Principle 3: Vitality of the Canberra Region arts ecology

Artists, arts organisations, arts workers and arts audiences are all elements of the arts ecology in the Canberra Region. These elements may be supported by government but are often supported through other means. The ecology as a whole needs recognition and support to ensure ongoing sustainability, viability, to encourage innovative practice, support critical reflection and undertake evaluation. How the Canberra Region arts ecology fits nationally is important, especially given the location of National Cultural Institutions here in Canberra. With all of this comes the need to be clear about responsibilities, especially for funding and it is for this reason that the ACT Arts Fund only supports Canberra based arts practice.

Sector development will assist in the vitality of the ecology by strengthening and supporting an effective, cohesive and dynamic sector. This in turn will assist the sector to meet the challenges of a changing world, improve practice and build capacity through the provision of information, training, networking, resource development, collaboration and partnership for artists, arts workers, arts organisations and arts businesses. Recognition of the close link between creativity and innovation and the important role of the arts in improving Canberra’s attractiveness as a place to live, work and visit can be supported through innovation, capability and capacity building.

We need to maintain and develop our existing cultural infrastructure to support the ecology and consolidate the work we have undertaken so far on hubs to understand roles and responsibilities in their further development.

Case study

The Canberra Theatre Centre has a dynamic program of structured workplace learning for secondary students. It includes work experience and vocational education and training.

In Year 10, work experience students work under supervision alongside professional staff, helping to set up and work backstage while learning theatre skills. Students in the vocational education and training stream are working towards a Certificate II or Certificate III. They work throughout the year on major productions and learn all facets of setting the stage, as well as stage lighting and sound. Competition for places on these programs is intense.

The students finish Year 12 industry-ready and able to join the workforce in a commercial theatre anywhere in Australia.

Principle 3

Canberra Theatre Centre staff member Loki Clarke demonstrates how to set a dead (guide) in the rope when flying in scenery. Image courtesy of Greer Versteeg.