In 2020 the Sunshine Coast Arts Foundation and Sunshine Coast Council conducted a joint research project to understand what residents value.

The research aimed to increase participation in arts on the Sunshine Coast and develop audiences for specific art forms. The research report can be downloaded here.

The project included interviews, online focus groups and an online survey and was a key outcome of the Sunshine Coast Arts Plan 2018-2038. 

Sunshine Coast Arts Foundation Chair, Professor Jennifer Radbourne said the research was an investment in the region’s artists and arts audiences post COVID-19.

“The coronavirus lockdown devastated the arts and cultural sector, shutting down exhibitions and performances across Australia,” Prof Radbourne said.

“Venues closed, festivals and shows were cancelled, jobs lost for artists, tech crews, venue managers and more.

“This research provides invaluable data and strategies for arts organisations on the Sunshine Coast to build a strong and vibrant future for artists, for audiences and for our community.”

Community Portfolio Councillor Rick Baberowski said the research helps us to better understand how to boost local audiences and enhance the profile of the Sunshine Coast as an arts and cultural tourism destination.

“With our population set to grow to around 500,000 in the next two decades, I believe the arts will play an ever increasing role in communicating and strengthening how we see ourselves as a community now and in coming years,” Cr Baberowski said.

“It is hoped that this research will support the development of more open arts experiences and participation, and provide opportunities for intelligently brave, locally produced content to be exported way beyond our region.

“As a part of our healthy, smart and creative vision for the Sunshine Coast, we aspire to have arts embedded in our everyday life, so finding out who our various arts audiences are, what they want and how they like to find out about them helps us continue to deliver this vision.”

The research was conducted by Patternmakers, an organisation with vast experience in audience development, particularly in regional Australia.

The final research report was delivered in August and made available to venues, festivals and artists across the region to support programming and marketing.

For more information on the Sunshine Coast Arts Plan 2018-2038 visit the Council website.

Image: Horizon Festival 2019, Live and Local Sundays. Photo ben vos productions.