Creative communities: guidelines for developing and maintaining an arts and cultural policy

A good practice guide to arts and cultural development for local government
Cultural policy Local government Community engagement Arts citizen participation Australia South Australia

These guidelines aim to help Councils develop arts and cultural policies. They are designed for people new to policy development, and also to act as a resource for those with more experience or for those reviewing a current policy. They are general in scope and simply indicate valuable processes and stages to follow.

The guidelines outline five key steps to developing an arts and cultural policy:

• establish an advisory group

• conduct an audit

• develop the policy

• establish a strategy to implement the policy

• evaluate the policy and strategy.

These guidelines were developed during the Creating Communities Project, a 12-month project undertaken in 2001–02 to develop an arts and cultural policy for the Local Government Association of SA (LGA) and supporting material for Local Government. Examples cited in these guidelines have been drawn from the project’s audit survey of arts and cultural resources, finances and activities in South Australian Councils. As part of the audit, Councils were asked to nominate good practice examples of their work in arts and culture. A selection of these examples has been developed as ‘good practice story sheets’ and examples of policy in action have been developed as ‘policy story sheets’.

The LGA, the peak body for South Australian Councils, adopted an interim arts and cultural policy in March 2002, with a succinct formal policy based on the interim policy being presented at its October annual general meeting for endorsement. The key principle statement in the proposed policy reflects the central role that the arts and culture can play in community life.

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