Strategy to plan for future of Bendigo’s arts and creative industry

FORWARD THINKING: A new arts and creative industries strategy is being developed by the City of Greater Bendigo. Community consultation has helped highlight key issues for the strategy.
FORWARD THINKING: A new arts and creative industries strategy is being developed by the City of Greater Bendigo. Community consultation has helped highlight key issues for the strategy.

A NEW arts and creative industry strategy will be presented to the City of Greater Bendigo council by the middle of year.

The strategy will follow on from council’s Arts and Culture Strategy that covered from 2008 to 2011.

Council’s manager of regional sustainable development Trevor Budge said consultation with the community and people from Bendigo’s arts and creative industry had highlighted key issues for the strategy.

Mr Budge said consultation came in the form of online surveys and a “Creative Conversations” session at Ulumbarra Theatre.

“We've got what we think is a reasonably good picture for what the key issues are that people have identified,” he said.

“The next stage is drafting a first-cut version of what the strategy might look like.

“We are looking at short term and what we need to do in the next couple of years but are trying to re-position the city for where we should be over the longer term of 10 or 15 years.”

Issues raised by people who took part in the consultation included extending the strategy beyond arts and culture to a more broader spectrum.

“The term creative industries includes occupations like graphic designers and architects,” Mr Budge said.

“People think traditionally of arts and culture as being largely the art gallery and live performance.”

Other issues included a want to better connect people between different industry communities and building reputations for other parts of Bendigo’s creative community.

“There was a real urgency to better connect with people,” Mr Budge said.

“It was fantastic what happened with art gallery and Ulumbarra over last few years but how do we nurture the talent and enthusiasm in people in spaces away from those type of places? What can we build a reputation around?

“Another strong theme was people identifying that this is a changing part of the economy and it’s contribution is often overlooked.”

Mr Budge said a number of ideas and suggestions from the consultation period was were very innovative.

“People are coming up with innovative ideas about how we can do (nurture talent),” he said.

“Whether it’s small grants to assist people or creating hubs where people gather together.

“People were also suggesting pop-up shops for people that could help them go from a hobby to a profession.”

Mr Budge said there would be two more Creative Conversation sessions held for the people who wanted to contribute to the strategy.

“We haven’t got dates set for those sessions and very much welcome any comments or opinions,” he said.