State of the arts in Cairns report 2019 (SoARTS)

Milledge, Russell, and Law, Lisa (2020) State of the arts in Cairns report 2019 (SoARTS). External Commissioned Report. Cairns Regional Council, Cairns.

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Cairns Regional Council (CRC) has aspirations to become the Arts and Culture Capital of Northern Australia and has embedded this in their Strategy for Culture and the Arts 2022 (CRC 2018a). The Strategy outlines steps to strengthen Council’s ongoing commitment to growing the city’s reputation as a key hub for artistic and cultural expression with outstanding cultural facilities and a distinctive character. As part of the Strategy, Cairns Regional Council engaged James Cook University (JCU) and Central Queensland University (CQU) to work alongside the five-year planning cycle to provide evidence-based research to support and guide future decision making and investment in regards to the three core priorities or focus areas of the cultural plan. The output of this process is a State of the Arts in Cairns (SoARTS) report that monitors and measures the outcomes of the Strategy, providing tangible evidence of the value of culture and the arts to the local community and economy. This State of the Arts in Cairns 2019 Report represents the first collation and analysis of data gathered over the 2018/19 period.

The Strategy for Culture and the Arts 2022 supports the Council’s Corporate Plan 2017-2022 which envisions Cairns as a vibrant, inclusive and healthy community. Cairns already has well-developed transport and logistical networks, extensive health and education services, a high standard of living, affordable housing and vibrant cultural amenities. Outstanding examples of cultural amenities include the award winning Munro Martin Parklands, the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) and the well-established Tanks Arts Centre, but new examples such as the proposed Gallery Precinct will make a profound mark on the cultural vitality of the city. It is these attractors, especially when combined with easy access to UNESCO World Heritage listed reef and rainforest attractions, which make the Cairns region highly liveable. Indeed, Cairns ranks in the top ten of Ipsos’s (2018) most liveable regions in Australia. Cairns has a vibrant arts and cultural sector which has recently been made more visible on the Council’s Cairns Arts and Culture Map that highlights (at the time of writing) 45 organisations, 66 business across 25 industries, 301 historical places, 24 festivals, 44 facilities and spaces, 62 artists, 288 city collection artefacts and 199 pieces of public art. This collective evidence of activity and infrastructure requires more analysis for a better understanding of how arts and culture activities contribute to the economy, identity and community of Cairns.

Culture and the arts are already embedded in the livelihood and vitality of Cairns, and this report compiles relevant data into five sections/core research areas. First we report on the measure of economic value and potential growth of the sector, presenting a summary of research by Cummings Economics (Cummings 2019a, 2019b, 2019c) that suggests Cairns is already a leader in cultural services when compared to other northern cities such as Townsville and Darwin. Definitions of the arts and culture sector are then widened to include the broader field of creative industries, where there are important linkages, growth opportunities and multiplier effects (Cunningham et al 2019). Cairns leads in areas such as professional photography and jewelry manufacturing, for example, but there is potential to extend into areas such as software and digital content. Second we present a sector survey that reports on interviews with 26 stakeholders representing a cross-section of culture, arts and creative industry enterprises that frame the sector in Cairns. The stakeholders were asked a standardized set of questions pertinent to the Strategy for Culture and the Arts 2018-2022. We identify a diverse set of enterprises with a regional and sometimes international reach, their infrastructural needs, challenges they are facing and opportunities for growth. Third, we report on research conducted by CQU that begins to ask questions about what kinds of tourists might engage in arts and cultural activities, and how we might begin to grow that sector. Fourth, we explore the geographies of creativity in Cairns by exploring the Cairns Arts and Culture Map, plans for a new Gallery Precinct and a map of the reach/network of our stakeholder group. Here there are opportunities for spatial planning, and connecting to the Cairns Regional Council’s broader masterplan for the central business district. Fifth and finally, we present some noteworthy case studies, the performing arts district The Precinct and The Young Company, an innovative enterprise for young creatives.

Item ID: 65451
Item Type: Report (External Commissioned Report)
Keywords: Cairns, arts, culture, creative industries, economic value, placemaking, strategic planning
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Copyright Information: This report is publicly available via the publisher's website.
Funders: Cairns Regional Council
Projects and Grants: State of the Arts in Cairns
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2021 01:09
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4406 Human geography > 440699 Human geography not elsewhere classified @ 50%
36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3699 Other creative arts and writing > 369999 Other creative arts and writing not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950199 Arts and Leisure not elsewhere classified @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing @ 50%
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