The ever-eloquent Shannon Chadwick (TCC) opened the workshops, followed by key speakers like Professor Ryan Daniel of JCU. Ryan is currently undertaking research to help gauge the creative industry in North Queensland, and shared some of his preliminary findings in hand-outs which had people requesting copies and access to the data online. We workshopped the strengths and assets of the region, and identified things like our passion for the arts, the natural landscape and spirit of the region, our history and stories, our places and spaces, arts organisations, local arts publications, community grants through council, and more. My group felt that the existence of these assets proves that we are willing to invest in creativity, and that we are passionate about the creative culture of our city.
Lunch was beautiful, nothing less from the mouth watering caterers: Michels. We also had the chance to network and meet others during the tea breaks, as you would expect at these types of functions. After lunch we had some serious work to do! We scoped a plan for the arts to position communities and regions for prosperity, wellness, and quality of life. My team this time suggested INFILTRATING local government and business with creativity, and showing them how we can be of much use to them, and the wider community. A topic that comes up so very often in Townsville, is the lack of an organising body in Townsville for the arts and culture. Several groups have tried this task, and currently the Arts E-bulletin can ‘sort of’ fill some of those requirements (if you enjoy reading lengthy, untargeted, uninspired PDF documents). I honestly do see the need for an “Arts Townsville” body. Where all the gallery directors, museum curators, librarians, performance directors, public programmers, and so on: The key contacts, can meet, share, discuss, co-operate and collaborate on projects. There needs to be one place where all events are kept in a calendar type system where people can turn off certain areas they may not be interested in, but be able to access easily something they want to know. It would also be nice if we could all be physically closer too: like the cultural precinct in Brisbane which includes the state library, Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland Art Gallery, and Queensland Performing Arts Centre.
If you’ve been there, you understand the feeling: It’s just the best place to hang out. You can find a quiet place to do your own thing, or get involved and inspired by any of the programs at the venues. It’s a centre for great experiences, and a feast for your creative soul. Well, the good news is, Jo Fischer from “Ideas to life” is heading a project for this kind of connectivity, dubbed “Arts NQ”.
At this point I’d like to thank Artslink for holding this here in Townsville. It felt amazing to have all those people who believe in the same thing together, dreaming up our own creative futures. I’ve attended a much larger conference in Brisbane, which had a lot more funding, and the registration fee really made you think twice about signing up. Arts Matters was practically free, and I think delivered very similar outcomes, though maybe even better because everything expressed was targeted specifically for us.