Creative Ecologies

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Creative Ecologies 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.

Creative Ecologies 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. Future Tense are keen to hear from everyone who contributes to a creative community: artists, producers, organisations, funders, policymakers and advocates.

The survey is about building a clear understanding of how Australian creative communities are operating and what they need to thrive. The findings will contribute to the development of new approaches and resources for practitioners and policymakers.