Communiqué – Cultural Forum Meeting 10

The tenth National Local Government Cultural Forum was held 2 November 2017, in Melbourne. An initiative of the Cultural Development Network (CDN) with the Australia Council for the Arts, Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), its member state and territory associations and capital cities and the Commonwealth Ministry for the Arts. The Cultural Forum aims to extend the quality, understanding, reach and profile of local government’s contribution to Australia’s cultural life.

The tenth meeting of the Cultural Forum agreed to progress the following activities.

  1. Quality. The Cultural Forum agreed to commence development of measurable economic outcomes that are intrinsic to engagement in cultural development activities that would sit alongside the measurable cultural outcomes of cultural development activities (arts, libraries, heritage etc.). The five cultural measures have been presented to over 50 conferences, forums and workshops in Australia and in the Asia Pacific with gathering endorsement and acknowledgement as a meaningful schema applicable across all levels of publicly funded cultural activities. The link between culture and the economies is an important extension of this work in measuring outcomes.
  2. Understanding. Over 2017 and 2018, the Cultural Forum will work with an expanded statistical sample of 50 to 60 Australian councils to test a meaningful core dataset of inputs and outputs that allow an aggregate picture of local government cultural development data. Local government associations in each state are assisting in coordination of the representative sample of the 537 Australian local governments from the smallest remote communities through to major capital cities, regional shires and cities and inner and outer urban councils. This is the first national survey of cultural data in local government in Australia to provide a baseline of activities and will assist in planning and development across the local government cultural sector.
  3. Reach. Local government’s reach is extensive through all communities in Australia. An ongoing challenge has been to enable all councils equitable access to useful data and information that can better inform their programming and development of activities. The Cultural Forum has supported the development of an online outcomes planning platform named WhiteBox which has the potential to connect all councils to a dynamic recorder of activities that can be searched and added to by each council as they carry out their activities. For the first time the capacity for all councils to have access to information and skills in cultural development across local government.
  4. Profile. The success of the Cultural Forum to bring together the policy managers from the seven local government associations and the practice managers from the eight capital cities, has brought a unified vision to the local government cultural sector. As local government seeks to better integrate its planning with other tiers of government it will be able to influence policy and decision makers through it evidence based work and its practice of trialling in the field. The work of the Cultural forum is increasingly being recognised internationally as leading in the field of research, evaluation and planning frameworks and systems.

The National Local Government Cultural Forum is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and managed by CDN in cooperation with ALGA.

Further information, contact the CDN: John Smithies or +61 3 9925 0974.