I’m going to type very fast here as the opening of the 2014 Regional Arts Australia Summit is almost a real thing. It’s been made almost real by the many inspirational, talented and creative folks I have been working with for the past 2 years in my role as Artistic Director. And it will also be made real by all those who join in the action – sharing their perspectives, asking challenging questions or trying something out for the first time. That’s one of the things they don’t tell you about working in community arts: how often you find yourself creating, experimenting and learning – with an audience watching on. There’s no hiding from yourself when it’s your job to inspire others. You have to dive in, and do it with such fearlessness you know everyone else will follow.

So I’m really proud I’m part of an event that recognises, celebrates and encourages that kind of creative fearlessness. It’s something professional artists face every time they put a price tag on a finished piece. But it’s also something we all face when we’re creating – having the courage to try, to risk failure, in the pursuit of what feels right and true for us, or for our projects.

For those coming to the Summit, we’ve worked very hard to create a program that truly captures the experiences, challenges and rewards of life as a community arts worker. We get you, and we hope you will get right into the swing of things and take a few risks. You’ll definitely be among friends! The other thing I wanted to mention just quickly is how excited I’m that so many of you will be experiencing Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s landscape, heritage and culture for the first time. It’s no surprise to me now that so many artists live here. Whatever your medium or message, this landscape is open to endless interpretations.

In the spirit of sharing, here is some of the artwork I have produced (in collaboration with Kate Fielding, Dhona Shintaningrum and Linda Marlina) in my time in Kalgoorlie-Boulder. And for those who are wondering, no, I cannot imagine leaving this landscape any time soon. These images will help explain why.

#bestdressed at lake ballard

 

#bestdressed at lake ballard

#bestdressed at lake ballard

Slideshow below.

Photos by Dhona Shintaningrum, Kate Fielding and Ben Fox.

BenFox-artistic-director

Ben Fox Artistic Director Regional Arts Australia Summit

I’m very happy to welcome you to my hometown of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, on Wongatha land. I love living in Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the Goldfields for many reasons, including the layers of heritage, the striking landscape, the energetic creative industries and the feeling of constant change and possibility. It is very exciting to be able to share this with you.

In 2014 the Summit is about Arts & Edges. We Australians thrive on the edges of our country, but as you know many of us also live and work away from the coastal fringe, in our nation’s heart. At the core of Arts & Edges is three questions: What is at the centre? What is at the edges? And what are the possibilities? To spark up the fire of these ideas we have invited leading artists, thinkers and community innovators to share their approaches and work with us.

I am humbled and delighted by the epic support for the Summit, firstly from the artists and other cultural workers—the Summit is only possible because of you leaders. I note too the important leadership shown by our project partners, who understand the value of cultivating and investing in arts and cultural development. Our audiences are the final part of the magic, committing to a ticket in a leap of faith, taking a risk by seeing a fresh show, joining a workshop and a new creative experience or simply sharing the street-festival love and taking a few hot selfies with new friends.

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I found this wonderful fire recovery study via Twitter the other day via @Samsamum. It’s a wonderful example of crowd sourcing and collaborative creative practice. I particularly appreciate the clear visual instructions and elegant construction. The results are cool and getting a lot of media attention and developing daily.

Nerds for Nature is bringing together environmental professionals with technologists and designers, first in dialogue and then to collaboratively create awesome new tools to help people discover, protect, and understand the world around them”

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Here is all their press / web coverage

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Thanks Rebecca Brewen @BecBrewin for the pics from this article on #KBVID (Kalgoorlie Boulder VideoClip)

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The Arts & Edges highlights launch was a huge success! The response has been overwhelming and positive. We had so much web traffic our site was temporarily overloaded.

You can register early here

Stream the launch videos here ( you just need to give email and name to register)

Or if you are more inclined to read and have a text adventure download transcripts of my highlights speech from the links below. .

ADSummitHighlightsLaunchspeechRAAsummit (PDF)

ADSummitHighlightsLaunchspeechRAAsummit (RTF)