Creative arts industry vibrant: reports

Clunes filmmaker Cathy Henkel hands over her report to Northern Rivers Regional Development Board executive director, Katrina Luckie.

Clunes filmmaker Cathy Henkel this week delivered three years worth of research into the creative industry sector to the Northern Rivers Regional Development Board, which invested $15,000 towards the study.

Her report, entitled Imagining the Future 2, forms part of her PhD thesis and has found that over 7000 people (or six per cent of the Northern Rivers labour force) are involved in creative industries.

That figure has more than doubled since the first-ever study of the sector was carried out in 2000.

The report found that the Northern Rivers now has a critical mass of creative talent and is increasingly attracting experienced, networked professionals and entrepreneurs from other regions and cities.

Cathy said the data could by used by local groups when advocating or making funding submissions.

We all know theres this huge creative sector, she said. Anecdotally weve known, but now weve got the hard data to back it up.

She said the report would also be used by state and federal agencies to understand how large and vibrant the sector was.

Because they still dont get it.

The official launch of Cathys report last week also marked the announcement of a Memorandum of Understanding between nine North Coast organisations and institutions representing the arts, regional development, arts education and tourism sectors.

The consortium has agreed to work together strategically to develop the local creative industry sector.

Arts Northern Rivers regional arts development officer, Lois Randall, said in the past the organisations had worked in isolation from each other, doing their own strategic plans, which often led to duplication or in some cases competition.

Together we can lobby more effectively, with a united voice to get improved infrastructure, she said.

An example of a future project the consortium might work on was developing a regional online festivals and events directory, she said. Increasing business skills amongst artists was another area of focus.

The beautiful thing about creative industries is they generally have a low environmental impact, she said. So were developing industries that are environmentally friendly.

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