Skills Development

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The Connecting Places engagement program is a responsive, local-led program that looks at aiming tailored support to regional creative practitioners. It develops pathways for community presenters to present quality performances in their communities.

The initiative recognises the important role small arts organisations and creative individuals play in the wellbeing and vitality of regional communities. It aims to provide exciting learning opportunities, and shine a light on their dynamic work.

IDENTIFIED NEED

Connecting Places has grown out of our long history of working with community presenters from across the state. We define community presenters as not-for-profit community associations who have access to a venue. These are generally members of the local community, are volunteer-run and name themselves an arts council. Typically their mandate is to further arts participation in their community. 

More formally, through our Membership database, Regional Arts Victoria has led a series of consultative discussions, engaging regional community presenters and local community members. Though each regional community is unique, many of their needs and issues overlap. For community presenters, the funding issues are the same, the committee of management challenges similar, and the spaces used present similar infrastructural challenges. This program seeks to directly address these issues, and connect Community Presenters across the state to share their knowledge and successes in overcoming these common themes.

The main aims of this stream are to help develop a sustainable practice, build a robust network of highly engaged community presenters, and support them in building arts participation in their regional community. From our research and conversations with community presenters, we understand the key issues across the state lie in strategic areas such as committee structure, developing long term strategic plans, developing long term marketing plans and understanding the needs of the community, to then build a program around. Over the next four years, we aim to directly target these areas in the below range of support mechanisms each year:

  • 5 x open – access skills development workshops delivered regionally (open access, all skill/experience levels)
  • 5 x targeted 12 month coaching/mentoring program to develop specific skills, as identified by community presenters (application process, emerging, but utilising established community presenters as mentors)
  • 5 x targeted one on one planning sessions to address very specific needs. Examples may be convening a process with local council, creating a strategic plan, re-shaping the committee of management. (application process, likely established community presenters)

Advocacy and networking are already core business at Regional Arts Victoria, and within this program we will continue with a focus on local needs when they arise. We also provide opportunities within our core business such as sitting on artistic assessment panels, presenting at various events, mentoring other halls in their area, and connecting them with higher levels of local government to discuss their vision. We value sharing successful committee’s knowledge with others, so where possible we will utilise highly successful community presenters to mentor or present in the above opportunities. We believe that this model will build a strong voice for smaller communities who are passionate about participating in the arts, but currently have no support to do this.       

Feedback from previous mentees:

"[I received a] greater understanding that the challenges of presenting to small communities are common, ie. I’m not alone. Meeting other regional presenters was beneficial for sharing ideas and experiences, and the mentors challenged me to examine my methods, marketing approach and choice of events. It also affirmed what I am doing right"
– 2018 Mentee Clare Ryan, Chameleon Arts Balmoral

“I would definitely recommend it.  There is always something to learn.”
– Wendy Rhodes, Heyfield Memorial Hall

Key Outcomes

This stream aims to generate a vibrant community driven touring model, where small regional communities are deciding on their own arts experiences, and are working together to bring these to their region. The support offered by Regional Arts Victoria will develop:  

  • A strong network of community presenters programming works from across the arts sector
  • Strategic outcomes identified by community presenters
  • Strategic audience development plans in the arts for remote and small regional communities
  • Partnership opportunities for community presenters
  • Confidence in working collaboratively and looking to produce work locally

We’d love to hear from you about your creative practice, and the challenges you face, and learn how we may be able to support your journey.

Anna Kennedy
Connecting Places Manager
Ph: (03) 9644 1809

Email: akennedy@rav.net.au