The Australian Government has announced 71 projects will receive funding through the latest Regional Arts Fund Community Grants round. The total support for this round is over $1.1 million, with projects set to take place in all States and the Northern Territory from 1 January 2020.
The Regional Arts Fund, managed by Regional Arts Australia and program administrators in each State and Territory, supports projects in regional, rural and remote communities across Australia.
The funding round is diverse, cross art form and supports many different outcomes and needs. There is great variance in the projects funded with smaller projects being funded in South Australia and Tasmania and larger projects being supported in Queensland. These variances demonstrate the flexible nature of the funding program which allows States and Territories to respond to specific needs.
Skills development and career pathways feature strongly in this round. Skills development is central in 7 New South Wales projects and 5 South Australian projects. Across the country we are seeing a trend in peer-to-peer learning, paired with outcomes.
These projects tend to support young and emerging artists to work and learn alongside more experienced professional artists to produce public outcomes such as a youth radio station, dance productions and commercial platforms for the arts in regional Australia. This practice demonstrates the willingness to work together that we often see in regional communities.
Collaboration and cross art form projects are also on the rise with 28% (20 of 71) of projects listing ‘cross art form’ as the main art form. This trend is in line with art production and consumption trends which see artists and communities increasingly using a number of artforms in their projects, especially through collaboration. Visual arts had long been the most supported artform through the Regional Arts Fund, yet this shift towards cross art forms that started in 2018 has continued.
Overall, the demand for professional development and career support is increasing nationally. Regional Arts Victoria delivered an inaugural fellowship program and received seventeen high quality applications for the one position.
While the fund provides exceptional access and support to artists and creative industries in rural, regional and remote Australia, it is highly competitive with demand far greater than the resources available. In Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland less than 30% of eligible applications were able to be funded.
Regional Arts Australia is working to map the needs and impacts of the funded projects and will continue to advocate for an increase in the Regional Arts Fund. For more information and a list of funded projects, visit: www.regionalarts.com.au for details.
Image: LIT Festival: Stories In Light / LIT Futures, site activation of Bell Street Mall, Toowoomba QLD by VIDa (Visual Arts and Dance) and the Toowoomba community, 2018. RAF recipient round 01 2018 – photo by Theresa Hall