Definition and Principles of Community Arts & Cultural Development

What is Community Arts & Cultural Development and Principles of Community Arts & Cultural Development are two fact sheets published by Creating Australia as a guide to practice and a helpful explanatory tool for artists and organisations to use when describing their work to those outside the sector.

definition image Principles of Community Arts + Cultural Deveopment



Accessing the Arts – A collection of practical checklists and information sheets for arts and cultural organisations to assist in improving access and developing audiences. It is highly recommended that a professional access consultant be used if you are making any structural or major building changes.

Action plans and action plan guides – links to Registered Disability Discrimination Act action plans with implementation reports and resources on developing an action plan.

Arts Access Australia – a collection of resources focusing on disability and the arts including a list of organisations; advice sheets;  Submissions by Arts Access Australia; Case Studies; Research; Reports and other publications.

Dot to Dot – This Resource was created as a starting point for people wanting to learn more about community cultural development, working with young people with and without disability in an arts context, and the South Australian disability arts sector. Published by the Restless Dance Company. (2005)

interACT Resource Kit –  A comprehensive online resource kit to raise awareness about integrated performance. The kit includes workshop plans and case studies from organisations and disability services across regional and metropolitan New South Wales, outlining the practice of working in an integrated performance setting. interACT is available to read online, or for free download as a PDF, Word document or Large Print Word document. It will assist those who want to work in the field of integrated performance with tools and techniques that have been tried and tested. Developed by Powerhouse Youth Theatre in partnership with the Accessible Arts Western Sydney project


Advocacy Toolkit: #culturematters – This Advocacy Toolkit from Arts Council England is designed to help you reach out to audiences to tell a story about the value and impact of public investment in arts and culture, from both a local and national perspective.

Arts Nation: An Overview of Australian Arts 2015 Australia Council for the Arts report which provides evidence as a catalyst for informed discussion about arts and culture in Australia. Arts Nation will be evolving report which fills a critical gap by creating and interpreting a set of national indicators to increase understanding of the Australian arts industry.

The Arts Ripple Effect – Valuing the Arts in Communities – was produced by Castanet with the support of Arts Victoria and the Australia Council for the Arts. Includes narrative and case studies that present a credible case for supporting the arts in our communities – it is an evidence based advocacy tool to articulate the social and economic value of arts participation and investment.

The Case for Creativity: The importance of investing in creativity for community development – Digital resource for artists, arts workers and arts organisations to help communicate the value of supporting creative communities. Developed for the Arts Matters Workshops presented in Rockhampton, Townsville and Gympie in June 2012 by Artslink Queensland.

Community Character: How arts and cultural strategies create, reinforce, and enhance sense of place – American Planning Association briefing paper investigating the importance of arts and cultural strategy to community sense of place. Key points: Understanding Community Context; Reinforcing Sense of Place: Celebrating Community Character; Local Implementation Framework; Arts and Cultural Programming.

IFACCA Good Practice Guide on Arts Advocacy –  aims to assist anyone interested in promoting the value of the arts by  providing a range of topics that can be developed as persuasive arts advocacy arguments, suggestions about good campaign practice, a selection of arts advocacy campaign case studies, and links to other resources.

Making Culture Count: Rethinking measures of cultural vitality, wellbeing and citizenship – archival website of an international conference presented by the Cultural Development Network and The Centre for Cultural Partnerships, Faculty of the VCA and Music, University of Melbourne in 2012. The conference looked at measuring activities in a cultural context; how cultural indicators alongside economic, social and environmental measures support sustainable development, wellbeing, heritage and diversity and what role cultural indicators play in globalisation and distinctiveness?

Arts and Health

Disseminate – an action-based evaluation, research and publishing project that aims to collect and share resources for the arts and health sectors. Disseminate evidences the benefits of community-based participation in the arts, offering case studies, best practice, evaluation tools and approaches that can serve practitioners, academics and policy makers.

Business and Marketing Skills

Auspicious Arts Incubator webinar series – This business and marketing resource published on the Department of Culture and the Arts (WA) comes out of two seminars hosted by the department’s Young People and the Arts team,  ArtsEdge, and presented by John Paul Fischbach from Auspicious Arts Incubator in Melbourne.

Business Planning Guide for Social Enterprises – Published by Social Ventures Australia and Parramatta City Council.  Step-by-step guide researching and developing a social enterprise. Including creating a rigorous business plan; obtaining support; securing investment and monitoring and evolving the enterprise.

