What is Community Arts and Cultural Development Practice?

What is Community Arts and Cultural Development practice?

Community arts and cultural development is a community-based arts practice and can engage any art form. There are many variations of how community arts and cultural development works are made, developed and shared, and as such, there is no one model. What is at the core of this practice, however, is the collaboration between professional artists and communities to create art.

The Australia Council focuses its support for community arts and cultural development practice through a number of community priority areas which include regional Australia, disability, young people, cultural diversity, emerging communities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote communities, as well as specific critical social and cultural issues requiring focused attention. 

The guiding principles that inform and drive our funding decisions, priorities, projects, policies and programs include: 

1. The activity is by, with, and for the communities 

Activities are of artistic excellence and the communities are directly involved in their purpose, design, and evaluation. 

This involves working within each community in ways that are meaningful and relevant. The collaborations that underpin the activity are inclusive, respectful and able to demonstrate that they are based on the needs and aspirations of all stakeholders. 

The management of a project should demonstrate a blend of effective leadership and decision-making that engages the community at all stages of the process.

The proposal should be able to clearly set out how the activities will increase the capacity and skills of the communities and how this will lead to the communities being able to continue their artistic and cultural development after the completion of the project.

2. The artists are highly skilled 

Artists, arts workers and producers should be able to demonstrate their excellence in artistic and cultural development practice. The arts workers need to be able to clearly explain the collaboration processes that will achieve excellence in the artistic expression of the communities’ vision. 

Project leaders should be actively engaged in partner-building and be able to effectively manage, sustain and leverage partners for strategic and mutual advantage.

3. Activities reflect the energy and qualities of the community 

Proposals which capture the unique dynamic and energy of a community will be able to reflect a freshness of vision and design. 

Activities ought to embrace the strong emotional and aesthetic elements of each community, and strive to assert the role of activities of artistic excellence in contributing to its vibrancy and well being.

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