably lessened.  It is sad that this has occurred in parallel with the vast increase in the cost of undertaking an Arts degree.

It is hoped that the development of the BARN (Bathurst Arts Residency NSW) will fill some of the  gap created by the loss of the TM course and even inspire CSU to get back into practical arts training.  The BARN will provide different opportunities but it will be a facility that encourages connections, skill sharing and collaboration between regional and rural artists and artists from across Australia and overseas.  The facility will have a main working space of 15m x 15m x 9m height with access to aerial rigging points, sprung floor for dance, an acoustic carefully modulated to suit the spoken voice and music.  There will be a communal dining room & kitchen for up to 80 people, break out rooms, workshop, outdoor development space and there is existing on site accommodation with additional accommodation planned.

Residencies such as the BARN are ideal in focused and beautiful regional, rural and remote settings.  A network of such facilities and programs across Australia is possible and would transform the place the regions play in the incubation of new work, the sharing of skills, creation of job opportunities and the possibilities for regional, national and international collaborations and partnerships.  

The recent Local Giants project with RISE funding secured by RAA, Performing Lines and PACA was a great initiative and BMEC was grateful to be the NSW partner on the project.  A series of performing arts residency spaces across regional Australia would be an ideal way to ensure that such programs could be supported on an ongoing basis.

Wishing to establish a youth mentorship programme (music) associated with our festival than would provide free or very inexpensive access to all in a variety of skills including (but not limited to ) composition and songwriting, ensemble performance, stagecraft, microphone technique and production. I have many ideas around this and would be interested to hear others' experiences or thoughts. I see this as not only being of educative benefit and creating opportunity for participants but also providing valuable work for mentors/teachers especially what for many has been three years of lost opportunities

I'm also really interested in cross collaborations between artists and arts workers. I have some experience in bringing collaborative projects to fruition and am very interested in brainstorming ideas with others to bring project to the regions we operate in.

I've had personal experience in mending relationships with our local aboriginal community and would love to see this grow in my own area as well as hear others' experiences and insights.

As a mature Wiradjuri women from Dubbo Regional NSW, I have worked in the arts for over 40years. I have recognised many areas within the Cultural arts that are diverse and lacking innovation, connectivity’s and partnerships. We, Aboriginal people love being creative and the land provides inspiration and allows us to gather resources and information Culturally. To take the next step and make the change to use art as an employable outcome takes time and support from community collaboration and connectivity. Education is high on the list as a way of looking at art as an income to feed and provide for your family, through TAFE courses to higher levels of learnings. Today many Aboriginal artist are very diverse from ground level basic arts to animation, land management and self employed business professionals to name a few.

Culture and social infrastructure and connectivity for me has many references. When gathering resources in my bush supermarket I follow cultural protocols and limit the bare essentials when gathering ochre. Ochre is extremely precious one taken it can’t be replaced as it’s not a crop and won’t regrowth. It’s a concerning agenda.

There is little or no support from the arts in regional Dubbo area specifically for the Elder artist there are no or minimal arts centres in regional area here.. Dubbo has a gallery that does not have a permanent Aboriginal art space. We have a very large group of Aboriginal people in correctional institutions who do art and when released  have no where to go to an art safe environment  to look at gallery exposure and making sellable art for their livelihoods.

HOW DO WE BUILD PLATFORMS FOR genuine exchange, connection and value across our vast country. Can we create a dialogue with and contextualised by our regional position that challenges national and international perspectives, trends, and conversations. 

HOW do make the regions BOLD, NOTICED and NEW. There is vital talent, ideas and leadership here. How can we connect these leaders, turn thinking and ideas into ACTION. How can we avoid being slowed and diluted by red tape, never ending strategic planning and reporting. Can we please TEST and PLAY and tell the story poetically, widely and lovingly. Can we hold concepts of 'access' next to those of 'experimentation' and 'bravery' and 'weirdness'. Can we make regional the coolest place to be... There are some examples, we can find more and we can tell the stories louder...

Also..

Consider national approaches to program delivery to increase impact, share learnings and deliver efficiently - some ideas

- Creative Industries incubator program to build skills, networks, financial literacy and value proposition for artists in regional settings

- Creative development, residency exchange and micro touring opportunities  (see Punctums BEYOND)Advocacy to state government's for informed regional arts investment

- understanding the diversity of regions - on size does not fit all

Strategic professional development for arts workers in regional settings - exposure to innovation, best practice, events and inspiration that may not be able to be supported by individuals and regional organisations

Platform to build and exchange practices and build networks for artists and arts workers across regionsCampaign for Culture in the regions.

Arts happens here!

Supported partnerships / exchange / facilitated networking between regional organisations

National campaign around CULTURAL VALUE.. what we bring that is unique to our skills and cultural participation - new knowledge, insight, creativity and new thinking inspired, diverse perspectives, aesthetic enrichment, joys, challenge and memories made - Our sectors critical offer that is beyond dollars and tourism. This is so important in a regional setting where exposure and participation may not be embedded and regions identities are not always defined or built on culture.

Share my ideas.  That is quite an open invitation, but I think what I would like most is to share an opinion that underlies all of my approaches to working regionally.

I think there is often too much imitation of things that have worked in other spaces, places and cities.  Australia's regions are so unique that I always seek out an approach that celebrates and feeds that uniqueness rather than combat the region and try and make it something else.  Art that supports the identity of a place and the people, is curious and unique will always draw a more defined interest and support a number of the bullet points that preceded this section.

I am a contemporary artist who works across disciplines, so new concepts, new ideas and innovation is always something I strive for.  For me there is also a need to engage the towns populations as participants, champions, rebels, co-conspiritors.  This also means a very inclusive model that always has a door open for participation and ensures ownership by locals and builds artistic (and transferable) skills.  Engaging with arts, particularly arts that are more contemporary in nature is a learning process, a language of sorts.  Oftentimes once people start to understand the breadth of what art can be....that it can be playful, that it can challenge, can exist only momentarily....once the self imposed limitations of what art "should be" are broken the possibilities can come.   

So my idea is that place identity comes from unique approaches that strive to celebrate the difference of places, not duplication or imitation. That it comes from participation of communities and giving them permission to play with ideas and expression.  That all cultural subsets can exist in this space, from celebrating bogan pride and car culture to a radical reworking of agricultural showground flower arrangements.  From no-tech to high tech, that audiences are as varied as the people who make things.  Art in regional towns is about creating vibrant and engaged communities that recognise the oftentimes seemingly disparate parts that can still somehow exist together.  For me once these parts have energy the other things flow.  The young girl who picks up a video camera within a project can see a future alongside the device.  This same young person may stay in a town that feeds her passions.  The processes and approaches of clever and strategic art making can influence and impact all aspects of a region significantly.