National Arts Marketing Project – broad range of tools and resources for arts marketers published by Americans for the Arts.

The Marketing Media & Post Centre –  established by Our Community and Australia Post to provide community groups with the resources and tools to develop and spread their message to the wider community, and to build greater public awareness and support.


Some of the educational providers that offer courses for  people interested in gaining tertiary qualifications in Community Arts and Cultural Development (CACD) practice or including a CACD component in their course of study.

  • Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne offers post graduate coursework and research degrees in Community Cultural Development.
  • Sydney TAFE, St George School of Fine Art  offers a Certificate IV Arts Administration specialising in Community Arts and Cultural Development.
  • RMIT  offers Community Arts Management as an elective in their  Master of Arts (Arts Management).
  • Deakin University – Master of Arts and Cultural Management Program
  • Community Arts Western Australia (CAN WA) – Community Engagement and Cultural Planning Course – provides skills development in creative community engagement and cultural planning with a focus on the local government sector.

Cultural Protocol

‘Don’t let the Sport and Rec. officer get hold of it’: Indigenous festivals, big aspirations and local knowledge This paper discusses the findings of a three-year study that examined the impact of Australian Indigenous cultural festivals on community and youth well being that revealed a need to promote and support public spaces, such as Indigenous cultural festivals, that foster culturally appropriate, localised and stable Indigenous control and ‘authorship’.

Pathways and Protocols – A filmmaker’s guide to working with Indigenous people, culture and concepts written by Terri Janke and published by Screen Australia (2009)

Respecting Cultures – Working with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community and Aboriginal Artists written by Jim Everett for Arts Tasmania (2009)

The Australia Council for the Arts has published a detailed set of protocol guides for artists and organisations working with Indigenous Australian artists.

Evaluations | Case Studies

Community Arts Case Studies – Case Studies of Community Arts Projects partnerships with other organisations published by Creative Partnerships Australia

Disseminate – an action-based evaluation, research and publishing project that aims to collect and share resources for the arts and health sectors. Disseminate evidences the benefits of community-based participation in the arts, offering case studies, best practice, evaluation tools and approaches that can serve practitioners, academics and policy makers

Evaluation of the Creative Recovery Pilot Project that assisted recovery through arts and cultural activities in three of the Queensland communities most affected by the 2011 natural disasters – Cassowary Coast, Ipswich and Lockyer Valley. (December, 2012)

Naked Practice – Outcomes of two Community Arts Projects in Regional Western Australia published by Community Arts Network Western Australia (CAN WA)

Young people and arts practice: impact, evaluation and the third space. A better way forward 

Governance & Legals

Arts Law Centre of Australia  Australia’s independent national community legal centre for the arts, a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee.  It provides free or low cost specialised legal advice, education and resources to Australian artists and arts organisations across all art forms, on a wide range of arts related legal and business matters. Arts Law’s Artists in the Black program delivers targeted services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists nationally.

Australian Copyright Council – Provides easily accessible and affordable practical, user-friendly information, legal advice, education and forums on Australian copyright law for content creators and consumers.

Getting on Board: A Governance Resource for Arts Organisations –  a resource to develop governance capability in the arts sector. Includes the fundamentals of good governance practice, as well as organisational learning, planning for effective board meetings and boardroom dynamics. Published by Creative New Zealand, Arts Council New Zealand Toi Aotearoa (4rd Edition, 2014)

Indigenous Governance Toolkit – A comprehensive collection of text, visual and audio resources about ways to customise governance to suit local and culturally diverse situations.

On Board: Serving on the Boards of an Arts Organisation – by David Fishel for the Australia Council for the Arts. On Board is a short, easy-to-read guide to the basics of governance for arts organisations. It provides brief notes and checklists on a range of aspects of a board’s operations, including legal and financial responsibilities, the relationship with the CEO, strategic and financial planning, and recruitment and induction of members. A useful resource for those serving on boards and for staff of arts organisations who work closely with their chairs and board members.

Raw Law. Your art, Your rights – Produced by Arts Access Victoria and Arts Law Centre of Australia Raw Law. Your art. Your rights is a guide about legal issues for artists. It provides accessible legal information on arts law issues for people with disabilities and for organisations working with people with disabilities.

