Published:01 August 2018

Associate Professor Sue Davis (top right) discusses the Regional Arts Services Network announcement with CQ arts sector leaders via videoconference. Top from left: Louise Hales and John Webb (Rockhampton Regional Council), A/Prof Sue Davis (CQUniversity) Bottom from left: Cr Danita Potter (South Burnett Regional Council), Rod Ainsworth (Bundaberg Regional Council). BELOW: The RASN regions mapped out.

CQUniversity has been chosen as a service provider for Queensland’s new Regional Arts Services Network, with the role of establishing and hosting the CQ region’s share of the initiative.

Queensland Arts Minister Leeanne Enoch said the new RASN was an innovative approach to delivering statewide arts services “that will drive local priorities, boost local jobs and provide greater input and options for arts investment at a local level”.

Minister Enoch said the providers were selected for their ability to build partnerships and leverage the value of arts to deliver social and economic outcomes that align with regional priorities.

She said this new model of regional arts delivery was unique, with the procurement of regional arts service providers
that are empowered to leverage investment and deliver enhanced outcomes for their local communities.

CQUni Dean of Education & the Arts, Professor Bill Blayney says the University will work with the councils of Fraser Coast, Bundaberg, South Burnett, Cherbourg, North Burnett, Gladstone, Banana, Central Highlands, Woorabinda, Rockhampton, Livingstone, Mackay, Whitsunday and Isaac to establish a new model for regional arts delivery.

“This is just a beginning point for development and growth,” Professor Blayney says.

“CQUniversity has partnered on art, culture and community building projects with a number of the LGAs in Central Queensland over many years and is a research and evaluation partner on a range of regional initiatives.

“The establishment of the Regional Arts Services Network is a new initiative and covers an enormous footprint incorporating 14 diverse regional government regions across CQ, each with their own distributed community networks.

“As such, the service will operate through three regional clusters and a steering group, generating cross-regional programs and projects, developing a regional arts research and evaluation framework, and providing pertinent training and professional learning programs.”

CQUni Associate Professor Sue Davis is leading this initiative, building upon a life-long engagement with the arts in regional Queensland.

She says the network services will curate a program of activities to support the professional practice and capacity of artists and groups, expanding audiences, exhibition and touring opportunities that will promote sustainable careers in the arts, stimulate economic activity and enrich communities.

They will also coordinate the research and evaluation arm of the work to measure the impact of the arts in regions, and share the important stories of change and transformation that the arts inspire.

“This is about recognising the rich diversity of arts that is already occurring in regions and it’s not about replicating or replacing what local government and regional arts organisations already do,” Associate Professor Davis says.

“The program will capitalise on the on-ground expertise and experience from across the regions.  We will be identifying the strengths and highlights of activity and programs already occurring and build upon that with cross-regional projects and new initiatives.

“We will also partner with major state and national arts companies, institutions and entities to harness relevant expertise, programs and resources.

“Concepts such as twinning, partnering and amplifying will be central to establishing specific projects generated from the ground up.  Specific and targeted programs will capitalise on timely opportunities, gaps and needs.

“Aims also include profiling our First Nations arts and artists and supporting specific initiatives for sectors and communities in regions where there is limited access to funding in terms of arts and culture.

“We will foster productive partnerships across arts, cultural, events, tourism, community services and economic development sectors, assist groups to work together and access additional resources including regional, state and federal resources, and evaluate and review the impact of arts activities for the region across multiple dimensions.”