A local collaboration of creative, cultural and advocacy organisations is pushing for the region to be a magnet for the creative industries as the growing sector begins its recovery from pandemic lockdowns.

Member for Geelong, Christine Couzens, today launched the region’s first Creative Industries Strategy with a focus on skills development, community engagement, increased investment, cultural tourism and digital access.

The new ‘Making Change’ Creative Industries Strategy for the G21 Region provides a five-year framework and was funded via Regional Development Australia-Barwon South-West.  Financial contributions were made from project members Committee for Geelong, G21 Geelong Regional Alliance, Geelong Arts Centre, Geelong Gallery, Creative Geelong Inc, Platform Arts, Back to Back Theatre and Geelong Regional Library Corporation

Project Steering Committee Chair and Committee for Geelong CEO Jennifer Cromarty said that the strategy development process through Tony Grybowski & Associates included consultation with broad range of stakeholders.

“During lockdown periods, many of us drew comfort and joy from reading books, purchasing artworks and well-designed product, watching movies and listening to music all the while knowing that these sectors were among the hardest hit. This strategy aims to address the impacts of COVID-19 and provide a roadmap to enable the region’s creative sector to embrace economic and social growth opportunities,” Ms Cromarty said.

The Victorian Government through Regional Development Victoria was a key partner in the development of the Strategy through funding from Regional Development Australia Committee Barwon South West.

According to the Member for Geelong Christine Couzens, this strategy is an important step.

“The Making Change Creative Industries Strategy recognises the growth and opportunity in the region’s creative industries sector, a sector that has been hit hard during the pandemic. I wish to congratulate the collaboration of eight local organisations who have driven this project to completion,” Ms Couzens said.

The creative industries sector employs 8.1 percent of the Australian workforce with recent data showing that employment in the creative industries grew at three times the rate of the Australian workforce (The 2020 A New Approach report).

Next steps for the strategy is the formation of a taskforce to oversee implementation.

To read the Strategy documents visit the Committee for Geelong’s website under ‘Current Initiatives’.

*To read ‘Making Change – Creative Industries Strategy for the G21 Region – click here

*To read Case for Support – click here

*To read the Consultant’s Report – click here

The following quotes may be attributed to relevant Project Steering Committee members:

G21 Geelong Region Alliance – Giulia Baggio, CEO

The G21 region has always had a substantial body of artists, musicians and creators of all types – and there are many new arrivals due to the great ‘COVID migration’. This strategy will help our creatives flourish, bringing together talent and ideas and establishing spaces to allow creativity of all kinds to take place at the centre of our communities. 

Geelong Gallery – Jason Smith, Director & CEO

As an organisation that responds to and supports the growth of collaborative and interdisciplinary creative thinking and practices, Geelong Gallery looks forward to helping lead the implementation of this timely strategy.  Artists, cultural producers and creatives ‘Making Change’ will ensure that the creative industries, in all their complexity and diversity, will be seen as essential to the senses of self, community, wonder and well-being that support our daily lives.

Geelong Arts Centre – Joel McGuinness, CEO and Creative Director

I am delighted be a part of the development of the ‘Making Change’ Creative Industries Strategy. The framework guides a strategic and coordinated approach between audiences, organisations and creatives, facilitating the ongoing growth of the Creative Industries economy in Geelong and the G21 region.

Geelong Regional Library Corporation – Vanessa Schernickau, CEO

Geelong Regional Libraries has been proud to collaborate with our partners and contribute to the development of this important strategy, that will be key to the recovery of our regions’ diverse creative industries in the coming years. We look forward to the implementation phase and to playing a key role in our region’s COVID-19 recovery, for the benefit of creatives and everyone in our communities.

Platform Arts – Ilana Russell, Executive Producer

This collaboration and shared vision with our creative colleagues has resulted in a strategy that will be crucial to our region’s post-Covid recovery. Platform Arts are looking forward to the implementation of this strategy across our creative sector, and opportunities it will bring for artists and organisations alike.

Creative Geelong Inc – Dr Fiona Lee, Chair

As an organisation re-emerging in a new form, Creative Geelong is excited to have access to this critical document, and proud to be involved in its development.  The value to our region lies in its use as a practical tool for all creative players in the sector. 

Back to Back Theatre – Tim Stitz, Co-CEO & Executive Producer

Back to Back Theatre is a company that embraces the bold and diverse, so it is fantastic to see the release of this Strategy and its vision for a further integrated creative industries sector in the Geelong region, in which we are proudly and deeply rooted. We are thrilled to have been a part of it and we look forward to continuing to move this important work forward together for our shared community.

Jennifer Cromarty, Creative Industries Strategy Project Steering Committee Chair & CEO, Committee for Geelong
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