The Risk Management Toolkit – will help managers, administrators, and boards to develop and implement a risk management strategy. The toolkit should be read alongside Getting on Board: A governance resource guide for arts organisations.

This toolkit will help you to:

  • identify and understand risk factors for your organisation
  • create a risk management policy
  • manage and monitor the risks you have identified

Solid Arts – online resource with free legal tools, practical advice and links to other sites. This website was produced by Arts Law Centre of Australia and contains resources about respecting and protecting Indigenous intellectual property including a number of audio and video case studies.

Viscopy Knowledge Centre – visual artist’s copyright, resale royalty and cultural fund opportunities.

Literature | Research

The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies – Published by the National Endowment for the Arts  this research report examines the academic and civic behaviour outcomes of teenagers and young adults who have engaged deeply with the arts in or out of school. (2012)

Arts and Culture in Western Australian Local Government – published by the Chamber of Arts and Culture WA and Community Arts Network Western Australia. The report looks into the activities and perspectives of WA local governments in the area of arts and culture.

Art in Prisons – A literature review of the philosophies and impacts of visual arts programs for correctional populations. Written by Alexandra Djurichkovic for Arts Access Australia and No3 in University of Technology Sydney’s Shopfront Student Series.

Arts Nation – An Overview of Australian Arts is a new report published by the Australia Council for the Arts which provides evidence as a catalyst for informed discussion about arts and culture in Australia. It will be an evolving report which fills a critical gap by creating and interpreting a set of national indicators to increase our understanding of the Australian arts industry. (2015)

Community arts and appropriate internet technology : participation, materiality, and the ethics of sustainability in the digitally networked era – This PhD thesis by Pip Shea for the Queensland University of Technology delivers new knowledge about how Australian community arts practices of appropriate technology are shifting due to the internet. It reconfigures the sector’s incumbent ethics of sustainability in response to emerging concerns about how the internet’s material politics are affecting cultural participation. (2014)

Community Arts and Cultural Development: A Powerful Tool for Social Transformation – Research Masters Thesis by Pilar Kasat.

Community Based Arts Organisations – A new centre of gravity – This paper was published by Americans for the Arts Animating Democracy program and discusses small and mid-sized community-based arts organisations who offer artistic excellence and innovation, astute leadership connected to community needs, and important institutional and engagement models for the arts field. This essay underscores the crucial contributions of this segment of cultural organizations in the cultural ecosystem and toward achieving healthy communities and a healthy democracy.

Connecting Communities and the Environment through Media: Doing, Saying and Seeing Along Traditional Knowledge Revival Pathways – Peta-Marie Standley, Nicola J. Bidwell, Tommy George Senior, Victor Steffensen and Jacqueline Gothe, This paper shows how an Indigenous led initiative reaches across geographical and cultural gulfs by using digital media in ways that are profoundly embedded in the values associated with specific places. (2009)

Digital Storytelling and co-creative media: the role of community arts and media in propagating and coordinating population-wide creative practice – Queensland University of Technology Creative Industries Faculty research project that looked at the challenge that digital media and user led innovation brought to Community arts, community broadcasting and Indigenous media producers. The project tested how existing infrastructure and new media affordances could be combined to stimulate broad-based innovation through creative participation.

The Griffith Review – Cultural Solutions – This edition of the Griffith Review explores new ways people are working together and solving social problems that governments and other organisations have struggled with. (2014)

Local Councils, the Arts and Reconciliation – This report explores ways the local councils in Victoria are contributing to reconciliation in their communities by using the arts as a vehicle. It focuses on the policies that underpin Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander arts activities of 79 councils, and finds that local governments play an increasingly important reconciliation role. Developed in an internship undertaken by Emma Asscher at CDN in 2014, as part of her Graduate Certificate in Arts (Sociology) at the University of Melbourne. (2015)

Making people’s stories matter: a reflective case study of a community arts project with a group of migrant women cleaners – This research paper by  UNSW Masters student Rose Costello examines historical and contemporary approaches to community art and community cultural development practice.

The Role Of Participatory Arts In Social Change In Timor-Leste –  Phd Thesis by Kim Frances Dunphy, Deakin University, 2013

Social Impact of Participating in the Arts and Cultural Activities – Research & literature review on social impacts of participation in arts and cultural activity. Files include Excel spreadsheet of literature, plus Word document report for Stage Two. Published by Arts Tasmania and Australian Expert Group in Industry Studies of the University of Western Sydney.

