Creative Barkly is a three-year Australian Research Council Linkage project (2016-2019) that aims to investigate the arts and creative sector in the Barkly, and how it contributes to economic and social development in the region. The project is being led by the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre at Griffith University in partnership with Barkly Regional Arts (BRA), Regional Development Australia NT, and University of the Sunshine Coast and Southern Cross University. It will deliver information back to the region that will be helpful in planning the future of arts across the Barkly. The research is being conducted in two phases: first, a mapping of arts/creative practices and initiatives in the region, followed by case studies of specific organisations and/or programs that provide a diverse and detailed exploration of how the sector operates in this remote context.
Since February 2016, the research team has conducted several field trips to consult with community stakeholders, Elders and representatives in order to refine the design and methodology of the project to ensure it meetsthe needs of a diverse and sparsely located population. In July and August 2017, we returned to the region to commence data collection for the mapping phase. This coincided with two key events: the Tennant Creek Show and the Desert Harmony Festival. This report is based on preliminary findings from a survey that was administered to artists and arts workers at both of these events, and across the region more widely in communities, houses, Art Centres and on the street. Many respondents were approached through Art Centres including BRA and Nyinnka Nyunyu in Tennant Creek, Kulumindini Art Centre in Elliott, and Arlpwe Art Centre in Ali Curung. Others were recruited through word-of-mouth and the researchers’ visible presence in communities over the course of the month. This report is designed to offer the team, project partners and key stakeholders an opportunity to look at the demographics of the respondents who have completed the survey to-date, in order to assess whether it is necessary to recruit more participants from particular demographics / locations etc.
This preliminary report is also designed to flag some of the themes that are emerging from the data. These emergent themes will inform the more detailed analysis/coding phase that occurs after data collection for the mapping phase has concluded, as well as the selection and design of the case studies.