Webinar: Renewal in the regions: re-imagining, re-thinking, re-generating regional places

RAA_White_Box_300x158-188x95Regional Arts Australia, Australia-wide, May 2016

Host: Ben Eltham

Presenters: Dr. Kim Dunphy, Justin O’Connor, Marcus Westbury

Culture is being promoted as a driver, a method and an endpoint of regional development. It is at the core of many current models for regeneration, designed to ignite a myriad of outcomes. But how realistic is this? Is it naive to talk of culture-led recovery in communities suffering high-level unemployment and infrastructure issues? What are some of the innovative models being used for culture-led regeneration across regional Australia? What are the opportunities for transformation in regional Australia? What are the obstacles? How can renewal be long-term, sustainable? How can it be measured? What might we have to change in our understanding of both culture and economy, to really move forwards?

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Host: Ben Eltham is an Australian writer, journalist, researcher, creative producer and social commentator. He is New Matilda’s National Affairs Correspondent and a Fellow of the Centre for Policy Development.


Dr Kim Dunphy is the Research Program Manager of the Cultural Development Network, Victoria, Australia, where she contributes to knowledge about cultural development, particularly in the local government sector. CDN advocates for the essential function of arts and cultural expression in the development of creative, healthy, engaged and sustainable communities.  The main question Kim seeks to answer in her research is what difference the work makes and how we would know. Topics include planning and evaluation in the arts, cultural indicators, community revitalization, expressive arts and creative arts therapy.

Marcus Westbury is a broadcaster, writer, media maker and festival director who has been responsible for some of Australia’s more innovative, unconventional and successful cultural projects and events. He has also worked across a range of media as a writer, producer, director and presenter covering fields as diverse as culture, art, media, urban planning, sport and politics. In 2008 Marcus founded Renew Newcastle – a low budget, not for profit, DIY urban renewal scheme that has attracted interest from around the world. Marcus is also founder of Renew Australia – a national scheme to make temporarily empty spaces incubators for arts, community and creative projects. This year he was appointed CEO of the Contemporary Arts Precinct, a new cross-disciplinary cultural precinct, in Collingwood. His book ‘Creating Cities’ came out last year.

Justin O’Connor is a cultural activist and an acknowledged global expert on cultural economies. Currently he is Professor of Communications and Cultural Economy at Monash University and visiting chair at Shanghai Jiaotong University. Until 2012 he was Professor in the Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology.  He has taught performance and cultural industries at the University of Leeds, and between 1995 and 2006 was Director of Manchester Institute for Popular Culture at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has written widely on changing cultures and his recently published Platform Paper ‘After the Creative Industries’ is detailed here:

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