I am also super passionate about community art projects and see them as a way to share our individual selves, then be accepted and celebrate as yourself as a bigger part of something. I would love to see every region have a celebration of themselves, facilitated through the creative arts. Projects that create change not put just put on a show. ATM I see money taken away from communities and community productions so councils can bring in artists from other places and put on a big fancy show, that people can watch for a few hours. This goes create not change. It is entertainment. 

In businesses I would love to see programs that teach and foster creative thinking and self-acceptance for better productivity and employee satisfaction/happiness

Ceramics can help to connect communities by promoting cultural exchange and trade. Ceramics have been traded between different regions and cultures for centuries, and this trade can help to promote economic growth and cultural understanding. Additionally, the production of ceramics can be a collaborative effort, bringing together artists, designers, and craftsmen from different communities to create unique works of art. This collaboration can help to promote cross-cultural understanding and promote a sense of shared identity. Finally, the use of digital technologies, such as online marketplaces and social media, can help to connect ceramists with customers and other artists, promoting the exchange of ideas and the development of new skills.

In order for arts practice to thrive in regional Australia, regional arts organisations need to have the resources and capacity to support artists and works across the whole life-cycle of development. Support needs to be not only the capacity to employ artists and artsworkers on a project basis, but creating long term opportunities, that in turn grow regional economies. However, current funding models do not support regional organisations to grow the capacity of local artists and communities, nor provide sufficient long-term opportunities to encourage the development of new or relocation of existing organisations. To address this, we require quotas at a state and federal funding level, that ensure a significant portion of multi-year arts funding is designated for regional arts organisations, and for it to be distributed in such a way that considers the availability of funding in each LGA.

We need to position regional arts organisations as 'development hubs', where the focus is on arts practice and experimentation. While opportunity to develop work in major cities is scarce and focus is on presentation, well-funded, supported residencies in regional areas, as part of models of 'slow-touring' could give rise to artists working in and with regional communities to make new work, before it is presented and toured to major cities.

I think we should have a robust discussion about the place of digitisation in regional and remote arts. 

Across 2020-2022, I demonstrated the effectiveness of combining digitisation, literary events and literary tourism in regional-remote areas of Tasmania to contribute to local economic recovery, building pathways that allow local people to remain in situ and build creative writing practices, and build audiences.

I did this using a combination of live, digital hybrid, and live-steamed programs. Some are outlined here: https://www.terroraustralisfestival.com/2019-2022-looking-back

Opportunities that existed during the pandemic, especially for artists like me who live in MM5/MM6 and are too disabled to travel interstate for a conference of the 3-day kind offered here by RAA, are drying up. 

This is affecting how we can run our arts businesses and engage in the arts sector.

Professional development for writers, the enhancement of local capability and capacity, opportunities to connect to local and interstate/overseas audiences and newly created arts-business collaborations are all impacted as lessons learnt during the pandemic about connecting artists and audiences in hybrid ways are abandoned.

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Wishes for personal creative practice, communities and regional arts in Australia.

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PRIORITY 3: EQUITABLE AND ACCESSIBLE FUNDING FOR REGIONAL ARTISTS AND ARTS WORKERS

a. Review and simplify funding application processes

  1. Streamline applications by reducing the number of required questions.
  2. Address language and other accessibility barriers to make application processes more inclusive.
  3. Broaden and diversify required outcomes.

b. Diverse funding application assessment panels

  1. Establish a minimum representation of regional assessors on assessment panels.
  2. Establish a minimum representation of First Nations assessors on assessment panels.

c. Support for artists wellbeing

  1. Provide a care rider or mental health and wellbeing support system for artists and arts workers within the funding application process.
  2. Provide capacity/expectation for requested funding to be utilised towards artist wellbeing and support.

d. Transparent reporting

  1. Encourage the sharing of project statistics publicly.
  2. Foster transparency and accountability with the wider arts community.

e. Long-term funding stability

  1. Establish a long-term funding schedule to provide regional artists and arts workers with financial stability.

f. Prioritise capacity building

  1. Set specific funding opportunities for skills development projects.

I would like to share ACT Natimuk's new Creative Lab program and hear of other like models.

Following on for the impact on artists of COVID and also in-line with a new strategic direction that grew out of our strategic planning sessions late 2020 and early 2021, ACT Natimuk created a new Creative Lab Program with the following aims: -

•To encourage artists to connect with Natimuk and work as part of Natimuk’s small but vibrant arts community 

•To create/seed work for Nati Frinj Biennale

•To create/seed work that may be suitable for inclusion as a Made in Natimuk (MiN) product.

•To help with the sustainability of maintaining a regional arts practice 

•To encourage artistic exploration

•To encourage diversity of artistic expression

Over 2021 & 22 we supported 6 Creative Lab projects with a grant of $5000 each through a competitive project proposal process that was overseen by an independent panel. We expressly wanted the application process to be simple/straightforward and for the artists to be able to be process not outcome driven with freedom to explore an aspect of their practice. Although we hoped that the Creative Labs might lead to developing a work for Nati Frinj 2022, the only outcomes required were sharing their exploration at a session at NatiFrinj Festival 2022, providing images and content for a catalogue (a means of documenting the ephemeral), and filing a brief written report for evaluation purposes.

After over a decade of working in the Remote Arts Sector, i have had many varied experiences with the way projects and funding opportunities are delivered to remote communities. I have heard from Community people and witnessed the way arts project delivery and funding are yet to comprehensively reach the core needs of what people on the ground in remote communities, and in the bush, are saying are music, arts and culture urgencies.

My experience in remote arts speaks directly to Arnhem Land, specifically Maningrida and surrounding outstations and Bulman and surrounding outstations where I have worked in Arts orgs, education, as a music teacher, Arts Coordinator, in management/leadership, program development, cross-cultural arts communication and arts administration. I have written more grants than I can count and have seen first-hand the wonderful successes of remote arts delivery and also where it is still falling short.

I now work full-time alongside (remotely from NSW and travel up project by project) remote Arnhem Land First Nations peoples in arts, music and fashion on creative projects and in artist management in a ‘Community-led’ model that fosters thorough authentic engagement, employment, consultation and co-creation with Community directing and designing all components of projects through cultural protocols and governance from the ground up.

