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Regional arts movement takes flight, with help from CQUni

Regional arts movement takes flight, with help from CQUni

Published:09 November 2018

1. The CQ RASN group meets for the first time. 2. CQ RASN Chair Associate Prof Sue Davis with new Regional Arts Officers Trudie Leigo, Julie Barratt and Wanda Bennett. 3. CQUniversity staff involved in the initiative include Associate Professor Sue Davis, Dr Liz Ellison, Peter McKenzie and Glenda Hobdell. 4. Dean of Education & the Arts Professor Bill Blayney addresses the event.

Arts lovers gathered in Rockhampton this week to plan the first phase of action for the new Central Queensland Regional Arts Services network (or CQ-RASN).

CQUniversity staff joined other representatives from across 14 local government areas, from South Burnett in the south to the Whitsundays and Isaac in the north, to share ideas about opportunities, challenges and projects.

The Regional Arts Services Network is an initiative of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland. CQUniversity has been appointed as the Central Queensland Provider.

The CQ-RASN is a new network that promotes cross-regional connections and collaboration to strengthen the arts across the diverse communities of the wider Central Queensland region. The initial funding has been provided for three years and activity will focus on networking, capacity building and cross-regional projects.

CQUniversity Associate Professor Sue Davis said the summit was the first opportunity for the newly-appointed regional arts officers to meet, with Julie Barratt to be based in Rockhampton (for the central region), Trudie Leigo to be based in Bundaberg (for the Wide Bay/Burnett region) and Wanda Bennett to be based in Mackay (for the Greater Whitsunday region).

"Each of these officers are highly experienced arts professionals with experience as practising artists, curators, facilitators and arts managers," she says.

"Some of the topics the group discussed were defining the differences between what RASN could do compared to what was already happening in councils already.  The focus was very much on looking at cross-regional projects, sharing resources and opportunities for artists to build and extend their profiles and building a strong arts profile and identity for Central Queensland.

"The message from the group was … you can come to Central Queensland for a great arts experience AND you can stay in Central Queensland for diverse arts experiences."

The group will continue planning and hope to announce initiatives for 2019 by the end of the year.

The meeting was hosted by Rockhampton Regional Council in the Walter Reid Cultural Centre, the Pilbeam and Rockhampton Art Gallery.  Attendees included representatives from Bundaberg, South Burnett, Mackay, Isaac, Whitsundays, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Banana, Central Highlands, Woorabinda and Livingstone.