The Creative Ecologies Project

The Creative Ecologies Project is an ambitious initiative investigating what makes Australia’s creative landscapes tick. It seeks to answer questions about what conditions are required for thriving creative communities. The outcome of the project will be the development of a framework and resource for practitioners and policymakers. The aim is to expand the ways we value creative exertion in our society.

Regional Australia is a profound place of innovation and invention, which is why it's the initial focus of the Creative Ecologies Project. Participants at Artlands Victoria will have the opportunity to contribute leading up to, during and after the conference. You will be able to share your experiences, discuss the project findings and inform the development of the resource.

The Creative Ecologies Project is an initiative of Future Tense, delivered in partnership with Artlands Victoria, RMIT University, Ludowyk Evaluation and Clear.


Arts and culture are generally accepted among policymakers as public goods, but there is no consensus on how they should be valued. Most of the indicators used to measure creative exertion are economic – numbers of jobs created, tickets sold or contributions to GDP. This captures the monetary value, but what about the other benefits, like health and wellbeing, community resilience and happiness? Is creative activity merely a means to achieve these goals or an end in itself? What are the unintended consequences of valuing creative activity in monetary terms alone?

There seems to be broad agreement that healthy creative ecologies are a good thing. But what does a thriving creative ecology look like? What are its constituent parts? What drives its activity? What environments promote it? How are they identified? And how are they connected?

The Creative Ecologies Project aims to answer these questions and provide a resource for practitioners and policymakers to use in building support for their work.


Your voice is critical. You will soon have the opportunity to contribute your perspectives and insights via an online survey. Details will be posted here and shared with registrants once the survey is open.

The discussions at Artlands Victoria will get into the detail of what a creative ecology actually is and the levers we can pull to make them thrive. The goal is to advance a collective understanding of what creative ecologies can be – sharing knowledge, experience and insight – and speculating on the possibilities they present.