This model has been largely enabled through Philanthropic funding (eg Karrikad Kanjdji Trust - Cultural Heritage arm) where the outcomes are not driven by the funder. There is freedom, ownership and self-determination in this style of delivery. Projects are designed and delivered with outcomes being dictated by community people themselves, as they are the only ones qualified to speak to their own creative cultural artistic needs and how to quantify what success trust truly looks like.

I am a facilitator between community, organisations and project outcomes ensuring the outcomes are directly mapped across to what the community/artists/musicians have dictated as requirements, helping scaffold the elements to bring those projects to life.

This is an independent project and a model that has not been previously largely adopted in communities as Non-profit Orgs have historically delivered to these regions as the conduit for project design, project management, funding delivery, decision making and grant acquittal.

The challenge for large-scale organisations, especially in large regions like Maningrida is; the sheer size of the geographic location and the needs of its constituents is so vast, it is almost impossible to meet the needs of people on the ground.

Purely creative pursuits and projects are very rarely given agency as the cultural urgencies and threats are so immediate. Yet, unfortunately, there is simply not the capacity to get to each priority.

Outside of immediate priority areas, other arts priorities that are being identified as not receiving adequate support in remote communities are:

Contemporary Music

Music / Language / Songline recording and archiving.

Language invigoration.

Rock Art site survey, recording and protection.

Contemporary / Modern Art practice

Other than Arts project delivery within Remote Communities, another significant challenge is the huge barrier of Remote Artists / Musicians lacking access to mainstream arts spaces and opportunities due to the extraordinarily disproportionate costs.

I am the band manager for Maningrida band WILDFIRE MANWURRK and artist-musician Victor Rostron. They are proudly Independent artists who have maintained creative autonomy and self-determination but have struggled at every turn on their creative paths. An edgy and progressive voice from Stone Country Arnhem Land who have managed to record and release an incredible body of work - with music videos - which has now led to huge growth, and success including national touring opportunities.

The financial and access barriers are almost insurmountable.

I have worked with and had MANY conversations over many years with Arnhem Land bands including members of Narbalek Band, Sunrise Band, Letterstick Band and Black Rock Band who have all determined that the music Industry in remote Arnhem Land is not doing well. There are genuine ideas - from those men - about ways in which the remote music industry could be better supported and enabled.

I believe, the key to successful systemic change is to place the key stakeholders at the head of the conversation and decision making process enabling authentic agency to not only amplify their voices but to action processes that identify them as the only people qualified to write and design the projects and procedures that will impact their creative artists futures.

I believe a new model is possible that challenges the way we deliver arts programs to remote communities.

This is possible by creating intersectional mechanisms. Something that exists between organisations and people. I have spoken with and worked alongside countless artists and musicians who have many ideas about how they can be better serviced. This is where real change can occur. Investment in the re-structural agency at the intersection of dichotomy.

These processes would address other significant barriers and challenges such as:

Inadequate systems that prevent remote ESL (English as a second language-speaking) artists/musicians/creatives from accessing and navigating the platforms that offer the vast majority of Australian arts opportunities. i.e online grant systems/portals.

The issue of visiting project outcomes being geared towards the funding outcomes of external providers (govt/charities/etc).

Contracted arts projects being delivered in remote communities (i.e arts providers/orgs/charities/visiting remote communities) are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars delivering projects from funding from the overall allocated national and state Arts budgets.

*This project model utilises local artists, talent, ideas, resources and most importantly Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property to contribute to outcomes, as directed by the external funders.

Visiting projects rarely adequately consult, pay or take into account the identified needs of individual communities.

This overbearing model is taking away the opportunity for remote artists/musicians /cultural custodians to dictate their own outcomes as according to their identified needs, creative wants, cultural priorities and urgencies.

There are bands/musicians/artists that would greatly benefit from funding being spent on telling their own stories their own way, as opposed to through the lens of generic approaches that cater to a national delivery model with remote arts sector needs vastly differing from metropolitan and regional arts needs).

This would further contribute to community-specific music language arts culture outcomes including cultural invigoration, preservation, endangered language recording and a genuine artistic voice from the bush.

There is a huge gap in the way the Remote Arts sector services remote communities. I have over a decade of full-time Community Arts Development experience and have witnessed the frustration and disappointment and exhaustion that people are feeling. Many people are losing faith.

Opportunity for roles, employment, and agency in dedicated arts positions and projects in remote communities must include First Nations peoples and dedicate to readdressing the core values and objectives of what authentic arts representation and support stands for.

8. Piloting Artist Residency / Living Wage Project - Government - particularly local government like to spend money on bricks and mortar.  I often work with Councils on the development of cultural facilities and whilst these are important I often here the lament of artists who would prefer to see a direct investment in the artists (who will supposedly benefit from the capital investment).  For example, imagine a small town, that is considering applying for funding to support the redevelopment of a cultural facility - perhaps to the tune of $6 - $7 million.  Imagine reinvesting that in a group of artists - who are paid a living wage to grow their practice but to also contribute to the community in productive and creative ways.  Following how their interactions potentially transform a place and comparing this to the anticipated impact of the investment in facilities would be a fascinating project!!

Changing the "outcomes" required for arts... why can't it be as simple as attending / engaging / being creative (similar to sport - more people being active, is all the outcomes they require). How do we remove the pressure of being "good" at art?

TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION

*IF MORE ARTISTS ARE MOVING TO REGIONAL AREAS, IS ARTS FUNDING KEEPING UP WITH THE EXODUS?

*WHERE DO REGIONAL ARTISTS FIND SUPPORT IF LOCAL AUDIENCES ARE INADEQUATE AND THERE ARE INSUFFICIENT FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP WITH PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT?

*HOW CAN WE DEVELOP SUPPORT FOR REGIONAL ARTISTS TO ACCESS METROPOLITAN AUDIENCES THAT MIGHT OFFER MORE SUPPORT BOTH FINANCIALLY AND CRITICALLY?

Background:

As my background is in the Visual Arts, I can only comment on my field of interest. 

The most recent summary from Australia Council research 29 Nov 2017 shows that 1 in 6 Australian artists live in regional cities or towns (16%) and around 1 in 10 live in rural, remote, or very remote areas (11%). There have been recent studies of audience participation by https://patternmakers.com.au  and https://newapproach.org.au but have not been able to find a more up to date demographic survey of Australian Artists. My comments on audience support are anecdotal – through discussions with other practicing artists in Eastern Riverina and through personal experience.  

