Arts and Cultural Development Strategy 2018-2022 | City of Casey
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Adopted 19 June 2018

Arts and Cultural Development Strategy 2018-2022

Version 1

Introduction

The City of Casey is proud to present its Arts and Cultural Development Strategy 2018 – 2022. Grounded in research, the strategy provides direction to all Arts and Cultural Development activities undertaken over the next four years. Through rigorous consultation and research, the strategy ensures that’s Council’s arts and cultural offerings are in line with community need and industry best practise. In preparing the strategy, evidence has been gathered from extensive community consultation, focus groups, the Arts and Cultural Development Strategy Engagement Report (April 2018), and Culture Counts online surveys (March 2018) the VicHealth LEAP Evaluation Report (2013), the Bunjil Place Visitor Research Study (2017), professional practice knowledge, and external research, case studies and academic papers.

The goals of the strategy are:

  1. Be a nation-leading arts and cultural city
  2. Be the most inclusive arts and cultural experience in Australia
  3. Be a hub for opportunities and community connectedness

Alignment to Council’s vision

This strategy aligns with strategic objectives of the City of Casey Council Plan 2017-21, representing the values of the residents and rate-payers of the City of Casey, and sitting within cultural, social, economic, environmental and governance policy domains. The plan will assist Council to achieve its overarching objective of “Creating Australia’s most liveable city”.

The strategic objectives are:

  • A leader in applying technology and innovation.
  • An inclusive, safe, and connected community.
  • A Council whose services and facilities are driven by community needs.
  • The destination for arts, culture, sport and leisure that attracts visitors and brings communities together.
  • A thriving economy with local jobs, investment and new industries.

Principles

The Arts and Cultural Development Strategy incorporates six planning principles that are focused on goals and outcomes and based on evidence to inform the selection of future activities. These are:

  • Based on values
  • Directed towards goals
  • Focused on outcomes
  • Informed by evidence
  • Underpinned by a theory of change
  • Respondent to evaluation

Outcomes

In addition to Council’s strategic indicators for measuring success in quantitative terms, Arts and Cultural Development will use measurable cultural outcomes developed by the Cultural Development Network, adopted by the National Local Government Cultural Forum, a partnership of capital city councils, Australia Council for the Arts, and the Australian Local Government Association. These outcomes include:

Stimulation

Creativity stimulated:

Sparking of the imagination, creativity or curiosity, resulting in increased desire to participate more and/or create new cultural works.

Enrichment

Aesthetic enrichment experienced:

Experiences (familiar or unfamiliar) that come through the senses and are special and outside the everyday; feelings of being moved that are evoked by experiences such as beauty, joy, awe (including discomfort) or wonder.

Insight

New knowledge and insight gained:

Intellectual stimulation, deeper understanding, critical reflection and creative thinking generated

Appreciation

Cultural diversity appreciated:

Appreciation of different forms of cultural expression: the diverse ways that people express themselves depending on their life experience and interests, and how the interactions between those expressions are valued.

Belonging

Sense of belonging to shared heritage experienced:

Illumination of the present through a sense of continuity with the past, and a pathway to the future, through connections to present and past. History, heritage, cultural identity appreciated

The measurable outcomes will be evaluated and reported on periodically during the life of the plan using a range of methodologies to evaluate whether the intended outcomes were achieved and providing an understanding of the impact of arts and culture programs during the four-year life of the strategy. This evaluation will start with small trials to build the skills of the staff and over the period will become a regular planning and evaluation method.

Evaluation

Evaluation using measurable outcomes will give us solid evidence to assess, refine and develop our future activities. Measuring outcomes will take place over the life of the Arts and Cultural Development Strategy after initiatives and activities have taken place. We will employ a range of evaluation tools; targeted surveys, exit polls, focus groups and interviews, expert opinion from professional staff, wider community feedback.

Reporting to Council will take place as part of the Annual Action Plan reporting.

Goal 1: Be a nation leading arts and cultural city

Goal purpose

We want to increase the levels of stimulation, enrichment, and insight provided across all arts and cultural activities.

