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Collective success: the social impact of regional arts

Can people’s involvement in the arts help a community’s collective wellbeing and success, and impact areas like health, education and employment?

First published 19 March 2019

QUT researchers believe the answer is “yes” and they are about to embark on a three-year project to highlight the social impact of the creative arts for regional and remote communities.

The project, The Role of the Creative Arts in Regional Australia: A Social Impact Model, has received nearly $180,000 government funding in an Australian Research Council Linkage Project grant announced today.

Associate Professor Sandra Gattenhof, Dr Donna Hancox and Professor Helen Klaebe will work with communities in central western Queensland and Tasmania’s Burnie region to examine the impacts past arts projects have had on them.

They will look at how to design and develop arts projects that make an impact, and create a framework to evaluate impact and success factors.

This can then be used by the communities to source arts funding for specific projects they think will offer the most future benefits.

Associate Professor Sandra Gattenhof, Dr Donna Hancox and Professor Helen Klaebe.  Photo: Tricia King.


“It’s already understood in an anecdotal way that involvement in the arts makes communities feel good – and that this has trickle down effects on many social issues,” Dr Hancox said.

“What we want to do is develop methods to demonstrate these benefits so that communities can push for funding for targeted projects that build capacity and have lasting impact.”

“Regional communities that have been identified as facing significant challenges already know that solutions exist within their communities. We want to illuminate how arts engagement can have individual and community impact for areas such as health, education and employment.”

The ARC Linkage grant will see QUT work with partner organisations including Regional Arts Australia, Red Ridge (Interior Queensland), the Australian Department of Communications and the Arts, Burnie City Council, Regional Australia Institute, Australian Performing Arts Centres Association, and the Central Western Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Board.

Media contact: Mechelle McMahon / Rose Trapnell, media@qut.edu.au

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