Since Covid and the explosion in housing values and rental costs in Metropolitan areas, there are anecdotal indications that many artists are relocating to areas where they can afford to live and practice their artform. This is not to say that costs in Regional, Rural and Remote areas have not increased as well. 

https://theconversation.com/sydney-artists-are-being-priced-out-of-the-city-heres-how-to-bring-them-back-98695#:~:text=Many%20artists%20are%20leaving%20inner,to%20Blue%20Mountains%20or%20beyond%E2%80%9D.

This article does discuss various ways of building in creative spaces in cities such as co-operative housing, incorporating the preservation of creative spaces through Zoning Laws and Infrastructure Levies amongst other ideas. 

Regional and Rural areas should be seeing this migration of creativity as a boon. It is well documented how the arts can breathe life into failing communities. However, this does not mean small rural & regional communities will immediately embrace the newcomers. 

Even after the Black Summer Fires, I notice in my community that we probably only have 2-3% (at most) of our population of 1500 attend and visual arts events. This is despite events targeting community members such as local identity portrait shows etc.

This is not the case for sporting events, which are very popular. Our local council has allocated a large amount of energy to gain substantial funding to build a new large sports centre in our main town, whilst the arts community has to manage with a building that is way past its use by date. This art centre is funded by membership and workshop fees. The exhibition space is very substandard and it is on the outskirts of town. Our local council does not even have an arts policy, reinforcing the community’s reluctance to engage with ‘the arts’.

‍Artists within our LGA rely on our regional arts body: Eastern Riverina Arts, for funding opportunities and Wagga Wagga Gallery for a decent exhibition space. This is not ideal as there is always insufficient funding for projects and exhibition opportunities are limited to perhaps only one every few years. There is also a problem of distance - particularly for rural artists having to sit their exhibitions, who pays accomodation costs for those who who live some hours away from our Regional Centre. 

This leads to the question of how we can manage a fairer distribution of funding to assist with professional development opportunities for those artists who show commitment and talent.  

Given the dearth of current statistics on the number of practicing artists in Australia: their locational distribution; the distribution of available funding for metropolitan artists per head and, regional per head, it is impossible to say where funding should be allocated. This constitutes the backgrounding of my topic for discussion.

I have been a regional artist for my whole career and work as a full time artist from my studio in Maleny. Over my career I've been on quite a few assessment panels for grants including the Australia Council, and most recently for Arts Qld last year.  I have observed that regional arts are not widely understood by organizations and assessors based in the urban areas.  There is a cultural cringe that fails to recognise the unique appeal and cultural significance of the regions.  Often regional projects that get funded are generated in the city and take culture to the regions rather than building capacity within regional areas themselves. When I’ve been on grants review boards I’ve noticed the advantage that urban communities have through generational funding, building a healthy arts eco-system where the older generation of artists is able to pass their knowledge and skills onto to younger artists. I'd love to see more projects that create  a model for events that provide financial opportunities for regional artists and grow creative businesses in the area.

For the last 2 decades I’ve been sending out porcelain vessels covered in drawings to galleries and shops throughout the world from my little studio under my Queenslander in the heart of Maleny. Over the last few years I began to notice what a hunger there was to know about artist’s lives and get a glimpse of how they live and I began to see a way to showcase the amazing talents of the artists hidden in regional Australia and bring people together to feast, talk and bond through creativity.

I called these tours “Creative Voyage” I've taken travellers to ceramics studio in the Huon Valley, blackksmith studios in Hobart, explored drawing in Mullumbimby, toured farms in Tasmania and in 2023 I’m very excited to reveal the hidden beauty and creative spirit of my hometown Maleny.  The Maleny Creative Voyage will include a day in my studio experiencing the beauty of porcelain from a lump of clay on the potter’s wheel through to exquisite finished pieces, after all that making my husband the founder of award winning Cedar St Cheeserie will take the travellers into his cheeserie where they will experience first hand making mozzarella which we will then eat for lunch in an al fresco Italian feast! From garden designers to ceramic artists, to cheesemakers and opera singers, this voyage is a feast for the senses.

I’m passionate about the unique richness of the Regional Arts in Australia and the Creative Voyages are a way for me to give back to regional communities by promoting the hidden arts within them and connecting art lovers with artists in an intimate setting.  All the artists involved in the Creative Voyages are paid per head for the visitors to the studio, and the travellers who are potential patrons are encouraged to collect work from the studios we visit.  I also talk to the travellers about the importance of studios, what regional artists need from collectors and patrons and the realities of artist's lives in the country.  This forms bonds between artists and collectors from within the artists environment  rather than from within a gallery environment. I set up this model to encourage sustainable creative tourism in the regions.

I'm passionate about regional arts and artists, I really believe that regional Australia is going to be a huge force for cultural identity and innovation in the next decade.

Big issue in the arts include:

The absurd cost of housing is forcing out creatives, and housing affordability is a key issue facing creatives in some regional areas. Creation and presentation space is out of reach in this area.

More opportunities for networking and professional development for local government arts and cultural employees. The reality is that many local governments have growing arts and cultural commitments and expertise in-house/staff- and are facing increasing community expectations in terms of what they will deliver across arts and culture. It is interesting to consider the role of different organisations considering this shift.

Expectations on local government to support the arts continues to grow. Local government needs more opportunities to seek funding for the arts, in order to directly support and enable the arts in its own community.

I'd love to see changes to the way the arts are funded, particularly more room for alternative art spaces in regional Australia. Currently thinking and funding in the visual arts are limited to 'Regional Gallery ' models. Only certain local government-run galleries are supported in this region. Northern Rivers Community Gallery and Lone Goat Gallery funded by Ballina Shire Council, and Byron Shire Council respectively, are constantly overlooked for funding and this situation does not deliver equity.

* Innovation and new thinking around funding models. In particular attracting and keeping mid to late career artists in regional areas through incentive, sustainability and acknowledgement. Currently this is extremely limited and draws more developed art practice out of regional areas and back into metropolitan centres.

If we are to sustain creative communities throughout Australia, we need to lobby for greater federal funding for regional artists, not just for regional arts organisations.

Following Covid the funding landscape for individual artists is highly competitive for state and national funding and regional funding is failing. There is little of it, and what little there is of it often requires 'community engagement' outcomes, limiting regional art practice to box ticking.

