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The Arts and Social Wellbeing in Rural and Regional WA Communities ARC Research Partnership: Institute of Regional Development - UWA Country Arts WA WA.

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Presentation on theme: "The Arts and Social Wellbeing in Rural and Regional WA Communities ARC Research Partnership: Institute of Regional Development - UWA Country Arts WA WA."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Arts and Social Wellbeing in Rural and Regional WA Communities ARC Research Partnership: Institute of Regional Development - UWA Country Arts WA WA Department of Culture and the Arts

2 The Arts and Social Wellbeing in Rural and Regional WA Communities This project will focus on the role that active participation in the arts plays in engendering wellbeing in the rural and regional communities of the Mid-West region of Western Australia.


4 Project Objective This project aims to explore the role of the arts in contributing to wellbeing by fostering: –social connectivity; –community cohesion; –social inclusion; –trust and reciprocity.

5 Study Approach Drawing on a range of –Social; –Economic; and –Geographical contexts. Through –Quantitative; and –Qualitative assessment.

6 The Mid-West Region


8 The Mid West covers an area of some 472,000 square kilometres and incorporating 17 local government areas. The economy of the region is predominantly based on: –mixed crop and livestock farming; –extensive pastoralism; –mining; –fishing and –tourism (Department of Local Government and Regional Development, 2003).


10 Range of Communities The population geography of the region is quite diverse and is sharply divided between growing coastal settlements linked to fishing and tourism, and declining or stable inland communities dependent on agriculture and mining.


12 Study Area Suitability The Mid-West is an ideal area for this study for number of reasons: –Diversity of settlement types, ranging in size from a large regional centre, (Geraldton pop 20,000) to a number of small remote settlements. (mining, agricultural and Aboriginal lands) –Country Arts WA focus region 2004 – 2008 –Builds on work of research partners IRD, examining relationship between social wellbeing and participation in sporting clubs.


14 Local Social Issues/Impacts Diversity across community types: –Population growth / decline (coastal/rural) –Dominant economies (mining, agriculture, tourism) –Impact of Minerals boom (differential in earnings, services) –Considerable Indigenous population (5-10% across region)


16 Social Capital features of social life – networks, norms and trust – that enable participants to act together to pursue shared objectives (Putnam, 1995, p ) social fabric or glue (Cox 1995, p. 15)


18 Social Capital At the heart of the concept is the importance of social linkages based on trust and reciprocity. Key indicators of social capital include participation in community activities, levels of volunteerism, the strength of social networks, levels of trust and confidence in institutions and fellow citizens, and a sense of local community pride (Field, 2003). Link between Social Capital and Social Wellbeing

19 Art and Social Wellbeing There is a growing body of work examining the contribution of the arts to social wellbeing on both a small and large scale: –Victorian Community Indicators Project (VicHealth and partners). –Small Towns: Big Picture Project (CDN - Dr Maureen Rodgers).


21 Art and Social Wellbeing A number of prominent arts and cultural commentators have also put weight to the notion that the arts might play a crucial role in promoting social wellbeing. (Williams, 1995; Hawkes, 2001; Mills & Brown, 2004).


23 Active/Passive – Creative/Receptive Participation in the arts is usually defined as: Creative or Active: –Involved in the making of music, visual arts, theatre, dance, writing and literature, arts and craft. (see Gibson et al., 2002). Receptive or Passive: –Involved in watching, observing a cultural event or purchasing of a product or event. (Marceau & Davison, 2004).


25 Past Research – Qualitative/ Quantitative Analysis. major criticism of research on the links between the arts and social wellbeing to date is that there is a tendency for these studies to be highly qualitative and based on the analysis of a single community (Reeves, 2002; IFACCA, 2004). need for a better mixture of qualitative and quantitative research that is able to provide a better feel for the geographical differences between places (Marceau and Davison 2004).


27 The Mid-West ARC Project It will examine the: –Social, economic and geographical variables that influence creative and receptive participation in the arts in a rural region; –Role of the arts in contributing to a range of social wellbeing indicators, including those of social connectivity, community engagement, sense of belonging, social inclusion, and a sense of trust and reciprocity; –Links between the arts and the formation of social capital; –Role of government funded and non-government funded arts programmes in fostering social wellbeing.


29 Research will explore –Nature of creative and receptive participation in the arts at regional, sub-regional, and local scales. – Region wide based approach, 17 LGA areas. –Diverse set of rural communities - to explore the arts and social wellbeing in a range of very different environments. –Social organisation of rural communities - this project will build upon, and add to, existing research in this area.

30 Research will explore –New insights into the nature of social capital - building on this analysis of the social organisation of rural communities. –Multi-method based - using a balance of quantitative and qualitative methodologies. –Contribution to knowledge on the links between social wellbeing and the arts - through robust methodology providing important theoretical and empirical implications for the arts and social wellbeing.

31 Research Methodology Existing Secondary Data Sources Questionnaire Survey of Households Survey of Community Organisations with an Interest in the Arts Participant Observation and Informal Interviews Data Analysis & Report Writing Communication of Results


33 Research Timeline Year 1 (2007): Initial overview and assessment –Review of the literature on the areas of theory and research in relation to the arts, social wellbeing and rural social and economic change. Undertake the analysis of secondary sources. –Commence the analysis of organisations with interests in the arts. –Begin the fieldwork in the Mid West and informal interviews.

34 Research Timeline Year 2 (2008): Gathering and analysis of data –Undertake the questionnaire survey. –Continue the survey of organisations with interests in the arts. –Continue fieldwork and informal interviews in the case study region. –Input survey data into SPSS and transcribe interview and field data.

35 Research Timeline Year 3 (2009): Completion of data gathering and report writing –Complete the analysis of survey data, and further interviews with relevant stakeholders as required. –Attend a relevant international or national conference to present findings. –From the data gathered during the project, together with a systematic consideration of broader theoretical issues, complete the writing of report.


37 Images Awesome Arts: Creative Challenge Program, Images Poppy Van Oorde-Grainger Country Arts WA:Blink project, Meeka: images Nat Brunovs Various projects ACDC – Geraldton Maps – ABS and Mid West Development Commission

38 Marty CunninghamMarty Cunningham, Manager, Research & Information, The Dept. of Culture & the Arts (WA) Marty Cunningham has worked extensively in the arts and cultural sector as a community cultural development worker, circus and theatre performer, arts administrator, and local government Youth Arts Officer and Community Development Officer. Marty currently heads the newly formed research and information team at the WA Department of Culture and the Arts. He has served on a number of boards, including the Community Cultural Development Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, the ArtsWA Arts Development Panel, and as the chair of Propelarts, the Western Australian youth arts network. Proceedings of the Expanding Cultures conference, Melbourne, July 2007 Hosted by the City of Stonnington, supported by the Cities of Yarra, Melbourne, Moreland, Maribyrnong, Moonee Valley, Boroondara and Port Phillip and the Cultural Development Network

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