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Developing and Revitalizing Rural Communities Through Arts and Creativity : Australia

posted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by Kim Dunphy
This paper explores the contribution of the arts and creativity to the development and revitalization of rural and remote communities in Australia. A search of the Australian literature indicates that arts and creative initiatives are significant for the development of rural and remote communities in the economic, environmental, social, and cultural domains. The “creative industry” model is particularly dominant in research investigating economic impacts of arts and creative initiatives, while a community cultural development approach is reflected in literature and activity that seeks or values social outcomes, including health and well being, social inclusion, and educational achievements. Also examined are arguments that ascribe value to the cultural dimension in its own right, in which the intrinsic value of arts and creativity for rural and remote communities is recognized. This view leads to the consideration that the economy should support arts and creativity rather than the other way around.
Factors that seem pivotal in building long-term sustainability for arts and creativity in rural communities include:
• Appreciation of local culture, history and heritage, local people, assets and characteristics;
• Enthusiastic local leadership, positive attitudes, local entrepreneurship and investment; and
• Right timing and a focus on retaining young people through employment, recreational, and educational initiatives.
The research examined for this paper points to numerous factors that might support initiatives in other communities. The most fundamental of these is the necessity of government commitment (at all levels) to the value of cultural dimension in planning and public policy. Other factors include the need for recognition of the value of local cultural product and practices, more support for arts in communities, especially through networks of regional arts development officers and assistance for volunteers (including training), and reduction of bureaucratic obstacles. Also suggested are better funding programs, including long-term investment and less onerous application processes, as well as data collection about arts activities and outcomes at a local level.



Creative City Network of Canada

Place of publication

Vancouver, Canada



Publication classification

A6.1 Research report/technical paper

Copyright notice

2009, The author, the Creative City Network of Canada, and the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

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