I am not seeing a regional arts ecology that supports the development of outstanding regional arts practice by individual artists. Regional art practice deserves to be more than 'tourist attractions' and 'festivals'.

I believe passionately that this needs to chang

The idea I would like to propose relates to the change I would like to see for the cultural and creative industries.

I would like to propose the coming together of industry professionals to discuss structures for engagement with artists and community. How artists are engaged, what does it take for an artist to connect with an arts organisation, who decides on the artists that are represented? I would like to see these structures and processes discussed, interrogated, and the different assumptions and barriers in those processes identified. This would be followed by initial discussions about how these processes could be done differently to remove some of these barriers. This is work that I believe many organisations are undertaking in the work that they do and is often opportunity specific or specific to their location, however crossovers will occur and learnings can be shared that would benefit the industry more broadly.

A possible scenario:

Representatives from a number of different organisations (of different sizes and types) come forward with an example each of a project or process that engages artists. Each project or process is stepped through with a group of artists and other industry professionals to identify barriers within the process. There will be some blind spots as artists and industry professionals are likely to have existing knowledge about processes of engagement for arts opportunities, ideally the reference group would have artists from a diversity of backgrounds and at different levels in their careers. This interrogation results in a list of barriers that are then worked through in a larger group, or smaller working groups, to identify opportunities or solutions, resulting in a set of potential case studies. The original organisation representatives then take this revision and work to implement changes, documenting the outcomes and learnings.

Alternatively, organisations that have been working in this space for some time could be invited to come together and present case studies of their projects, changes that were implemented, specific learnings, and outcomes.

Some examples of barriers that may be identified:

- Language barriers - are opportunities/application processes only available in English, are opportunities worded simply or do they use art or industry specific language.

- Who is accessing the opportunity - is the opportunity reaching artists from different parts of the community, how is eligibility communicated, how is the opportunity being promoted.

- Who gets to choose - who chooses which artists get the opportunities, what biases do they have.

- What does the opportunity require of the artist - do they get paid, do they have to pay a fee, do they need to travel, what other support is provided.

This type of review and interrogation could be extended beyond opportunities to engage artists to many areas of the arts and cultural industry and across industries, such as employment, as these barriers exist in almost all areas of daily life. But it would be good to start somewhere.

I would like to suggest a discussion around how we can better scaffold care around artist and arts workers delivering projects for / with community. As the impacts of climate change increase and the arts are more and more engaged and turned to by communities to process the impacts, we need to ensure there is adequate care and support for our artists to deliver these projects. This requires sufficient measures to be put in place to mitigate the impacts of working with lived experience groups, as well as psychological safety parameters and resouces for participants and viewers. I would like to put forward for consideration the concept of a “care rider” for arts projects, this could be something like a budget line in funding specifically to support the mental health and wellbeing of artists and participants in relevant arts projects.

As a filmmaker who runs a unique charity preserving the stories of veterans, I believe there needs to be discussion about including Documentary filmmaking within the definition of the "Arts" in Australia.

Countless times I have been referred to Screen Queensland and Screen Australia for potential funding or grants. This Story Australia creates documentaries for the community and State Libraries and in the words of the screen bodies "there is no financial incentive" for them to be involved. The documentaries we produce are about the truths of veterans - without bias - so they are not curated for broadcast media and their needs for particular point of views.

So we are not eligible for "Arts Funding" and we are not eligible for "Screen Funding." That leaves us in the middle, trying to convince historical and cultural organisations to embrace digital film. That is not easy.

Documentary film needs to be included within the "Arts" where it belongs.

Hello - I am sharing my ideas from Barngarla Country, Gallinyalla Port Lincoln South Australia and want to recognise that the lands I am on today have always been places where stories have been told, songs have been sung, dances and artworks have been created and celebrated. My small regional city, like many, centres around sports. However, changemakers and innovative thinkers have been instrumental in creating a new festival, the SALT festival which is showing others what is possible to bring ideas into practice. I have just turned 18 and have been learning music and singing since kindergarten. My supportive parents have searched for many opportunities for me, but it has been a search as the cost of bringing arts productions to my town is not financially viable for many touring companies. Throughout Covid lockdowns, in order for many art practices to survive they went online. This allowed me to access opportunities that I could have only dreamed of up until then, as I was able to join a Queensland Theatre Company in their online creations, sing with the National Gondwana choir and more specifically, attend online workshops with the cream of the industry which would have been otherwise out of my reach. I was able to work with astonishing professionals to extend my vocal and performance abilities and through opportunities like this and other events I was able to gain the confidence to take the next steps to public performance, by releasing my own music and performing in the Adelaide Cabaret Festival as part of the Class of Cabaret (only possible through achieving the Nathaniel O'Brien Class of Cabaret scholarship) and all of these experiences led me to be able to create my own Fringe show at the age of 16/17 and take it to Adelaide as part of the Fringe as well as bring the fringe to Port Lincoln for the first time. I also performed in our local SALT Festival last year and also created a new Fringe show for this year, bringing Fringe back to Port Lincoln and providing a platform for another local artist to also have the confidence to create a show (as well as a venue for 2 more visiting performers).  I know that as a result of me doing my FRINGE show at 17 years of age is that after seeing what I did a number of older artists are exploring participating in SALT also which is great as building local creative capacity is also important to me. I want to deepen my practice and build my skills as I have found that local performance, although supportive is also much tougher in a home crowd where you do not have anonymity and so this is important for my skill building and specifically my attempts to engage the audience and break down the 4th wall of performance. In 2022, I grew so much as a performer and vocal artist and want these opportunities again in 2023 before I make a decision about which direction my career will go.

So my main idea for ARTLANDS would be for arts practitioners to continue to be funded to use online technologies to share skills with regional people who may not have the funding or support to visit cities where it seems that workshop events mainly occur. Additionally, it would be for those wanting to provide workshops to link in with established festivals to extend the opportunities for what is available and to ensure that workshops are on weekends or on a Friday or Monday to make the trip to a city worthwhile as far as the time and energy required to take up the offers. Also providing training to those running workshops so that they are prepared and able to share their information in the most practical and accessible way. A lot online can be very hit-and-miss and involves way too much waffle. By connecting to key industry people, a lot of learning could occur without the expense of travelling to a city, and having to stay overnight (very difficult for practitioners with young children or who are caregivers to elderly parents etc) but which allows for a thriving online network where people can share their arts practice and feel supported. I sure would love more of that.

