State of Play

Arts Northern Rivers office

Arts Northern Rivers office

CEO of Arts Northern Rivers, Peter Wood gives an insight into the direction our region’s creative industries will take over the next three years.

Arts Northern Rivers is the peak body for the arts and cultural sector in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia.

We are part of a statewide network of regional arts boards, dedicated to building positive futures for regional, rural and remote communities in New South Wales though the arts and cultural development.

Arts Northern Rivers is a triennial client of Arts NSW and supported financially by the seven local government areas of the region via indexed contributions based on incremental population figures.  We were incorporated in 2004.

Arts Northern Rivers works at a regional, state and national level to support sustainable arts and creative industries development.

Our activity can be divided into core and project activity. Our core activity focuses on professional development initiatives, networking opportunities, cultural policy development with local councils and a comprehensive marketing and communication strategy that includes delivery of a monthly e-newsletter, the ANR website, social media platforms and a regular ABC radio arts update.

Our project activity is informed by our strategic priorities and has been funded through various federal, state and regional partners including Industry and Investment NSW, Regional Development Australia (Northern Rivers) and the (federal) Office for the Arts.

Currently we are finalising our 2013 – 15 business plan – which will form an integral part of our next application for triennial funding from Arts NSW. In developing the 2013 – 15 business plan Arts Northern Rivers has undertaken significant research, assessment and consultation throughout the region with key stakeholders. This process has enabled the organisation to:

  • Assess the effectiveness of previous activity outlined in the 2010-12 business pan
  • Identify core program priorities – particularly in relation to professional and skills development for our key markets
  • Examine the success and challenges of past projects and identify next steps to deliver our strategic priorities
Arts Northern Rivers poster artwork

Arts Northern Rivers poster artwork

Amongst the strategic priorities identified through these consultations was the continued development of projects to support the arts and creative industries in our region. This came as no real surprise given the Northern Rivers has the highest creative industries growth in NSW as well as the lead role Arts Northern Rivers has played in developing the state’s first regional arts and Creative Industries strategy.

As part of the development of this strategy Arts Northern Rivers drew together the Northern Rivers Creative Industries Consortium, a group of 14 partner agencies representing the arts, regional development, industry and education, with the specific goal of collaborating to support creative industry development. The Consortium is still active and through regular meetings will continue to guide Arts Northern River’s creative industries activity.

Many of the key recommendations from the Creative Industries Strategy have been delivered with impressive results for creative industry business development in the region. Examples include a Creative Industry Brokers initiative delivered in 2011, which focused on the creation of market linkages and professional development opportunities for the screen, fashion and music sectors of the region. We also developed a digital resource – The Hive, which is an online portal for the Northern Rivers creative industries sector. The Hive is a one-stop shop introducing visitors to the creative industries in this region. It’s also an opportunity for individuals and businesses to share their stories, and showcase their work, designs and ideas.

While the active period of Northern Rivers Creative Industries Strategy concludes in 2012 there are ongoing recommendations and priorities that have been incorporated into our next business plan. Some of the targets for the next stage of our creative industries initiative include; the development of online self-help resources; the delivery of multi-partner creative industries professional development and networking programs that pool resources; to be supported by collaborative marketing programs; research into future directions and promotion of regional creative industries investment programs, in which private investors can participate.

While some of our creative industries activity is embedded in our core program we need to continue to identify funding streams that enable us to develop projects that deliver these priorities. The search for funding is ongoing as is identifying and engaging potential project partners.

By Peter Wood



Arts Northern Rivers

Website: Arts Northern Rivers



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