President’s Report 2018/19

 

In keeping with the spirit of reconciliation, I respectfully acknowledge the Kabi Kabi people as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather this evening. I pay my respects to their Elders – past present and emerging – and pledge SCCA’s commitment to walk with First Nation’s People in their struggle for justice in our community.

Since our incorporation, it has been 11 years of passion, support and hard work from many hundreds of volunteer board members, collaborators, sponsors and punters. As a result, Sunshine Coast Creative Alliance is the peak body for the Sunshine Coast’s regions arts and creative sector, and we continue to fulfil our mission:

“To connect the dots between creative thinkers, businesses, places, supporters, target markets, audiences and key stakeholders through the delivery of high quality, accessible and relevant events, services, brokerage and partnerships”.

It’s important that these reports provide some broader strategic context to make sense of what we’ve achieved and the journey ahead of SCCA.

Our Most Challenging Year

Circumstances remain challenging for the arts sector, especially in the not-for-profit space. It is increasingly harder for community-based, arts organisations to continue. The challenges we have met this year are the same for others; capacity constraints of a volunteer organisation, servicing a dispersed population, the challenges of creating meaningful volunteer roles and catering to the competitive demands of a community that expects metropolitan choices in a regional setting.

But this has been an especially challenging year for SCCA – perhaps our hardest yet. Fortunately, ours is not a struggle for relevance. However, family and work commitments have severely limited the chance for our Board to establish a rhythm this year. This has not only impacted on our ability to deliver projects, but it compounds the challenges of governance with the double-whammy of constricting our capacity to respond strategically.

But conversely, and almost ironically, we have tackled some new and exciting projects and done some of our best work this year. These new projects have and will continue to stretch SCCA and we are still feeling our way through them. But what has nearly burnt us out, also (I think) contains the exciting shoots of our renewal.

This years’ projects have delivered meaningful value to local artists and creatives. These projects have given us an exposure to a new audience we’ve not had before. This’ years’ projects have been pretty bloody cool. So, we have definitely delivered on our mission this year.

When I inherited this role mid-term (2014) from Angie Dunbavan, we were still trying to position and understand the value of this organisation. But the projects we’ve completed this year have clarified for me what the real value of SCCA organisation is. We are the credible, neutral, third partner that artists and partner organisations need, in order to pilot, test and deliver cool arts projects and cultural change. Sometimes we’re the cartilage, sometimes the connective tissue, sometimes just the nose-hair filtering out the dust. But we are ‘in-demand’ as a critical third between government and community, between community and commerce and between artist, audience, and government.

So, I am relieved that SCCA have survived our most difficult year. I’m proud that we’ve not brushed off the sometimes painful experiences and have made the necessary strategic changes to our Board to address these and support the future growth of SCCA. And I am thrilled that with this change and clarity and for the first time in our history, we have a full suite of nominations for a refreshed Board. And they are intelligent, energetic and pretty cool bunch of volunteers.

Things we can be proud of

As part of SCCA’s usual activities and advocacy, here’s a list of things SCCA can be proud of:

