Mornington Peninsula Shire Case Study

Creating an inclusive cultural economy for the Peninsula

“The importance of arts and culture was highly regarded and recognised, particularly in improving health and wellbeing, strengthening the local economy and connecting individuals to others in the community."

~ Key Outcome

The Project

Conversation Caravan was engaged by Mornington Peninsula Shire to support with the design and part delivery of an engagement program to inform the development of its Arts and Culture Plan 2019 – 2022. When endorsed the Arts and Cultural Plan 2019–2022 will guide investment and delivery of services to support arts and cultural planning and development. Delivery of the Arts and Cultural Plan 2019 – 2022 will support the Shire to create a healthy, happy, inclusive and active community through alignment with the Council Plan 2017-2021.

The Mornington Peninsula Shire is an intricate blend of semi-rural landscapes, coastal towns with seasoned holiday makers and a stable base of young families and retirees living in the area. Each segment has different needs and aspirations when it comes to arts and culture, the disparity of ages and wealth alone across the Shire means prioritisation placed on arts and culture is also varied.

Conversation Caravan designed a place-based approach to consult with people out in the community as they are going about their daily activities, or meeting within their existing groups. This approach was supported by an online survey and direct submissions to the Shire. Close to 1,000 people participated in the consultation from October 2018 until March 2019.

Challenges

  • Inviting participation from people who do not currently participate in arts and culture, people with a disability, people that identify as being culturally or linguistically diverse and being that identify as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
  • Geographical size and diversity within the Mornington Peninsula Shire and ensuring adequate representation.
  • Timing of consultation initially scheduled across summer period (later extended to March).
  • Breadth of consultation topic, from preferences for participation to support for creative practitioners.

Keys to success

  • Working closely with Shire to deliver the engagement. Conversation Caravan developed the approach and engagement activities were divided between the teams. Helping to develop relationships within the community and keep the cost to Shire lower.
  • Forums were designed to attraction the creative community and had a large networking portion to encourage collaboration and the formation of new ideas and thinking. As a result many creative businesses attended and new networks and connections were formed between individuals.
  • Place based engagement provided a presence for participants to easily access the project while going about their daily activities, or meeting within their existing groups.
  • Using a learner led process encouraged young people to experience different cultural and creative experiences to determine their preferences. Led to more considered and meaningful engagement.
  • Engagement occurred over a period which allowed for the engagement of holiday makers, tourists as well as the typical residential base.
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire staff were deeply connected to the process and the engagement program.

Outcomes

  • The robust engagement program had participation from a broad cross – section of the community and raised the profile of the project on the Mornington Peninsula
  • A significant amount of goodwill has been created between the community and the shire with many welcoming the ability to be a part of the project
  • Clear themes from the data are already being used by Council to prepare capital works bids to implement these ideas.

Reflections and key learnings

  • The importance of arts and culture was highly regarded and recognised, particularly in improving health and wellbeing, strengthening the local economy and connecting individuals to others in the community
  • The creative community is well connected, therefore connections between the Shire and its community, and the community to one another were leveraged to encourage participation
  • The need to invite groups to participate become evident during the project, as participants were unsure if they were ‘creative’ and therefore could have their say.

Making a difference

  • Local  economy: 4 businesses supported. Catering and photography was sourced locally as was an artist to assist with the development of props.
  • Voices heard: 997 people.
  • Staff supported: 6 staff were trained and supported the implementation of the engagement activities.

Testimonial

Consulting on the arts and culture plan gave the Shire an opportunity to get to know its community, to make contacts and start to build and rebuild relationships.

We engaged Conversation Caravan to design the engagement strategy and the write-up/analysis of the findings. We worked in partnership to deliver engagement opportunities. The experience was great, we had the support and expertise of Conversation Caravan to bounce ideas off or talk through challenges, and it allowed Shire staff to hear first-hand from our community. As a result, we were able to reach a larger portion of the community, this has provided us the right information and evidence to develop an effective Arts & Culture Plan that really reflects our community’s voice ~ Tracey-Lea Smith, Mornington Peninsula Shire.