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How the Ipswich creative sector is drawing together

Ipswich City Council is shaping its support for the Ipswich creative sector in 2021 and beyond, after approximately 100 sector representatives were brought together at the Civic Centre on the Friday, 13 November, for the Creators of Ipswich Summit.

Creating a framework for Ipswich’s creative economy was a key next step identified by the attendees of the recent Creators of Ipswich Summit.

The framework would look to support the development of a creative economy allowing aspiring creatives in the city to succeed, and set out how to recognise and support artistic creativity to develop quality outcomes for the city.

About 100 creatives came together at the summit representing a diverse local community of creators including photography, visual art, performing arts, heritage, music, fashion, dance, digital design, film, crafts, architecture, writing and indigenous art.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said that a vibrant creative sector is crucial to the prosperity and liveability of Ipswich, and Council is committed to ensuring creators are supported.  The Summit was one of Mayor’s Harding’s major election commitments.

“We are moving forward with council’s creative strategy, policy and ongoing funding streams to build an ecosystem allowing creatives to succeed, and we are pleased to have the guidance of a broad cross-section of the sector” Mayor Harding said.

“By holding the summit, we were able to ask the community – what are the priorities for local creators?

“Partnerships with the sector will be crucial to unlocking our city’s creative potential, and Council welcomes the opportunity to work with entities and organisations at the State and Commonwealth levels, such as Arts Queensland and Queensland Ballet.”

There were 120 people who responded to a survey run by Dr Ashley Jones from the University of Southern Queensland’s School of Creative Arts prior, one of Council’s initiatives to understand the sector’s needs.

“The results of that survey show us that the local creative community would like a clear framework for Ipswich’s creative economy,” Mayor Harding said.

“It will have a strong strategic focus, including options for funding and future direction led by the community.”

“This will ultimately help foster a path for projects that will enrich the cultural landscape and everyday experiences for residents.”

A panel discussed what’s going on in the Ipswich creative scene and where they believed we were heading.

The panel included Arts Connect president Glen Smith, Arttime Supplies owner Kate Roberts, Arts Alive director Suzanna Matulich, BEMAC program manager Ant McKenna, Pure Arts Communications director Louise Merrington and Indigenous visual artist and theatre maker Kori Besgrove.

The need to come together as a group and work collaboratively for the common good was a resounding suggestion.

A Creator of Ipswich group will be established to keep the community informed of any opportunities to work together.

Mayor Harding also announced the opening of the Ipswich Art Awards for 2021, which will take submissions from 1 December.

An inspirational address by key note speaker Queensland Ballet artistic director and author of Mao’s Last Dancer Li Cunxin focused on rising to challenges presented by a year in which the pandemic shut down performances including Queensland Ballet’s entire season.

Mr Cunxin, whose life has been filled with challenges and triumphs, remains optimistic about the future.

“Always look at the glass as half full,” Mr Cunxin said.

“It’s up to you to share the ideas within your community.

“If you can dare yourself to act, act on your dream, on your ideas, I’m sure the Mayor and her team will back you.”

A warm and sincere thank you to Mr Cunxin for visiting Ipswich was delivered by Cr Andrew Fechner, who surprised the crowd by doing so in mandarin.

Council partnered with USQ and BEMAC to engage the creators of Ipswich community.

See the Creators of Ipswich survey findings here

Watch the Creators of Ipswich Summit 2020 below.

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