How do we affect government policy? Who are our lobbyists? How do we get a seat at the table when policy decisions are made? How do we break down the silo system so that the arts and culture are embedded across as many portfolios as possible. The arts receive our money from a two party governmental system that insists on selling and burning coal, no matter which major party you vote for - to fund the economy. The selling and burning of coal funds our arts activities. 

For example, if selected for this gathering, how do we make that journey from wherever we are as green as possible. Do we do a Greta Thundberg and travel by boat? At this precipice, do we/how do we use art for social change and particularly climate change? Is Extinction Rebellion a dirty word? They certainly make great art. Do they effect change though? They are seen as dangerous and laws are changed to punish protest and dissension. How do we as regional artists take up the challenge and focus on the art - to keep the systems change conversation alive without alienating people or making their eyes glaze over? How do we model the change that needs to happen? Do we keep taking funds from government that sells coal to fund our activities? What other options are available? Bit coin? 

As Patagonia says - Nature is our boardroom. Let's ditch the 'sustainability' argument and look at regenerative leadership - embodying the principles of permaculture and biomimicry in how we create localised, networked, green arts/learning hubs that take the leading dreaming up and rehearsing a positive future for ourselves and our children.
‍Collaboration and partnerships: Empathy arts university fuelled by green power: 

As regional artists we could be sponsored by the private sector (Atlassian? Mike Cannon-Brookes and Saul Griffith?) to fund localised regional hubs of green universities driven by First Nations artists, elders and knowledge holders and their allies that offer young people and their communities purpose and meaning, skills and training in the arts, trades, education to be the architects of tomorrow and the leaders of today. We listen and we learn. The hubs also train artists to lead the empathy and kindness challenge, to be community responders in times of disasters. In Lismore we have rehearsed this already. The community knew what to do waaaaay before the government and services did. I am now part of the Main Arm Disaster Recovery committee, preparing for the when, not the if of the next disaster. I use my skills as an artist, listener, observer, empath to support people in need. I have created projects combining art forms (circus, visual arts, craft, dance, music) to create creative recovery spaces for flood affected people to 'do nothing' in, to calm their parasympathetic nervous systems; to just hang, to chill, to create (rather than consume), to rest - as I heard Melissa Lucashenko say on Invasion Day - is rebellion.

Innovation and new thinking;

The funding system and level of bureacracy has to change - as does the insurance landscape. These create huge barriers to creativity. Let's make small but effective changes to how artists are awarded funding to reduce time spent on forms and more on the artwork. How about a one page EOI process for your idea with a total budget figure -  that then gets shortlisted to the next stage which would ask for the finer detail, support letters etc. It is absolutely demoralising to do so much work to just get a 'no'. Why not reduce the amount of work for a 'no' so we can get on with more important things. That is one good idea that is not too hard to make work. It has been done before.

And while we are at it -let's do away with the funding thing all together and advocate for an artist wage, a form of Universal Basic Income that has a residency attached to it in schools, gaols, hospitals. 

I believe I have said enough now. Happy to say more. Happy to listen too. Thank you for listening.

Since 2011, I have been working in the creative non-profit sector within the Gladstone region. Within this time, and through many a successful funding application process, I have recognised an expectation for artists to be able to market themselves, or at least gain the skills to do so. By watching my creative peers, I have seen some flourish doing this task, however, most have spoken of feeling burnt out, exhausted, or drained by completing paperwork, promoting their workshops or exhibitions through social media, dealing with printing companies, and all of the administrative needs that are required for success. The energy which is sapped by these organisational needs, as important as they are, reflects in the time and enthusiasm they can dedicate to the art projects themselves.

I recognise most funding applications do have the provisions to include some money towards marketing and perhaps even for someone to be contracted to do so, however, finding someone who understands artists, the arts industry, and funding body marketing requirements can be quite difficult in regional areas.

If we were able to establish a form of supplemental educational package, a series of workshops, or a specific training module for those interested in supporting artists and the arts sector, I believe we would see our artists have more creative potential, as they will have more time and ability to prioritise the creative pursuits themselves. As the arts sector is only expanding in potential and capacity, growing these support roles around us will only bolster everyone's success.

We need to acknowledge the affect of natural disasters in our regional arts communities and how that impacts artists , arts practice and culture.

We need to investigate issues in particular funding to ensure that the funds are used to assist those communities, not be sidelined by disaster capitalism.

We need to look at recovery realistically, ie that it is a 2-3 year process.

Throwing money in is great but when its adhoc, its usually those NOT impacted that have the ability to apply.

I remember many years ago in the early *)'s going to NOWSA a womens conference. Two women from India I think said we dont have time to debate issues as we are so busy just trying to survive. That stays with me as the outcomes of NOWSA is important, but these women were not taken seriously nor their voice. Now I find myself and other artists who have lost their homes and studios in the same boat. 

We are in too much trauma and caught upon clean up surviving to do grants applications, some that required much info, it just wasn't doable, Those MOST affected were the ones that got the least help

In order for arts practice to thrive in regional Australia, regional arts organisations need to have the resources and capacity to support artists and works across the whole life-cycle of development. Support needs to be not only the capacity to employ artists and artsworkers on a project basis, but creating long term opportunities, that in turn grow regional economies. However, current funding models do not support regional organisations to grow the capacity of local artists and communities, nor provide sufficient long-term opportunities to encourage the development of new or relocation of existing organisations. To address this, we require quotas at a state and federal funding level, that ensure a significant portion of multi-year arts funding is designated for regional arts organisations, and for it to be distributed in such a way that considers the availability of funding in each LGA.

With the experience I have recently gained through public art and producing, utilising both in a regional setting will instinctively invite members of our LGBTQIA+ community to seek opportunities currently popularised in metropolitan areas like jobs, residencies, workshopping and mentorships. Portraying messages and producing artworks that acknowledge members of our LGBTQIA+ community in environments that can be freely accessible will create an abundance of creativity and engagement in areas that have typically been foreshadowed because of their remoteness. 

Funding dedicated to the professional development of LGBTQIA+ artists will invite diverse insight, ideas and projects that constructively go against the grain and build creativity in areas that have been overlooked.

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Wishes for personal creative practice, communities and regional arts in Australia.

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PRIORITY 4: FAIR COMPENSATION FOR REGIONAL ARTISTS AND ARTS WORKERS

a. Comprehensive benefits package

  1. Promote awareness and access to existing and new superannuation options.
  2. Advocate for and implement long service leave policies and options.
  3. Advocate for wide-ranging insurance coverage.

