|Paper on Skin (wearable art)from https://burnieartscouncil.com/|
To take our minds off the calamity for a moment. Here is some interesting information via our committee member Dawn Oelrich about the QUT – ARC national study Burnie Regional Art Gallery is taking part in. Dawn of course is the Director of BRAG. The preliminary work was done in 2019 and BRAG only just got started this year and then of course everything halted. BRAG have had interviews and some zoom meetings but apart from being interviewed myself, Dawn is also liaising and organising with the researchers to contact and connect with arts programs and activities up here. Paper on Skin (wearable art) and Burnie Shines are two projects that are in doubt at this stage so she is communicating with the researchers about how they go from here.
The Role of the Creative Arts in Regional Australia: A social impact model
This project, headed up by Creative Industries, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Brisbane, will address the challenge to effectively target regional arts funding to programs and activities that build capacity and have lasting impact for end-users. It will deliver a framework for evaluating the arts, to argue for the arts to be included in a broader understanding of community and national wellbeing and success. This framework will position Australia as an international leader in articulating and responding to the social impact of the arts. The research field sites have been chosen in consultation with our partners as communities whose capacity and challenges are reflected throughout much of regional Australia. Included in the partnership are Burnie City Council (Art Gallery as liaison), the combined Red Ridge Councils of Central Queensland, the Australia Council, the Regional Arts Institute, Regional Arts Australia and the Central Western Qld Remote Area Planning & Development Board.
The term regional arts is a catch-all for vastly different activities and areas, from large prosperous regional centres to isolated remote townships. The current ‘one size fits all’ approach to regional arts funding, by Federal/State/Local governments and philanthropic bodies, leaves communities on the margins of decision making and often dealing with unwanted and expensive fly-in-fly-out arts programs. While social impact is an increasing field of research and investigation, its application to the creative arts has not been significantly understood or examined from an end user perspective. This research will collaborate with two geographically opposed regional communities, northwest Tasmania and central Queensland, both of whom face considerable challenges while also having an activated creative landscape, to develop a social impact toolkit. This holistic toolkit will consist of an engagement and evaluation framework to uncover, articulate and measure the social impact of the creative arts in their communities in order to secure funding and investment for community-led and sustainable arts programs.
The processes and outcomes present a radical new approach to collaborating with communities to create avenues of communication about the centrality of arts and cultural activities to the success and wellbeing of regional communities. The specific benefits include evidence based research to maximise existing investment in regional arts programs, to develop responsive long-term policy for sector stability, and to advocate for a recalibrating the “urban-centric” approaches to regional arts services. Collaborative research from the respective centres presents a rare opportunity to address the long standing problem facing regional and remote communities in Australia of how to strategically communicate and effectively evaluate the social impact of the creative arts in their communities. The consequence of this ongoing issue is the lack of policy for regional arts funding that responds to community capacity and need, which is potentially failing regional communities.