Associate Professor Geoff Woolcock is a Research Fellow at Griffith University’s Urban Research Program and is particularly interested in both indicators of social sustainability and the factors that contribute to building child- and youth-friendly communities. His work with large-scale public and private sector organisations concentrates on developing measures of communities’ strengths, closely collaborating with local communities. He is the current chair of the Australian Community Indicators Network (ACIN) and Community Indicators Queensland (CIQ), is on the executive steering committee for the Australian National Development Index (ANDI) and is a board director of both Partners for Livable Communities (PLC) and the Brisbane Housing Company.
Culture, wellbeing and the global movement to redefine progress
In the past decade a global movement has developed to ‘redefine progress’ beyond GDP. It is a movement driven as much from community as from national and international levels, and its common features include: developing new visions of equitable and sustainable progress measured by new progress indicators and indexes; directly engaging citizens in the process and seeking to integrate the different dimension of ‘true progress’ (economic, social, cultural, environmental and democratic; spiritual/ethical and material; objective and subjective wellbeing). Progress and wellbeing in arts and culture have been an important component in most of these ‘new progress models, stimulating new thinking about the role of arts and culture in progress and wellbeing, and the key goals and progress measures that should underpin it.
Community indicator and planning projects are a powerful way to build stronger local and regional communities and engage citizens in the process. Defining key community goals and progress measures in arts and culture based on citizen engagement is an important component of community plans and indicator frameworks. More broadly, arts and culture workers and planners need to be aware of the broader movement global, national and state movement to redefine progress in order to maximise opportunities to enlarge the place and contribution of arts and culture in new models and measures of progress.