Forum highlights importance of the arts

Published 23 July 2004

A one-day forum aimed at exploring ways of measuring the cultural, economic and social impacts of arts activities in Australia will be held on Thursday, July 29, to kick off the Byron Bay Writers Festival.

Southern Cross University's(SCU)Centre for Regional Tourism Research project manager Ms Ros Derrett, who will be one of the speakers at the forum, said it would provide a national networking opportunity for people involved in the arts.

Titled “What do we reckon?” the forum, organised by Regional Arts NSW, will bring together Australia’s leading researchers, artists, educators, planners and policy makers.

Ms Derrett said this was the first national arts forum to be held in Australia and was designed to generate ongoing network activity in this area.

“People are becoming more and more aware of the contribution that arts can make to sustainable communities. This will bring together the leading researchers and policy makers.”

She said she would be part of a panel looking at the economic impact of the arts, while other panels would look at the cultural and social impacts.

“The role of regional artists in communities is often undervalued and under-counted. People working in the arts are often also working with tourism or regional development. It’s a fairly integrated activity.”

She said this forum would help to establish what research was being undertaken and what policy makers based their policies on.

The speakers will include Professor David Throsby, internationally known for his work in the economics of art and culture, and Scott Rankin, playwright and artistic director of the acclaimed social change arts organisation, Big hART.

The forum will be held at the Lakehouse Conference Centre, Byron Bay Beach Resort, from 9am to 5pm, on Thursday, July 29. For information about the Byron Bay Writers Festival see the website:

Media contact: Brigid Veale, SCU Media Liaison, 66593006 or m. 0439 680 748.