Supporting Healthy Communities Through Arts Programs – Supporting healthy communities through arts programs. Resource sheet no. 28. Produced for the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies. (2014)

The value of arts and culture to people and society – an evidence review presenting the latest research on the impact and value of arts and culture on our economy, health and well-being, society and education. Co-authored by Arts Council England’s research team. (2014)

VI INPRINT – This publication grew from young people’s desire to create a lasting record of the ephemeral but significant work that Visual Culture + Social Change organisation Visionary Images has created over the years. It charts over a decades creative social practice of young people and artists collaborating to make public art. Published by Visionary Images. (2009-2011)

Western Sydney is hot! Community arts and changing perceptions of the West  Paper by Christina Ho published in HO, Christina.  Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement (2012)

Yambirrpa – Yuta: In Print A remote Arnhem Land community collaborative youth engagement project – published by The Grad School of Ed., The Uni of Melb. in the UNESCO Observatory Multi-Disciplinary Journal in the Arts this paper talks about the collaborative project between the Yirrkala Community Education Centre and Buku Larrnggay Mulka Art centre which successfully re-engaged young people.

Youth Media as cultural practice: Remote Indigenous youth speak out loud – Inge Kral

Government Policies

Creative Australia – National Cultural Policy launched on 13 March 2013

NSW Government Cultural Policy – It is currently reviewing its cultural policy in relation to support to CACD practice.

Arts Queensland Arts for All Queenslanders Strategy – Drivers of this strategy are ‘growth of the arts sector’ and ‘foster a community of arts’. Consultation to develop this strategy has commenced with the publication of a discussion starter and an invitation to respond to proposed strategy action areas.

Arts Tasmania/ Tourism Historic Heritage Tourism Strategy (2012-2015) – This strategy aims to guide and develop the potential of Tasmania’s historic heritage in order to increase Tasmania’s appeal as a tourism destination, deliver benefits on local communities and contribute to the economic growth of the state.

Arts NT Indigenous Arts Strategy Building Strong Arts Business (2003-2009) – This focuses on Government programs and services to grow and strengthen the Northern Territory’s Indigenous arts sector.

Arts NT Public Art Policy (2006) – A policy that embraces public art as rich, multi-layered interpretation of the Northern Territory;s built and cultural heritage, natural environment and dynamic community represented through innovative, excellent and relevant artistic practice in well-designed community spaces.

Arts NT Review of Theatre and Performance in the Northern Territory (Aug 2008) – A report compiled by Consultant Justin Macdonnell for the Northern Territory Government and the Australia Council for the Arts that reviews the theatre sector in the Northern Territory to obtain independent advice to inform future funding decision and program strategies.

Arts NT Arts Lives – Summary of Responses to Discussion Paper (2009) – The feedback report offered to Arts Lives which looked at Northern Territory Government investment in the arts.

Arts SA – South Australia’s Strategic Plan is compromised of 100 targets, including those around cultural vibrancy and the arts.

Arts ACT Policy Framework – sets out ideas central to the ACT Government ‘s recognition of the importance of the arts. The Framework identifies arts priorities and key principles for the Government and enables arts ACT and the arts community to respond flexibly to the dynamic nature of the sector.

Arts Victoria Cultural Diversity Action Plan (2012-2020) – It is a coordinated set of actions that will sharpen Arts Victoria’s approach to culturally sensitive service delivery. Along with other key access and equity initiatives, it is engaging directly with people across the State to ensure that all Victorians can participate in and benefit from an arts rich and culturally vital State.

Arts Victoria Disability Action Plan (2009-2013) – Arts Victoria is currently revising its Disability Action Plan (DAP) for release in mid-2014. While this process is occurring, Arts Victoria continues to implements actions from the AV DAP 2009-13.

Arts Victoria Research Program – Monitors trends in the cultural sector, evaluate performance, measure outcomes and investigate in-depth key and emerging issues and initiatives. Arts Victoria’s research plan provides a comprehensive framework for the research program. Includes research report and policy documents.

Creating Value: An arts and culture sector policy framework. (2010-2014) – WA Department of Culture and Arts is currently piloting a new framework for measuring public value in arts.

