Update December 2018

Welcome to the Creative Barkly Project Update for December 2018. We have had a very busy few months since our last update, and have finally completed our data collection for the project!

Field Trips September-October: Sarah and our partner Robin Gregory from RDANT divided their efforts to undertake a final data collection push in Ali Curung, Arlparra and Ampilatwatja. Previous attempts to visit these communities had been difficult due to bad weather and other factors, so we were were very happy to finally spend some time at Arlpwe Art and Culture Centre during their Traditional Dance Festival; Artists of Ampilatwatja, on the back of their highly successful Desert Mob and Darwin Art Fair exhibitions; and Urapuntja Aboriginal Corporation and Arlparra School, who helped us immensely by sharing their knowledge of the arts activity in Utopia homelands. We are extremely grateful to those communities for welcoming us so warmly.

Data Analysis: We are still working through the huge amount of data from the survey (now sitting at 119 respondents from across the key Barkly communities), our field trips from the past two years, and the incredibly rich body of corporate data from our partner organisations. From the data so far, we are seeing some fascinating stories emerging about the ecology of the arts sector in the Barkly, and our four case studies: Barkly Regional Arts, the Desert Harmony Festival, Arlpwe Art and Culture Centre, and the non-arts organisations delivering arts-based programs and activities in the Barkly. This is a lengthy and on-going process, and we are very grateful to our Advisory Committee and critical friends who have been helping us along the way with their insights.

17th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance:  Brydie presented an overview of the Creative Barkly project at the symposium, which was hosted by WAAPA (6-9 December). The presentation was well received, with delegates particularly interested in the scope and methodology of the project (see pic below).

Men and boys at the Harmony Traditional Dance Festival, Ali Curung; Brydie presenting at the Symposium 

Plans Going Forward – Following on from the September-October field trips, the team has met to discuss plans for the final phase of the project. Key decisions going forward include:

  • Round table discussions in March 2019 with partners and advisers that will draw together findings from our data analysis, and form the basis for our final reporting.The report will consist of a suite of outputs for different audiences and contexts, including the full ARC report, a summary brochure, and a series of plain language reports that synthesize key findings and recommendations.

  • Regional Roadshow into Tennant Creek and Barkly Communities to share findings and recommendations from the research, and workshop key priorities and possible action plans with artists and stakeholders. Dates and locations for the roadshow TBC.


Update July 2018

Welcome to the Creative Barkly Project Update for July 2018. Those of you with a keen eye will notice that we skipped our update for February 2018. This is because we have been super busy with preliminary data analysis and case study fieldwork. Here is all the latest from those activities…

Field trip November 2017: This was a short trip out to Alice Springs for some meetings and interviews with sector professionals from Desart, ICTV and a planned trip to Arlparra that we unfortunately had to cancel due to poor weather.
Preliminary data analysis: Building on the preliminary report, the team started the process of developing codes for analysing the data, and finding emerging themes and trends. A huge thanks to the Creative Barkly “brains trust” for looking over our code book and helping us to refine our approach. This process is on-going, and we will stay in touch. We hope to share some more results with you all in the coming months.
Case study field research May-June: We have identified four case studies from the mapping phase, which will be Barkly Regional Arts as a whole organisation; the Desert Harmony Festival; Arlpwe Art and Culture Centre in Ali Curung; and the voluntary arts sector. Sarah travelled out to the Barkly for three weeks in May-June this year to commence the case study research in Tennant Creek, and strengthen relationships in Ampilatwatja and Arlparra (Utopia Homelands). This coincided with the Barkly Artist Camp, which drew artists from all over the region to Tennant Creek for their annual sharing of skills. Sarah also presented preliminary findings from the project at the Developing Northern Australia Conference in Alice Springs (18-19 June), where the project was received with interest.
Conference on Cultural Economics 26-29 June: Sandy O’Sullivan also presented our approach and preliminary findings at the 20th International Conference on Cultural Economics hosted by RMIT in Melbourne. This was a great opportunity for us to explore current thinking around the tensions and intersections between creativity and economics, and network with leaders in the field.

Elaine_ArtistCamp  Ampilatwatja   Carvings_Ampil
Elaine Sandy at the BRA Artist Camp  Artists of Ampilatwatja Art Centre  Men’s carving at Ampilatwatja
Plans Going Forward

  • Undertaking field trips in August and September to coincide with Desert Harmony Festival in Tennant Creek, and the Traditional Dance Festival in Ali Curung. This will be an intensive phase of data collection for the case studies.

  • Continuing data analysis, which will be an on-going, iterative process from now until the end of the year.

  • Developing publications and outputs that will include a position paper, and a literature review for inclusion in academic journals. The team will also continue consultations with stakeholders and sector representatives to establish a plan for outputs that can be used by communities and organisations. We welcome your thoughts at any stage about what would be useful for the sector in this regard, please get in touch!

Update October 2017

Welcome to the Creative Barkly Project Update for October 2017. The year is rapidly marching to a close and we have much to report from our extensive field research that happened during July-August.

Field Trip July/August: The team spent nearly five weeks in the Barkly Region, launching the survey for individual artists and creative producers at the Tennant Creek Show on 14th July. There was a fantastic response to our stall at the Show, with many people coming by to visit us and complete the survey on site. It was a great opportunity to publicize the project and achieve a groundswell of community support. In the weeks following the Show, the team continued to conduct surveys face-to-face with artists at Barkly Regional Arts, Nyinkka Nyunyu, other sites around Tennant Creek, and in the communities of Marlinja, Elliott, Mungkarta and Ali Curung. During this time, we also recorded  interviews with some key representatives from arts and non-arts organisations delivering arts programs in the region. These included Nyinkka Nyunyu, Arlpwe Art and Culture Centre (Ali Curung), the Red Cross, the Women’s Shelter and Barkly Regional Arts. The surveys continued over the Desert Harmony Festival, with artists participating from all over the region. The team set up the Creative Barkly stall in sites around the festival, and even outside the local food barn.  At the time of writing, there have been 104 surveys completed, which is a great response, given the low number and sparseness of the population as a whole.

LindaNNTShirt  McCarthy1  KirstyEberl
Linda Aplin at Nyinkka Nyunyu      Gerry and Dawn McCarthy (L) and Kirsty Eberl (R) at the CB Stall

Plans Going Forward – Following on from the July/August field trip, the team has met to discuss outcomes from the survey implementation and potential case studies for the next phase. Key decisions going forward include:


  • Preparing a preliminary report for project partners and stakeholders from the 104 survey responses gathered so far. This report will detail early findings and emerging themes, and will help the team to identify where there may still be gaps. The survey will continue into early 2018 in order to respond to these.

  • Undertaking a short field trip in November 2017 that will be focused on conducting sector interviews in Alice Springs with representatives from organisations such as Desart, IRCA, and Artback NT, as well as building further relationships in Ampilatwatja and Utopia for further implementation of the survey.

  • Identifying case studies for the next phase of the project. These will be determined by the team in the coming months based on findings from the survey, and criteria that will enable a representative cross section of cultures, art forms and approaches to be addressed through the research. We look forward to commencing fieldwork for the case studies early in the new year.

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