What we know

We know that the City of Casey has the largest population in Victoria and is rapidly growing by 7800 residents per year. We know that the data set resulting from the Culture Counts survey suggests a varied approach to arts and cultural programming with some residents eager for new and provocative arts and culture experiences. We know that our community has identified time as a major barrier to engagement, but it has also said that it wants Council to be a more competitive offering for their time.

Goal commitments

  1. We will enhance arts and cultural activities across all arts, community and heritage facilities to respond to these factors, providing diverse programs across Casey’s multiple venues, and opening windows into other cultures and artistic practices.
  2. We will deliver a balanced program of arts and cultural activities with 20% of the program dedicated to new and innovative experiences.
  3. We will focus our programming towards alleviating time pressure, for example, making the duration of events shorter, and repeating at different times of the week.
  4. We will ensure a targeted approach to arts and cultural activities being integrated into infrastructural projects and the delivery of community services.

Measurable outcomes

There are three measurable cultural outcomes that will address this goal:

  1. Creativity stimulated
  2. Aesthetic enrichment experienced
  3. New knowledge, ideas and understanding gained

The expansion of Arts and Cultural Development programs, increased collaboration and partnerships with other organisations will specifically target these 3 outcomes.

Alignment to Council Plan

This goal aligns with:

  • Council Strategic Objective 1: A leader in applying technology and innovation.
  • Council Strategic Objective 4: The destination for arts, culture, sport and leisure that attracts visitors and brings communities together

Building our existing program

To deliver on our first goal, to be a nation-leading arts and cultural city, we will target specific events to monitor and evaluate, previous examples include:

  • The Winter Arts Festival, which provides promotional and operational support to over 45 local arts and culture groups annually to present more than 100 additional community driven arts and culture activities in Casey.
  • The Arts Space Program, that comprises of 4 community gallery spaces and exhibits the work of over 100 local artists annually.
  • The Public Art Program, which delivered 9 public art commissions across Casey in 2017/18 into town squares, family and community centres, neighbourhood houses and sporting facilities.
  • Arts and Culture activities at Bunjil Place, with over 600 activities scheduled for the community during 2018 including regional theatrical and gallery exhibition events.

Research and evidence base

The City of Casey, Victoria’s largest city, has long been a supporter of arts and culture evidenced by the creation of Australia's first dedicated community performing arts rehearsal centre in ‘The Factory’, adoption of a percent for art policy that has commissioned millions of dollars in public art, a local gallery program that provides artists over 30 opportunities for exhibition annually, arts development funding for community arts groups, locals arts infrastructure upgrades to enable greater artistic activity, a community driven Winter Arts Festival and now a regional gallery, outdoor event space and theatres to support community and attract world class content into Casey.

The Arts and Cultural Development Strategy Engagement Report (April 2018) collated information about community perceptions of arts and culture; the data revealed that 66.7% of community workshop attendees felt that Casey’s current arts and cultural activities did not make them feel motivated to do more creative things in the future; and 17% of residents surveyed wanted more provocative arts and cultural activities.

The VicHealth LEAP Evaluation Report (2013) reveals that 55% of Casey residents noted time as the number one factor to involvement in arts and cultural activities; 41.2% of Casey residents responded that they want to be involved in arts and cultural activities in the future. 94% of participants reported being exposed to new ideas.

In a speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, April 2016, the Chair of the Australia Council for the Arts, Rupert Myer AO, talked about Innovation and The Arts and the nexus between arts and other policy domains, with particular reference to the federal government’s innovation agenda:

“Innovation arises from critical thinking. It advances and facilitates change. It is transformative, transcends disciplinary boundaries, changes established patterns and can stimulate human behaviour and response in unanticipated and unpredictable ways.

Innovation is not the domain of any one discipline but is driven from the successful interaction of many disciplines and diverse ways of thinking. If we are to really capitalise as a nation on the “ideas boom”, we need to deepen and widen our concept of innovation to seek convergence between scientific, technological, artistic and societal imperatives in pursuit of an innovation ecology that will continue to shape both our future prosperity and our identity in a challenging and dynamic world.

