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ARTLANDS: Our missing presentation

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Artlands Dubbo Webpage

 

ARTLANDS DUBBO CONFERENCE: Regional voices missing

 

Today we were to present a paper at the ARTLAND DUBBO REGIONAL ARTS AUSTRALIA CONFERENCE. Earlier this year we made a submission based on one of the conference themes and were excited to learn that our submission was accepted and that we were going to be able to add our story and project activities in regional arts in Australia to the conference.

However, then we found that the conference fees, despite ‘early bird’ and presenter discounts, combined with the costs to get to Dubbo and be accommodated were enormous. We had to look at support options for grants in Arts Queensland and the Regional Arts Fund and we found that none either ‘fitted’ with our needs or could be responded to in time to register. We therefore withdrew our presentation.

As regional artists, although we’ve been in Brisbane of late, and also independent researchers we have noticed many opportunities at conferences and seminars now require presenters to fund their place in the program. Now that might be affordable to academics, those employed in arts management or facilitation or those who have taxable incomes where such can be an allowable income tax deduction, but others just cannot afford to bear such costs.

It seems to us that many voices in the field of art in Australia are being kept out of the conversation by the cost of participation and the lack of grant support.

There is no doubt that ARTLANDS DUBBO will be a success and all who attend will benefit greatly from the shared experience and networking possible but for us, on this occasion, we stayed at home and worked on our art.

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For those interested what follows is our proposal that related to the conference theme – REGENERATION: Exploring arts and cultural development using creativity that positively impacts on community vitality and well being.

ABSTRACT 

Artists in residence programs provide unique opportunities for artists to explore their practice while contributing to the community’s cultural development. We will discuss ‘3 tiers’ of community engagement in our Nocturne AIR Projects: artist as creator, community as creator, and social media as a creative flux for interactive engagement.

OUR PRESENTATION

We will present a background on the Centre for Regional Arts Practice (Centre) that we formed in 2007 as a response to the circumstances and challenges of artists living in regional Australia. From the beginning the ‘Centre’ has engaged in advocacy, representation, commentary and the development of projects for regional artists and the communication of regional art perspectives.

Nocturne Projects

The ‘Centre’ engages in artist in residency programmes that enable the development of community based Nocturne Projects. These projects have been sponsored through the regional galleries of Muswellbrook, Grafton, Bundaberg, Miles and Armidale. We have also self-funded Nocturne documentary projects across eastern Australia and Tasmania.

3 Tiers of Engagement

In developing the methodology for our AIR Nocturne Projects we identified 3 tiers of community engagement, these are:

  • artist as creator;
  • community as creator: artist as facilitator; and
  • social media as creative flux for interactive engagement.

Artist as creator:

We will talk about how our AIR work allows us to explore themes, both personal and collaborative, in the investigation and representation of “site” and “place” in the Australian landscape. We work to connect contemporary social issues with historical, scientific and mythological insights intrinsic to each site. Critical to, and inherent in, this work is these visual narratives that are deeply rooted in the recording and interaction with each place.

Community as creator – artist as facilitator:

Beyond our own work Nocturne AIR Projects we develop, in conjunction with the local gallery education officers programmes that provide creative development to suit each community’s needs. Included in these programmes may be workshops, practical digital photography shoot-outs and assignment work, image enhancement and file optimisation, one-on-one mentoring, developing social media skills as well as photobook and zine making.

Participants, whether they use hi-tech DSLR cameras, point-n-shoot cameras, tablets or smart phones, connect through meetings and workshop sessions. To provide a continuous stream of inspiration, feedback, instruction and support we establish closed Facebook groups for participants.

Social Media as a creative flux for interactive engagement:

All of the major Nocturne AIR Projects are connected to the broader community by a Facebook page. It enables an online space for sharing and presenting the project work. In the more recent projects, where there was an issue of distance for the regional community members to participate in the project, we managed two FB pages: one for those closely involved in the creative development of the Nocturne Project and another for the gathering and sharing stories through the broader community.

Using the methodology of the three tiers of engagement we believe we explore arts and cultural development using creativity that positively impacts on community vitality and well-being.

Western Downs Regional Council’s Community Development Officer Carollee Murphy stated the following about our Nocturne Miles Project:

Thank you for empowering our community with practical photography and book-making skills. Nocturne Miles installed a greater sense of shared space and community pride. The multi-modal outcomes of this project have been far-reaching, especially through social media and have painted Miles and district in a new light.

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A LINK TO OUR NOCTURNE PROJECTS CAN BE FOUND HERE

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