The arts sector itself needs to advocate more strongly for the professional arts sector. There also needs to be greater education of both artists and potential employers on what constitutes reasonable pay and conditions for arts work - including the payment of Super.

There's much more I could say, but these are just a few ideas to throw onto to the table for discussion.

As an artist, advocate, and activist I founded LOBBYCO.org an organic living art piece that aims to explore and LOBBY for economic and political change to ensure new laws are created nationally to ensure #QualityOfLife4ALL.

Currently we all know "the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer" therefore we need new political will and new law infrastructure that will create the necessary frameworks for more egalitarian outcomes for all Australians.

The founding of LOBBYCO came from the need to raise awareness about all the people in Australia "living in the shadows" - the people mostly ignored by adequate government laws and protections.

As one of these people who has lived most her life as a member of a minority, within a minority, within a minority... sooner or later as an artist it was inevitable i would find myself here - needing to fight for better rights for myself and millions like me based on necessity and tired of the scarcity, or continually being overlooked, marginalised and penalised - all because most of your life you've been continually emotionally and financially ignored.

I believe the time has come for our most vulnerable, marginalised psychologically and financially oppressed people to be empathetically acknowledged and finally respected and given dignity via new legislated government policy.

8. Piloting Artist Residency / Living Wage Project - Government - particularly local government like to spend money on bricks and mortar.  I often work with Councils on the development of cultural facilities and whilst these are important I often here the lament of artists who would prefer to see a direct investment in the artists (who will supposedly benefit from the capital investment).  For example, imagine a small town, that is considering applying for funding to support the redevelopment of a cultural facility - perhaps to the tune of $6 - $7 million.  Imagine reinvesting that in a group of artists - who are paid a living wage to grow their practice but to also contribute to the community in productive and creative ways.  Following how their interactions potentially transform a place and comparing this to the anticipated impact of the investment in facilities would be a fascinating project!!

The idea I would like to propose relates to the change I would like to see for the cultural and creative industries.

I would like to propose the coming together of industry professionals to discuss structures for engagement with artists and community. How artists are engaged, what does it take for an artist to connect with an arts organisation, who decides on the artists that are represented? I would like to see these structures and processes discussed, interrogated, and the different assumptions and barriers in those processes identified. This would be followed by initial discussions about how these processes could be done differently to remove some of these barriers. This is work that I believe many organisations are undertaking in the work that they do and is often opportunity specific or specific to their location, however crossovers will occur and learnings can be shared that would benefit the industry more broadly

A possible scenario

Representatives from a number of different organisations (of different sizes and types) come forward with an example each of a project or process that engages artists. Each project or process is stepped through with a group of artists and other industry professionals to identify barriers within the process. There will be some blind spots as artists and industry professionals are likely to have existing knowledge about processes of engagement for arts opportunities, ideally the reference group would have artists from a diversity of backgrounds and at different levels in their careers. This interrogation results in a list of barriers that are then worked through in a larger group, or smaller working groups, to identify opportunities or solutions, resulting in a set of potential case studies. The original organisation representatives then take this revision and work to implement changes, documenting the outcomes and learnings.

Alternatively, organisations that have been working in this space for some time could be invited to come together and present case studies of their projects, changes that were implemented, specific learnings, and outcomes.

Some examples of barriers that may be identified:

- What does the opportunity require of the artist - do they get paid, do they have to pay a fee, do they need to travel, what other support is provided.

This type of review and interrogation could be extended beyond opportunities to engage artists to many areas of the arts and cultural industry and across industries, such as employment, as these barriers exist in almost all areas of daily life. But it would be good to start somewhere.

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PRIORITY 5: PROMOTING THE PROFILE AND PERCEPTIONS OF REGIONAL ARTS

a. National awareness program

  1. Explore a marketing campaign to raise the profile of regional arts.
  2. Highlight the unique stories and creative contributions from regional artists and arts organisations.
  3. Emphasise the value of regional arts in shaping the future of Australia: The future is regional. The future is creative.

In 2013 Lindy Hume of Opera Queensland 'sounded a tiny alarm' around the need to:

"urgently challenge the benign, feel-good language that's habitually used to describe cultural, intellectual and creative life in regional Australia, because it's a product of a national mindset that either can't see, or underestimates, our dynamism and our potential impact on the national cultural landscape. Until we change our language, mindset and practices, in the national cultural narrative, regional arts will continue to play the poor cousin to the 'excellent', 'elite', 'global' metropolitan arts sector."

I am interested in exploring how language around, and the perception of, regional arts - it's purpose and value - has evolved over the past decade, particularly given the changes that Covid has brought about which sees more people moving to the regions to live and work, with improved digital infrastructure enabling this. Is the primary purpose of arts and creativity in the regions still viewed as 'community building', 'disaster recovery', resilience building' and so forth, or are we now acknowledging the talent and the inspiration located within regional Australia as 'excellent' and 'global', and offering appropriate support to realise this potential? 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1GKl_tjyac

1. Rebranding Art - the term "art" continues to be problematic, largely because people don't necessarily understand the breadth and nature of art from a range of perspectives.  If you walked up to the average person in the street and asked them about art, the large majority of them would immediately visualise paintings / pictures on the walls of galleries or within their own homes.  Perhaps some would think about public art / sculpture also but ultimately very few would think of all the other stuff that the term "art" includes.  And very few would have any concept of the nature and value of art and how much it permeates their every day lives - through television, radio, podcasting, clothing design, architecture, live music, film, literature, magazines etc.

It's time we either re-think how we use the term or we do a public campaign that shifts people's thinking about what art involves.  You could run a campaign called "This is Art" and recruit agencies and organisations to use a logo (a bit like the heart foundation tick) that says "this is art"  for example, it could be a sticker on the back of books, a logo included in film credits, on badges worn by festival volunteers or used in festival programs. The possibilities are endless.  With this you would run a public campaign which included a range of digital media about the value and role of art in all its forms.  A research piece that records peoples recognition of art from beginning to the end of the key campaign would be essential - to see if it works.  It could be rolled out in one place as a pilot before going national or even international.

Alternatively, sticking a bunch of ad executives in a room and getting them to workshop an "art" rebrand would be interesting and possibly very useful!

I am a Changemaker.

I have a vision for a robust, innovative, viable and sustainable Creative Strategic Framework that:

* expands conventional notions of creative practice and where work takes place (ie - in unique landscapes, beyond gallery walls)

Pathways for artists requires more support, from understanding more about the industry and not just highlighting "famous artists"  there are so many roles in our industry that are vital.

