State of the Arts in Cairns Report 2020 (SoARTS)

Law, Lisa, and Milledge, Russell (2021) State of the Arts in Cairns Report 2020 (SoARTS). External Commissioned Report. Cairns Regional Council, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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The Cairns Regional Council’s Strategy for Culture and the Arts 2022 (CRC 2018) is a strategic vision that supports and stimulates the creative vitality of the Cairns region, as well as promoting and perpetuating the broad artistic and cultural heritage of the people of Cairns. This State of the Arts in Cairns (SoARTS) 2020 report is the second report in a series by James Cook University and Central Queensland University, that works alongside the Strategy to produce research-informed insights and recommendations relating to Council's main priorities in this area. The data presented here refer to the calendar year 2020 and as such, take place in the fully blown COVID-19 context. COVID-19 tested the resilience of the sector, but arts and culture organisations were quick to respond to funding opportunities and develop new online services and alternative channels for audiences. The arts, culture and creative industries are vital to healthy communities and economies, and these activities are an important component in Cairns’ recovery and renewal process.

The particular focus of this SoARTS report is the Strategy’s Priority 1: Infrastructure, resources and skills. This priority or ‘pillar’ of the Strategy aims to support and stimulate the cultural and creative life of the community, in part through providing infrastructure, resources and opportunities for skill development and training. Infrastructure is broadly conceived and includes more than Council-managed buildings and venues, even though these are vital to the region. Supportive infrastructure also includes: places to work/create, grants to develop new ideas and pathways to support employment and training. This SoARTS report therefore focuses on stakeholder perspectives on the hard and soft infrastructure that keep the sector vibrant.

The year 2020 saw the completion of key, world class arts infrastructure, including the iconic refurbishment of the old Cairns Court House, now branded the Court House Gallery. Bulmba-ja, formerly the Centre of Contemporary Arts, opened in February 2020, representing an important shift to Indigenous practices and artforms. The development of new infrastructure for the film industry is an exciting and evolving conversation. With an emphasis on world class infrastructure, ‘gritty’ production spaces might be given more attention for grassroots development and SoARTS stakeholders lamented the lack of philanthropic support and expressed concern at declining offerings at tertiary education institutions. Our research also suggests further work is needed to connect arts and culture infrastructure across the city, and this report recommends that any renewal of the Cairns City Masterplan focus on placemaking and wayfinding for arts and culture activities. This could also help entice the domestic tourist market—especially in a COVID-19 world.

Item ID: 72746
Item Type: Report (External Commissioned Report)
Keywords: Cairns, arts, culture, creative industries, placemaking, strategic planning
Copyright Information: This report is publicly available via the publisher's website.
Funders: Cairns Regional Council
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2023 01:13
FoR Codes: 36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3699 Other creative arts and writing > 369999 Other creative arts and writing not elsewhere classified @ 50%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4406 Human geography > 440699 Human geography not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280122 Expanding knowledge in creative arts and writing studies @ 50%
13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1399 Other culture and society > 139999 Other culture and society not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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