Whatever our endeavours, be they technological, engineering, maths or the sciences, placing arts at the centre of our innovative hubs, will garner greater innovation and lead to wealth beyond simple monetary wealth but cultural, societal and spiritual. If you want to lead the world in innovation, hire an artist and let them inspire your TEAMS….”[1]

Connecting Australians, a national arts participation report, shows people believe that the arts give life meaning and Australians are proud of their artists.

Victorians agree that: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts are an important part of culture (82%); the arts make for a richer and more meaningful life (78%); the arts are an important part of the education of every Australian (78%). Victorians believe the arts have a ‘big’ or ‘very big’ impact on: their ability to express themselves (71%), their wellbeing and happiness (61%,), dealing with stress, anxiety or depression (61%). shaping and expressing Australian identify (59%).[2]

Creative Victoria has prioritised the engagement in cultural and creative endeavours by providing $32.15M over 4 years in partnership with suburban and regional councils to establish spaces for creative enterprises and collaboration, and stronger cultural engagement with communities[3].

Victoria has an edge in awareness of cultural engagement and participation providing Casey with strong evidence to validate its goal, to be a leader in innovation, and to work towards being a nation-leading arts and cultural city.

 

[1] Citation for speech to follow.

[2] http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/workspace/uploads/files/naps__victoria-highlights_14-j-596938ae915d8.pdf

[3] Creative State, Actions 7,21, and 37, Creative Victoria 2017.

Goal 2:  Be the most inclusive arts and cultural experience in Australia

Goal purpose

We want to increase levels of appreciation, belonging, good physical and mental health stimulated and equality of opportunity for all people in the community perceived across all arts and cultural activities.

What we know

We know that one in twenty residents have a disability, and one in four residents have suffered from a mental illness during their lifetime. The evidence above shows a direct connection between arts, health and well-being. We know that 40.5% of Casey’s population were born overseas and that the evidence shows a strong agreement that arts reflect cultural diversity. We know that Casey has the largest indigenous population in Southern Metro Melbourne and the evidence shows an appetite for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts.

Goal commitments

  1. We will use arts and cultural activities to enhance community health and wellbeing.
  2. We will increase accessible arts and cultural activity opportunities.
  3. We will use arts and cultural activities to reflect cultural diversity.
  4. We will work make our programs and activities more effective in the longer term through activities that address the Municipal Public Health and Well-Being Plan.
  5. We will work with the Gathering Place and Indigenous Land Councils to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander presence and engagement in our activities and programs.

Measurable outcomes

There are two measurable cultural outcomes that will address this goal:

  1. Cultural diversity appreciated
  2. Connection to shared heritage experienced

There are also two social outcomes that will address this goal:

  1. Good physical and mental health stimulated
  2. Equality of opportunity for all people in the community perceived

Alignment to Council Plan

This goal aligns with:

  • Council Plan Strategic Objective 2: An inclusive, safe and connected community
  • Council Strategic Objective 4: The destination for arts, culture, sport and leisure that attracts visitors and brings communities together
  • The City of Casey Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2017 – 2021

Building our program

To deliver on our second goal, to be the most inclusive arts and culture experience in Australia we will target specific events and programs that contribute to diversity, reflected heritage, belonging, health and well-being and equality, previous examples include:

  • The Experience Casey Multicultural Festival, which involved 31 different cultural groups with an attendance of over 3,000 in 2018
  • The Short Black Opera program that worked with 20 local indigenous students over 8 rehearsals and performed twice at Bunjil Place to a total audience of 713.
  • The Arts Seekers program that provided weekly art creation activities for 15 patients with a mental illness over 6 months.
  • The City of Casey Choir Project that provided the opportunity for 500 residents to engage in months of rehearsal and 4 large scale performances at prominent Victorian venues such as the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and Hamer Hall over four years.
  • The Arts for Life artist workshops that received a 100% satisfaction rating from the 160 attendees with an accessible arts interest.
  • Support over all Arts and Cultural Development programs that continues to ensure financial hardship is not a barrier to accessing arts and cultural activities in Casey

Research and evidence base

The City of Casey Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2017 – 2021 (MPHWP) provides direction on health and wellbeing focus areas in the municipality.