Guides | Tool kits

Artslink Queensland – an online resource of practical tools and templates, information and ideas relating to the development of community arts

ArtWorks Code of Practice –  Common code of practice for artists working in participatory settings. The code was developed  by ArtWorks a Paul Hamlyn Foundation special initiative which spent four years exploring how policy makers, artists, funders, employers, commissioners and training providers in the United Kingdom can build on our rich tradition of participatory arts. (2014)

BE wAy Toolkit – Developed by Beyond Empathy to provide artists, community development and support workers with an understanding of how the arts can be used as a powerful individual and community development tool.

Change Media – Website toolkit developed by Change Media for CACD digital media producers covering Development|Pre-Production|Production|Post Production|Distribution|Impact.

Appropriate Approaches to Online Community – Field guide  published by Pip Shea to promote critical approaches to online community building and encourage the continuation of creative practices beyond community arts projects.

Co-Creating Knowledge Online  – Field guide published by Pip Shea for those who are interested in better utilising the Internet to connect, share, and make new knowledge.

CuriousWorks Toolkit – a living resource library for artists, educators, cultural leaders and media makers everywhere. As CuriousWorks implements new projects, they continue to add new ideas, techniques, workshops plans and strategies to this multi-layered guide that covers all aspects of art making in a community context.

The Cultural Development Handbook – Written by one of Australia’s leading arts practitioners, Dr Neil Cameron, this handbook guide takes the reader through everything they need to know about designing arts events in the community.  It covers budgeting, community involvement, theatre, music, the visual arts, dance and much more. It has been written for artists, community activists, government organisers and anyone interesting in producing successful community events

Dream.Plan.Do – This film accompanies the Dream.Plan.Do. publication, a comprehensive ‘how to’ community arts publication, designed to inspire and guide individuals, organisations and communities to get involved in community arts. Seventeen Western Australian and two Polish community artists share their views on working in community arts. Published by Community Arts Network Western Australia.

Evaluating Community Arts and Well Being – Guide, tool kit and worksheets for Community Arts Practitioners to evaluating Community Arts Projects. Developed by VicHealth, Darebin City  Council and the City of Whittlesea.

Growing Communities – arts and culture in local government – Growing Communities is designed to inspire people working in local government, to continue creating community art and cultural development projects. This publication celebrates the work that is taking place within local government in WA telling the stories of ten different projects that have occurred in recent years. Published by Community Arts Network Western Australia.

Making Art with Communities : A Work Guide – step-by-step guide that helps artists and communities navigate the complexities of embarking on community arts projects published by Arts Victoria, Castanet and Vic Health.

Somebody’s Daughter Theatre Company Resources – Various resources for CACD practitioners working with young people around the topics of bullying, drinking, drugs and homelessness. The company has developed these resources over the past 14 years from their creatively led education program for young people outside the mainstream school system, HighWater Theatre.

Springboard Exchange: Resources for Artists and Communities -These resources  have been used by individual artists, arts councils, community organizations, city departments and more to build projects and programs that engage artists and communities in new and exciting ways. No single toolkit is a silver bullet, local adaptations are always encouraged and Springboard believes that these projects work best when people work in partnerships.

Partnerships | Fundraising

Creative Partnerships Australia – facilitates business partnerships, social investment and philanthropy for the cultural and creative sectors.

The Ethics and Drama of Sponsorship – Wesley Enoch, Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre Company, talks about practical and ethical dilemmas for those giving and those receiving non-government financial support. Video published online by Currency House, 2015

Funding Centre – An online grants & fundraising hub. The website and associated tools and newsletters are an initiative of Our Community, a world-leading social enterprise that provides advice, tools and training for Australia’s 600,000 community groups, as well as services for business, government and the general public.

Grant finder – helps you locate Australian Government grants and assistance programs most relevant to your business.

CACD Companies, Organisations & Practitioners

Arts Access Victoria  |  Awesome Arts  |  Banmirria Arts  |  Barkly Regional Arts  |  Beyond Empathy Ltd  |  Big hART Inc  |  Community Arts Network WA Inc  | Country Arts SA  |  Curious Works  | Crossroads Arts DADAA (WA) Inc |  Darwin Community Arts  |  Feral Arts  | Footscray Community Arts CentreICE (Information & Cultural Exchange)  |  Kickstart Arts  | Many Hands International  |  Incite Arts | Milk Crate Theatre  |  Queensland Music Festival  | Red Hot Arts |  Somebody’s Daughter Theatre Company  | Visionary Images

David Paul Jobling