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Funding boost for regional arts
The Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund is to provide more than $1.17 million in funding in the latest Community Grants Rounds, supporting 70 arts projects, community capacity building projects and professional development for artists and arts workers across regional Australia.
While the diversity of projects is admirable and showcases the thriving sector, there are a number of trends that echo across the country.
In a statement the Regional Arts Fund (RAF) explained “there is an emphasis on arts projects that respond to the contemporary regional community needs, in particular a focus on mental health and youth.
“Regional Arts Australia welcomes these new and much-needed conversations around arts and health issues. A move towards multi-disciplinary artform projects further highlights the scope of the projects and emphasises the importance of collaboration across artforms and sectors.”
Regional Arts Australia Chair Kate Fielding advised that a number of supported projects will use arts to facilitate community conversations about mental health issues with Regional Arts Australia, commenting “importantly, the arts are continuing to be used as a vehicle to further explore mental health in our communities and to spark conversations around these critical issues. I look forward to seeing the outcomes of these vital projects.”
Of particular note is the project MENTAL: The Mother Load by Julie Waddington, taking place in Tasmania. This funding will enable a performing arts creative development, engaging artists who are mothers to explore and research the experience of mental load. Four core performing artists will collaborate and lead investigations around Australia through a series of creative practice workshops and online interaction.
My Black Dog, taking place in Bega, NSW, is a new research and performance project by fLiNG Physical Theatre that explores the mental health of young people in regional, rural and remote locations. The project will involve art and wellbeing workshops and community discussions and will culminate in a performance to be presented in schools and theatres throughout the Bega Valley.
This round also saw a marked increase in projects that directly benefit regional youth between the ages of 12 and 25. Over the 2012-16 period, 11% of RAF projects and funding went to youth projects. This round we see that increase to 14% of projects are aimed at youth.
This increase is even more pronounced recently, with three youth projects in round one of the Community Grants, and 10 youth projects in this current round. This includes four dance projects, and other projects across film, visual arts, music, theatre and cross-art forms.
In addition to the strong field of arts projects, regional arts organisations are actively demonstrating their ability to build sustainable partnerships and networks. Of particular note in this round of funding is the state-wide project to be delivered by Southern Forest Arts in WA: Connecting the Creative Grid.
This extensive project is the pilot project of an unprecedented collaboration between forty WA regional arts organisations, eight peak arts service organisations and an industry advocacy body to build capacity across the regional visual arts sector in WA. This funding will support 70 mentorships within the overall project.
The Regional Arts Fund supports sustainable cultural development in regional and remote communities in Australia with the recipients showcasing the breadth and calibre of projects across regional, remote and very remote Australia.
Image: A large-scale collaborative community project led by the Crack-Up Sisters in Grandchester, Queensland will be backed by the Regional Arts Fund.
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10th October 2017 - NEW ALLIANCE TO CHAMPION WELLBEING IN THE ARTS
13th February 2017 - ALLIANZ BACKS MENTAL HEALTH IN THE ARTS INITIATIVE
14th June 2016 - ARTLANDS DUBBO CONFERENCE TO EMPHASISE THE STRENGTH OF REGIONAL ARTS
7th May 2016 - AUSTRALIA’S CULTURAL ECONOMY IN A QUAGMIRE
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