Casey is culturally diverse, with overseas-born residents from more than 150 countries and 120 faiths represented. 40.5% of Casey residents were born overseas, 38% speak languages other than English. Casey is home to the largest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents in Melbourne.

The VicHealth LEAP Evaluation Report (2013) shows that 76% of participants noted an increased feeling of belonging through engaging in a new arts and cultural activity. 67% of the respondents indicated the arts are very important to improving mental health and well-being.

51.1% of adults do not engage in recommended amounts of physical activity, 1 in 4 adults have had a mental health condition. 5 % of residents have a disability. Housing affordability is a significant problem, financial problems can place mental and emotional stress on families.

Dr Christina Davis, in her paper The Art of Being Mentally Healthy[1] , invited a sample of 702 Australian adults into the study. The survey was about mental well-being and arts engagement over 12 months. After adjustments the results showed that people with 100+ annual hours of arts engagement had significantly better mental wellbeing than those with none or lower levels.

Be Creative, Be Well in the UK supported 100 small participatory arts projects in disadvantaged areas in London.[2] An evaluation found that 55% of participants reported an increase in healthy eating, 76% increase in physical activity & 85% reported that they were feeling more positive.[3]

Victorians agree that the arts reflect cultural diversity (77%); and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts are well represented (51%). Many Victorians engage with their cultural background through the arts (37%).

1 in 3 Victorians attend Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts. 18% of Victorians attended Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visual arts and craft 17% attended Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music and 15% attended Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance. 14% of Victorians were involved in community arts and cultural development activities that actively engaged community members in decision making art creation in collaboration with professional artists. [4]

 

[1] http://artsengage.initiatives.qld.gov.au/aq-blog/research/5777-is-mental-wellbeing-linked-to-arts-engagement.

[2] Be Creative Be Well. Arts, wellbeing and local communities. An evaluation. London: Arts Council England. Retrieved from www.artscouncil.org.uk/media/uploads/pdf/BCBW_final.pdf

[3] Perspectives in Public Health, 133, 52-59 Ings, R., Crane, N, & Cameron, M. (2012).

[4]Connecting Australians. Australia Council 2016 http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/workspace/uploads/files/naps__victoria-highlights_14-j-596938ae915d8.pdf

Goal 3:  Be a hub for opportunities and community connection

Goal purpose

We want to increase the levels of stimulation, enrichment, and belonging, direct employment provided, and indirect employment stimulated, provided across all arts and cultural activities.

What we know

We know that over a third of our surveyed community are travelling outside of Casey to engage in arts and cultural activities. Evidence shows there is a desire for more extensive promotion of existing Casey arts and culture activities, and we know that targeted funding and activities provide community-led outcomes, as demonstrated by the 2017/18 Community Grants program that supported seven new arts and culture activities delivered by the community into the municipality.

Goal commitments

  1. We will generate activities that encourage residents to prioritise Casey as their destination of choice for arts and cultural activities.
  2. We will enable arts and culture direct and indirect employment outcomes through Artist Residency Programs, Casey Cardinia Business Hub access, and subsidised hire rates for qualifying local arts businesses at the Factory, Bunjil Place Theatre, Bunjil Place Studio and Casey Community Centres.
  3. We will provide arts and cultural infrastructure into Council owned Community Centres, Neighbourhood Houses and Family & Community Centres to enable greater artistic activity;
  4. We will increase the reach and engagement of Council’s arts and cultural promotional material.

Measurable outcomes

There are three measurable cultural outcomes that will address this goal:

  1. Creativity stimulated
  2. Aesthetic enrichment experienced
  3. Connection to shared heritage

There are also two measurable economic outcomes that will address this goal:

  1. Direct employment provided
  2. Indirect employment stimulated

Alignment to Council Plan

This goal aligns with:

  • Council Plan Strategic Objective 2: An inclusive, safe and connected community
  • Council Strategic Objective 4: The destination for arts, culture, sport and leisure that attracts visitors and brings communities together
  • Council Strategic Objective 6: A thriving economy with local jobs, investment and new industries.

