'Sustainable future' for Country Arts

After detailed consultation with staff and key stakeholders, Country Arts SA has realigned its staffing structure to ensure it can sustain efforts to create and support art and culture in the regions in the long-term.

Country Arts SA believes access to the arts is a universal right and all regional South Australians deserve a life rich in arts and culture.

Country Arts SA has grown considerably since it opened its doors in 1993 and, in recent years, has been refocusing the organisation's priorities to ensure the creative talents, ideas and energy of regional South Australia is showcased to the world.

Income and investment however have not kept pace with new and existing programs on offer to regional artists and communities.

It is therefore essential to realign the organisation to ensure its sustainability while allowing it to create additional opportunities for regional artists and communities.

"This has been a comprehensive analysis of how we can best move into the future," said Country Arts SA Chief Executive Officer Steve Saffell.

"The process really has been a co-design, with all staff being involved in shaping the new organisation."

"We are fully committed to bringing the art and the stories of regional South Australia to life as seen through projects such as the current touring exhibition Vietnam - One In, All In and new theatre work Euphoria which will premiere in 2020."

As part of the realignment, Country Arts SA will provide more employment opportunities for regional people across all parts of its business; build its capacity to produce new work with communities; and continue to modernise its four regional theatres.

The changes will include:

  • a renewed focus on sourcing alternative income sources
  • building more relationships, partnerships and collaborations that support the arts
  • introducing further administrative efficiencies and investing in sustainable practices
  • employing staff from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences.

Also, Country Arts SA's workforce will be realigned by:

  • including 5 new positions in regional areas
  • re-aligning roles across the regions and in Port Adelaide
  • increasing Aboriginal employment across the organisation towards its target of 10%
  • investing in new systems and technologies that better connect all Country Arts SA sites

"Central to the realignment is the need to increase support and expertise from regional areas," Mr Saffell said.

"As an example each Arts Centre will eventually have a specialist marketing and community engagement officer and a creative producer, in addition to having more local skills in finance, programming and customer experiences."

"In the coming months, we'll be transferring roles from our Port Adelaide office to our Art Centres in order to better reflect the communities in which we work."

The realignment will ultimately see a reduction of the Port Adelaide workforce by approximately 6 full-time equivalent staff.

Mr Saffell said everything possible will be done to look after staff and secure the future for arts in regional SA.

"Our staff are our greatest asset and it is regrettable that the next several months will be a period of significant change and transition that will impact in some way on all staff," he said.

"The changes will be more significant for some than others and we are offering those staff the support they need to take the next step in their career."

"Our new organisation will be sustainable. We will value our regional artists and communities.

"We will present a diversity of arts experiences that are relevant to regional communities and create new art with stories from regional South Australia to share with the rest of the world."

The changes are already underway and are expected to take 12 months to complete.

This story 'Sustainable future' for Country Arts first appeared on Whyalla News.