Communiqué – Cultural Forum Meeting 9

The ninth National Local Government Cultural Forum was held 4 May 2017, in Melbourne. An initiative of the Cultural Development Network (CDN) with the Australia Council for the Arts, Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), its member state and territory associations and capital cities and the Commonwealth Ministry for the Arts. The objective of the Cultural Forum is to extend the understanding, quality, reach and profile of local government’s contribution to Australia’s cultural life.

National Local Government Cultural Forum Meeting

The ninth meeting of the Cultural Forum agreed to progress the following activities.

  1. Understanding. Following two years of testing, analysis and refinement, the May meeting of the Cultural Forum agreed on a core dataset of inputs and outputs for trialling with a larger representative group of Australian councils over the next 18 months. In April 2016, a set of measurable cultural outcomes was endorsed for trials and validation and the addition of inputs and outputs in 2017 completes the dataset. The next stage is to extend the use of the core data trial which will bring the Cultural Forum closer to being able to quantify the contribution local government makes to the cultural life of Australians.
  2. Quality. The process of validating the five measurable outcomes across the sector has moved into operational usage and on-site trials in 2017. This stage has come after presenting the schema to different areas of the arts and culture in Australia and internationally in 2016 to test their validity in different cultural activities and settings. These agreed measurable outcomes have been built into the cultural development planning framework that CDN has published and is assisting councils to apply. The measures are also being used by a state government and its funded organisations and trialled by other cultural institutions.
  3. Reach. Local government’s reach with its cultural development programs is understood to be extensive but to date it has been difficult to measure. The definition of the dataset of inputs, outputs and outcomes and their endorsement for trialling enables the local government associations, across the jurisdictions, to assist in the expanded trial of data collection from the capital cities to a representative sample of between 60 and 70 councils. At the time of this expanded trial an on-line system developed by the Cultural Forum will be activated for capturing and aggregating the data as part of a larger activity builder and recorder system.
  4. Profile. The Cultural Forum completed a communications plan that will provide guidance to its members in communications about the National Local Government Cultural Forum. It was understood that the achievements of the Cultural Forum in reaching agreement on the dataset and the breakthrough task of agreeing on outcomes is a story that needed to be told beyond the Cultural Forum members. The communications plan will assist in coordination of this in each jurisdiction.

The National Local Government Cultural Forum is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and managed by CDN in cooperation with ALGA.

Further information, contact the CDN: John Smithies or +61 3 99250974.