Building our existing program

To deliver on our third goal, to be a hub for opportunities and community connection, We are committed to engaging the community in all its activities. We will tailor artistic programs including workshops and participatory activities to all ages and community groups, build leadership skills and enhance artistic practice, by consulting with the community to make arts and cultural development more relevant and including community in the responsibility for project outcomes[1]. Previous examples include:

  • Arts and recreation employment in the City of Casey accounts for 1.8% of the local GDP which is in line with the State average and 0.2% higher than the National average.
  • Bunjil Place has created over 100 indirect local jobs through its functions service and café.
  • Triennial Arts Development funding that will improve, develop and expand existing programs to offer new or innovative arts and culture opportunities to Casey residents.
  • Community grants awarded to community arts and culture groups to encourage the delivery of innovative quality programs and events annually. 7 community arts and culture groups were awarded up to $3,000 each in 2017 to provide new arts and culture activities in Casey.
  • Promotional support to the Casey community through monthly Arts e-bulletins updates containing local arts and culture information and opportunities and 4 Arts News publications annually profiling local artists and community arts and culture events.

[1] http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/workspace/uploads/files/engagedcommunities-5859f19d5c109.pdf

Research and evidence base

Casey Next Council engaged with 3636 residents and collaborated deliberate engagement prior to delivery of its current Council plan. Together with the VicHealth LEAP Evaluation Report (2013) Council identified several challenges to the delivery of arts and cultural opportunities:

  • 34% had not participated in any arts and cultural events in Casey, 34.7% had travelled to the City of Melbourne for arts and cultural activities.
  • 44.2% wanted capacity building in arts and cultural activities. 23% regularly attended galleries, performance and arts events. 15.9% felt that arts and cultural events needed better marketing.
  • 79.4% wanted greater arts development programs and the provision of new arts activities.

“Communities that embrace diversity, creative expression and cultural activity are richer, stronger and more able to deal with social challenges. Engagement with the arts can address social inequality and disadvantage, and create community vitality and shared identity. The arts can contribute to other areas of society including education, health, the justice system, community building and reconciliation. A community where people participate in cultural activity has greater potential for connection, caring and social development. Making art in community contexts is a social activity: it involves sharing, collaborating and building relationships with others. There is mounting evidence that participating in the arts develops creative thinking that is transferable across all knowledge areas. It teaches us to link diverse ideas and experiences. Creative thinking and the flexibility of mind and action are increasingly recognised as desirable attributes in the 21st century”[1]

Communities need better tools to help them find and collaborate with artists, while artists need not just an invitation but a charge to engage with their communities”[2]

Creative placemaking is about shaping the character of a region around arts and cultural activity. Dr Ann Markusen has written extensively on this subject. She has summarised two decades of the practice in the US in her white paper[3] Creative Placemaking, and points to several ways in which it contributes to economic development in communities:

  • Recirculates residents’ incomes locally at a higher rate
  • Re-uses vacant and underutilized land, buildings, and infrastructure
  • Creates jobs in construction, local businesses, and cultural activity
  • Expands entrepreneurial ranks of artists and designers
  • Trains the next generation of cultural workers
  • Attracts and retains non-arts-related businesses and skills.

[1]https://creative.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/57065/Community_Partnerships_Workguide_lores_2014edit.pdf Making Art with Communities Vic Health 2013.

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/2015/feb/12/creative-ways-artists-improve-communities

[3] Creative Placemaking Ann Markusen, Markusen Economic Research Services and Anne Gadwa, Metris Arts Consulting 2010. https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/CreativePlacemaking-Paper.pdf

Disclaimer

Council policy documents change from time to time and it is recommended that you consult the electronic reference copy at www.casey.vic.gov.au/policiesstrategies to ensure that you have the current version. Alternatively you may contact Customer Service on 9705 5200.

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