Diversity and the regional arts sector

Key administrators of arts in regional Australia speak about diversity in the regional arts sector and reflect on why we think of it as monocultural.
People gathering at Artlands 2023, hosted by Regional Arts Australia. Image is diverse people sitting around a dinner table with a white cloth. One of them is holding up a phone taking a selfie.

In September 2023, this writer had the privilege of attending Regional Arts Australia’s (RAA) Artlands in Canberra. The immense cultural diversity in that room was testament to the diversity of artists and arts workers in the regions.

RAA reports that, in the past year, 12% of its total funding submissions have been from people who identify as Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) and 8% as First Nations. Yet the view of regional Australia is still largely one of a homogenous culture with homogenous political views, lifestyles and education. 

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Dr Görkem Acaroğlu is a theatre director, writer and dramaturg, an interdisciplinary artist, educator and diversity consultant. She has over 25 years experience making all forms of theatre, privileging marginalised and lesser heard perspectives and artists. She has worked as Arts Participation Manager at City of Melbourne, Program Producer at Fed Square, Art and Performance Lecturer at Deakin University and Artistic Director and Programmer of The Mechanics Institute in Brunswick from 2013-2017 when her theatre company, Metanoia Theatre, won a tender to convert the then hall-for-hire into a contemporary arts space.