As well as the discussion that took place on the e-forum, a process of community consultation was undertaken in the form of written and telephone surveys. The purpose of the whole consultative process was to obtain the views of the Darebin community regarding the positive aspects of the Strategy’s implementation, the aspects that could be improved and any areas that were not included in that Strategy, but could be.
The views are summarised below:
Format of publications – it was suggested that the ‘What’s on’ could be reviewed to increase an individual’s ability to search for specific information and to read the documents. Benefits of the Artists’ Directory could also be explored and alternative publication formats considered i.e. brochure or poster.
Community involvement – this was considered to be a positive aspect of events and activities. Some respondents suggested that further or continued involvement could be considered in the future.
Cultural activities – diversity of culture/cultural activities were frequently mentioned as a positive aspect of activities and events. Some felt that there may be opportunities to expand culturally-specific activities. There was also a number of people who thought that the Strategy needs to provide more space to discuss cultural diversity and that more work needs to be done with emerging communities from non-English-speaking backgrounds.
Promotion – results of the surveys indicated that there is a lack of awareness about Arts and Cultural events, activities and financial schemes provided by Council. Some respondents suggested promotional strategies such as using radio, posters and Council’s Multicultural Affairs Unit.
Calendar of Events and Location – a few people thought that there was a need to consider when the Darebin Festival was held as the change in date to March meant that it was very close to many other events. Respondents were interested in having events and activities located close to where they lived.
There was a range of suggestions about other activities that could be organised, many that were specific events, activities and festivals. General themes were: expansion of cultural activities, diversifying music programs and festivals, expanding arts activities and inclusion of activities for families and children.
Some people thought that there may be duplication of some Council arts and cultural activities by some local community groups/organisations and that perhaps Council could auspice these groups so that they can carry out some of those activities, with Council tasking on a promotional role. These groups could either focus activities on a “current” issue, with the focus changing either bi-annually or quarterly or the community could suggest the issue.
There was positive feedback regarding the growth of Darebin as an arts precinct and regarding Council’s endeavours to balance activities in the northern and southern parts of the municipality.
Thank you to everyone who contributed their time and energy into participating in the community consultation. A new Strategy is being developed and will be made available soon.