Changing the "outcomes" required for arts... why can't it be as simple as attending / engaging / being creative (similar to sport - more people being active, is all the outcomes they require). How do we remove the pressure of being "good" at art?

I am not seeing a regional arts ecology that supports the development of outstanding regional arts practice by individual artists. Regional art practice deserves to be more than 'tourist attractions' and 'festivals'.

I believe passionately that this needs to change.

We are working to expand and elevate the arts and culture conversation in the Whitsundays region. Our region is underserved in terms of access to facilities and resources, and since arriving here in 2020 after 20 years in New York City, I have been making connections between  our regional area and metropolitan cities.

I have a vision to connect major state wide institutions from Brisbane to our regional area - for example, the Queensland Museum having a satellite venue in Airlie Beach with a reef focus.

Being able to increase the awareness of metropolitan arts decision makers of the importance of arts in our regions, including the way funding is distributed

4. The Flip 

In 2018 the Burnie Arts Council (of which I am now President), partnered with Ten Days on the Island (Tasmania’s International Arts Festival) to run a symposium and a series of community workshops called ‘The Place of Art in the Art of Place.’ The forums discussed the importance of arts and culture in regional areas, and how the history and traditions of these areas create and flavour the cultural landscape.

One of the key themes to emerge was that there is no diminishment in the quality of art being produced because we are in a regional area.  As a result of these discussions, we began using the term ‘The Flip.’ Essentially ‘The Flip’ refers to the confidence we need to have as arts practitioners to stand proud in our space and do what we do - make brilliant art. Through this approach we aim to rid artists of the notion that ‘these things don’t happen here’, or that we need to (artificially) jump and dance in order for the ‘important people’ from ‘over there’ to pay attention. By encouraging ‘The Flip’, we want to ensure that the excellence within our sector stands on its own merit, and the world will pay attention!  I see this as an important mind shift away from the cultural cringe still in evidence across many parts of Australia.

Idea 2) 'The Arts must lead, not need'.

In an age of septic media, where the consumer is driving content creation,  the arts sector has the capacity to function like an 'S bend' in plumbing. Arts is not a luxury, its a human necessity and the solution for social, cultural and economic challenges being faced by humanity, yet we, the Arts sector have traditionally been relegated to being a luxury. ‍

To change this we need: 

- a better understanding or ourselves as a sector. 

- stronger and clearer language around why Arts are not just important, but Vital.

My idea centres on valuing the arts in Australia. As an arts practitioner, curator, administrator, policy writer and project manager I have witnessed the issues associated with under valuing the arts in urban and regional Victoria and Australia in general. I believe we should be addressing this big picture idea that influences support for and engagement with the arts in Australia. I have worked extensively in a number of communities around Australia, and a common statement from people is "I'm not creative". When I ask them what they mean by this, the answer always relates back to their ability to paint or draw. This tells me there is a fundamental problem with how we understand and value the arts in Australia. If we don't understand what the arts is how can we value it. If we see ourselves as separate from it, not good at it, not worthy of it, perhaps we see it as distinct, elite or exclusive? This is a societal issue, and one I believe we overlook when trying to eek away at other issues that are perhaps caused by under valuing the arts in Australia more broadly. I believe advocacy for the arts in Australia to date has mostly utilised a band aid approach. I am interested in discussing the bigger picture. What the answers to creating societal change? How do we increase appreciation and understanding of the arts in Australia? How do we breakdown the perception of the arts as being separate, elitist and exclusive? I would love to take a deep dive into interrogating this idea with the results perhaps influencing national, state and local arts strategy.

Campaign for Culture in the regions. Arts happens here!

Supported partnerships / exchange / facilitated networking between regional organisations

National campaign around CULTURAL VALUE.. what we bring that is unique to our skills and cultural participation - new knowledge, insight, creativity and new thinking inspired, diverse perspectives, aesthetic enrichment, joys, challenge and memories made - Our sectors critical offer that is beyond dollars and tourism. This is so important in a regional setting where exposure and participation may not be embedded and regions identities are not always defined or built on culture.

I am an artist. I make and sell art and I teach art in classes, workshops, online courses and community art projects, but what I really love and I am totally passionate about is the creative process. The benefits of the process, not just making perfect, polished or pleasing art. After all, it is within the process that we (if we don’t have too many rules) learn creative and imaginative thinking (a skill needed by many others not just artists - big businesses, entrepreneurs, scientists, marketing and content creation specialists, engineers, system architects and more; it is within the process we experience joy and mindfulness and it is within the process we learn about truely expressing and accepting ourselves as we are.

I am on a mission to see the creative process valued more widely. Change the conventional belief that creativity is a skill ‘just for artists’ something that should be pushed aside for other ‘more important’ things, and instead seen as the foundation or core of what we need to become our best, happiness, most loved and most successful version of ourselves.

I am interested in idealising new ways that teach others the value of creative process through schools, community art projects, businesses, and more unusual places, as after all we all will have more work as artists/art teachers if the process of creatively is valued more.

I am also in the process of leading other artists how to teach creativity and art to communities of people that do not consider themselves to be artists. In a way that values self-expressive above perfection, shares a part of the participant and connects them into their community.

Our community is diverse and unique, with art an ideal media for expression of the vastness of these experiences.We have the opportunity to tell stories, explore nuance and intersectional ideas, and express our individual identities. From my own experience I recognise that I spent a long time not understanding that any expression of my identity through art was valid, and living in Naarm where art and culture is celebrated but at times exclusive and elitist, I didn't think there was space for my voice.

I suspect that if this has been my experience, other people across Australia have felt similarly. I feel that opportunities to share art as story telling of identity, history and connection to place would facilitate many unheard voices feeling they have a role and space in creative fields. Further to this, my experience has been that the only way to make change to structural, legislative barriers to inclusion of all voices is in sharing stories and lived experience. The Victoria and South Australian parliaments have both made radical changes to assisted reproduction legislation in recent years, based almost solely on the advocacy and passion of individuals like myself, retrospectively allowing access for donor conceived people to identify and make contact with our biological parents and siblings. Queensland and Western Australia are looking likely to follow suit. I passionately believe that finding ways to elevate personal experiences is the key to systems change and progress more broadly.

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11 Artlands 2023 Day 1 Photo by Tim Ngo
Artlands 2023. Photo by Tim Ngo.