The Cultural Development Network cooperates with a range of partners in all its activities, bringing benefits for both parties. Current partnerships include:

Creative Victoria is the state government body responsible for the arts, supporting a diverse mix of arts and cultural activity across the state. CDN and Victorian Government through Creative Victoria worked together to support Castanet network. CDN took a major role in Creative Victoria’s arts and disability research project, in 2010, and Creative Victoria contributes to support for CDN’s annual operations in Victoria and has previously supported many of CDN’s initiatives including conferences Expanding Cultures and Generations. In 2016 Creative Victoria adopted CDN’s schema of outcomes for their Organisation Investment Program reporting.

The Australia Council for the Arts is the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body, supporting Australia’s arts through funding, strengthening and developing the arts sector. CDN and the Australia Council collaborate on a range of projects. Previous joint initiatives have included the Arts Central project, the National Local Government Cultural Forum and Generations.

Australia Local Government Association

The Australian Local Government Association is a federation of state and territory local government associations, representing 560 councils across the country. ALGA offers leadership on policy for cultural development in local government across Australia. ALGA collaborates with CDN to co-ordinate the National Local Government Cultural Forum. In 2011, the two organisations co-presented the international conference Culture: A New Way of Thinking for Local Government, Melbourne.

United Cities and Local Government
CDN shares the Commission for Culture’s goal of the recognition of culture as a fundamental aspect of public policy, along with other policy areas relating to society, economy and environment. The organisations collaborate to promote cultural development in local government in Australia, and the Asia-Pacific. Specific activities include the 2011 Conference led by CDN organized with UCLG-Asia Pacific region, Culture: A New Way of Thinking for Local Government, Melbourne

RMIT University

RMIT University Melbourne, currently houses CDN, where the two organisations collaborate on research about local cultural development. CDN has worked with researchers within the Centre for Social and Global Research, evaluating the social and cultural outcomes of a creative cultural project lead by Wurinbeena Ltd and Indigenous Elders in East Gippsland. Other major projects have included Art Central project, a shire-wide arts mentorship program that brought together professional artists from the region into a residency with the local arts community.  CDN has also partnered with the Global Cities Research Institute at RMIT University on joint projects including Generations, an arts and civic engagement project, where CDN undertook project management and GCRI led research and evaluation, which were reported in this document. Both organisations contributed to the project’s culmination, the national Generations Conference.

The Creative Arts Therapies Research Unit (CATRU), Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne

The Creative Arts Therapies Research Unit (CATRU) aims to support the further development of creative arts therapy disciplines in Melbourne and wider Australia through research and research training.  The Research Unit collaborates with CDN on research in the areas of cultural evaluation and government policy and planning for the arts. This is delivered through ongoing joint research with one of the Units Researchers, Dr. Kim Dunphy.

Former partnerships:

National Local Government Cultural Forum

The National Local Government Cultural Forum was a twice yearly meeting for local government and other stakeholders to articulate a national perspective on developing stronger cultural development practice in local government across Australia. The Cultural Forum brang together representatives from local government: the seven state and territory local government associations represented by staff of the policy units; the eight Australian capital cities who offer practical application and leadership, plus the national peak body for local government, Australian Local Government Association (ALGA). The other members were major national stakeholders of the Australia Council for the Arts – Community Partnerships and the Commonwealth Ministry for the Arts. Cultural Development Network initiated the Forum, acted as Secretariat and undertook the work of the Forum.

Centre for Cultural Partnerships, Victorian College of the Arts and Music

CDN’s shared interests with VCAM’s Centre for Cultural Partnerships on research about arts participation. Joint endeavours included the Culture and Community Researchers’ Network 2009-2012 and the Making Culture Count conference in May 2012. The conference organisers worked together on publications coming out of the conference which you can learn more about here. In 2017 VCAM’s Centre for Cultural Partnerships closed, however key academics within the Centre continue to  engage with CDN where mutual research interests exist.


Castanet was a network of Victorian arts organisations, artists and government agencies that worked in partnership with Arts Victoria. Castanet supported community arts and cultural development in Victoria by offering professional development programs as well as planning, brokering and information services to anyone who was interested in developing community arts projects and activities. CDN established the original working group with one significant output of the group being the the Arts Information Exchange.

City of Melbourne

CDN is grateful for the support of the City of Melbourne in the provision of office space and administrative support in the first decade of the organisation’s life between 2002 and 2012.  During that time, CDN and the City’s Arts and Participation Program produced the ArtsTalk series, a program of free public forums around topics of interest to cultural development workers. The organisations continues to collaborate in hosting LG Pro Special Interest Group for local government cultural development professionals. City of Melbourne is also represented on the National Local Government Cultural Forum and the Municipal Association of Victoria’s Arts and Culture Committee, initially established as a joint project of CDN & MAV.

CDN has partnered with the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation on a number of initiatives over several years. Previous joint initiatives and projects have included the Castanet community arts initiative, the LEAP project and Community Consent and the Arts project.