Over August 2005, the Cultural Development Network ran a series of small roundtable discussions to address issues affecting artists and communities involved in arts-led community development in Victoria. These sessions were facilitated by Mandy Press, unitl recently Manager of Community Planning at Port Phillip Council. Topics of focus included community cultural development, councils and cultural vitality, community engagement in the arts.
These sessions brought together arts and cultural programs officers and managers in Victorian local government, community artists and workers in community agencies that have arts and culture as part of their brief. These discussions were prompted in part by changes to Australia Council support for community cultural development and under a new Community Partnerships and Market Development Division. A scoping study will soon be commissioned by the Australia Council to inform its future plans and is expected to be concluded by the end of this year. We want to ensure that the views of all stakeholders are heard. Also, there is increasing focus at state and local government level on strengthening communities and in actively engaging communities in community planning. Properly integrated arts and cultural development approaches have potential to deliver results for communities.
These sessions will continue to inform our policy advocacy work and discussions from them fed into the symposium chaired by Deborah Mills that we hosted on October 25 at the national ‘Just Communities Conference’.