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Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

THE RANGE: Comments about the C.R.A.P. event

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The RANGE Festival Director Ashley Bunter and Arts Council Toowoomba President Jennifer Wright (Summers) comment on the Centre for Regional Arts Practice event at the GRID. SEE earlier post on the event HERE.

Jennifer Wright (Summers) and Ashleigh Bunter

FROM ASHLEIGH BUNTER: The event was a novel, performative/responsive format that drew together a diverse range of respected panelists of varied opinions. It was wonderful to see the room full of many esteemed artists, educators, writers and the general public. Through the provocations read from several issues of Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper’s (The Centre for Regional Arts Practice) series of artists books the panelists and audience mused what it is to be a regional artist and ultimately whether where one lives affects ones arts practice.
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It is lovely thing, perhaps semi-unique to regional centres, that young and old, creatives, bureaucrats and the general public from all walks can sit together and sustain formal, thought provoking discussion.
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I loved listening to Jennifer Wright (Summers) link her book ‘The Regional Artist and Mining’ to the work of Glenn Albrecht who I heard speak recently at the Regional Arts Australian National Conference about the ways that environmental concerns impact people mentally. He provided a language to describe the phenomena which Jennifer shared and employed.
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The audience and panelists will now pose new questions for ‘The Regional Artist and The Artist Run Space.’
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After all the discussion, I left feeling positive that I feel such a strong connection to my hometown and the engaged people around me but also that with the freedom afforded by travel and the internet, we are all more than just where we live.
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Thanks Ashleigh.
AND
A COMMENT FROM JENNIFER WRIGHT (SUMMERS): A belated response to Jack’s statement that since so many people have lost jobs in manufacturing in Toowoomba, mining offers the best option for employment of these people.
Mining jobs are temporary and have negative impacts with binge drinking, lack of affordable housing for any nearby community.Why can’t we continue to make Toowoomba a centre of creativity, art and culture? Arts Council Toowoomba’s mission statement has always been to create a vibrant and creative centre for the arts.
At the Regional Arts Australia Conference in Golwa Federal Minister Simon Crean detailed how collaborative creative projects and partnerships had renewed regional cities including Newcastle and Townsville.Mark Robinson from Arts Council UK talked about making adaptive resilience real. When industries declined, regional UK communities remained creatively productive and adapted with integrity to changing circumstances with lasting benefit for the community.
The Edinburgh Festival, now 21 years old is part of Edinburgh’s strength and creates formal and informal social capital and feeds the community.

Transformations have started here and I hope we can ride the momentum of the RANGE festival. Festivals become part of the environment, attracting the touring dollar.
We can support a growing ecology and develop critical discussion in the region if we stick together, continue to adapt, gain confidence but not wreck the community,
if we remain open, dynamic and creative we position ourselves behind a creative industry that has longevity stands to benefit the community in a long term sustainable way.

Jennifer Wright (Summers)

Thanks Jennifer
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