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A place for the arts in rural revitalisation and the social wellbeing of Australian rural communitie
16 Dec 2011

Rural Society   Print ISSN: 1037-1656  Volume: 19 | Issue: 1  Cover date: April 2009 Page(s): 60-70    Keywords: arts, rural community, social wellbeing, culture, capacity, community development, creativity, participation   Abstract: Despite the significance of rural Australia to national identity, many commentators claim that rural Australia is in crisis and suffering from decline as a consequence of economic restructuring and policy reform (Gray & Lawrence 2001; Sonn, Drew & Kasat 2002; Baum, O'Connor & Stimson 2005; Tonts & Atherley 2005). As a result, the social wellbeing of people living in rural Australia has become an issue of major national significance.

Despite a number of commentators suggesting that the arts could play a crucial role in the contribution to the social wellbeing of rural communities, there is an absence of thorough research in this field (Kingma 2002; Matarasso 1997; Mills & Brown 2004; Williams 1995).

The most rigorous research into the benefits and impact of the arts has been conducted with a focus on individual health and wellbeing in a clinical and therapeutic setting. Extensive research in a community setting however is somewhat limited.

This paper demonstrates, through a review of the current literature, the place for the arts in rural revitalisation and therefore, the social wellbeing of a community, directly through tourism, income generation and employment opportunities, and indirectly by enhancing participation and creativity in public decision-making, strengthening community capacity, and strengthening identity and sense of place.

Author(s) affiliations: Institute for Regional Development, University of Western Australia, Crawley WA

Art Community Culture Rural/Regional capacity creativity development participation wellbeing
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