Cultural planning practices in local government in Victoria

Research report presented at ACELG Local Government Researchers’ Forum, Adelaide, June 2013

Abstract: Cultural development is a relatively new area of focus in local government, with LGAs increasingly employing staff within dedicated areas of council over the last twenty years. Because there is as yet no specialist training nor agreed professional standards for cultural development, practices tend to vary significantly between councils. The paper presents results of a state-wide survey about cultural planning practices in local government across Victoria, reporting on breadth of cultural planning, amount of investment, policy influences in their development and planning processes. Findings indicate that all Victorian councils provide some kind of cultural development activity, with all but the smallest shires making considerable investment in staff, venues, programming and support for local initiatives. Cultural plans are increasingly being implemented, with more than 75% of councils having a published plan or one in progress. Scope for practice improvement was also evident, with few plans indicating any use of data, evidence or measurement strategies. In offering this picture of the current state of professional activity of cultural development in local government in Victoria, this research offers the potential for stronger practice, improved collaboration and increasingly shared standards between councils.

Keywords: local government, cultural development, cultural planning, Victoria, outcome evaluation.

Download the report: Dunphy, K. Metzke, L, & Tavelli, L (2013) Cultural planning in local government, ACELG Forum, Proceedings of the 3rd National Local Government Researchers’ Forum, Sydney: UTS.

Data from all Victorian councils about Cultural planning practices in local government 2013