  • Continued to make a strong contribution to Sunshine Coast Council’s Arts Advisory Board including the shaping of the Draft Regional Arts Infrastructure Framework;
  • Partnered with SCC and Suncentral Maroochydore Pty Ltd in the highly successful delivery of The Refinery – which developed and showcased 15 new creative enterprises over a 10-week program, and which will continue and (hopefully) grow in 2020 and beyond;
  • Partnered with SCC’s Creative Arts team to take out a 12-month licence to occupy the Caloundra Transit Centre and worked with Megan Rowland and Brendan Beale to establish SubTropic Studio. This cultural development /social enterprise model is focussed on creating a low-coast space for artists to develop creative practice, that allows SCCA to generate revenue, host other arts events, build exposure and develop community. It also explores a new partnership with disability services provider and social enterprise Compass;
  • Watched our regions first representative body for the film sector – the Sunshine Coast Screen Collective – that we helped establish in 2017, find its feet and start to kick some goals;
  • Ventured into the production space, by funding/delivering a bar at ‘The Met’ for Horizon Festival, which created a working framework for future revenue positive events;
  • Developed a supporting partnership with sister-arts organisation the Creative Arts Alliance to deliver a series of local projects that (will) have regional application through RASN (Regional Arts Services Networks);
  • Hosted 4 Juice & Jam Arts Industry Breakfasts and 4 PechaKucha Night (PKN) events with approximately 800 attendees, 57 local/ national/international guest speakers and showcased 10 local artists;
  • Negotiated a new partnership with Suncentral Maroochydore Pty to develop Juice and Jam series and explore new opportunities around the design and arts community;
  • Developed a range of online content including, 5 podcast episodes, 10 member newsletters to an audience of over (2000) and produced 3 x 3-minute local artists showcase videos:
  • Started a literature scoping project consulting key regional stakeholders to deliver a pilot literature project in 2020;
  • Strategic arts and cultural advice to a range of regional arts and community groups including Caloundra Arts Centre Association, Montessori International College, Noosa Alive, Queensland Chamber of Arts & Culture, SCRAP and USC (Creative
    Industries Academic Advisory Panel)
  • Continued to provide advice and input into #SCRIPT > the regional innovation hubs
    collaboration with local councils and Advance Qld;
  • Provided funds auspicing and letters of support for over 16 local organisations, individuals and events;
  • Developed our collaborative relationships with our regions 2 leading universities (USC & CQU) and been invited by both to provide creative course reference advice;
  • Developed a closer working relationship with the regions Kabi Kabi First Nations leaders with the help of Sunshine Coast and Noosa Councils to identify collaborative pathways;
  • Delivered a series of ‘Place-based’ arts advocacy events in collaboration with other local organisations (to a total audience of with 1100 attendees)
  • Supported key local events such as Floating Land, Noosa Alive, QMusic’s Industry Connect, The Bunker Spoken Word Series, Anywhere Theatre Festival, TurnUp, Noosa and Sunshine Coast Surf Film Festivals, Immerse Conference and Creative Jam
    Hack Days, Eumundi School of Rock and Horizon Festival
  • Of course, there is much more that the current Board can be proud of, but this shows that SCCA continues to work hard and efficiently to deliver our Mission.

Thanks to our team and our allies

The impact of this year has been felt most keenly by our inaugural Executive Officer Bettina Walter. Not only has Bee had to manage the lack of rhythm around Board Meetings, she has also had to design and implement a new governance framework and website for SCCA on less than 2 days a week with less than ideal remuneration. I’d like to acknowledge how mentally and spiritually draining the challenges of this year have been on her at times and thank her for her hard work. Fortunately, Bettina has not shied away from her job or giving me and the Board the frank and fearless advice we need. As President I am responsible for the welfare of our team. So, I hope the management changes implemented in the last few weeks, will not only deliver an effective team that can share the workload, but give Bettina a clearer and happier space to continue to do her job.

I must acknowledge all of the volunteers and members and past boards and management committees on whose broad shoulders the Creative Alliance now stands. It was again a pleasure to have worked with this outgoing Board. They are passionate contributors who put their hand up last year, when we needed it.

So, I would like to pay tribute to outgoing Treasurer Kim Jay. As I said last year, a key part of our credibility as an organisation, rests on our ability to pay artists and collaborators on time and make sure we have the funds to do so. I have felt so well supported by Kim and the huge effort she puts into doing with such ease the things I choose to be incompetent at! You will be missed, but still within reach we all hope!

Thanks to Nicole Voevodin-Cash, for your important contribution to SCCA over the last few years. You have shed important light on the real challenges of working and surviving as an artist on the Coast and connected us to a suite of ‘invisibles’ hiding away, making extraordinary work! I hope being part of SCCA has helped your practice as well.

Thank you Roland West, for the important contributions you have made to the SCCA over a number of years and being on ‘permanent call’ with an incredible skillset to solve whatever event problems we had. I doubt parenthood will slow Roly down, but hopefully in a few year’s time SCCA will have an internship for a multi-skilled tech prodigy > we’ve got the gear for it!

To Mia Hollingsworth (Secretary) and Board Members Melinda Wells and Anna Armstrong thank you all for your contributions and support for SCCA when we needed it. Sue Davis (President-elect) and Catherine Hutton (Treasurer-elect), thank you for staying on the Executive to assist with the bedding down of the new Board. I know you both have a strong sense of commitment to SCCA which clearly outweighs sense and the opinions of your long-suffering husbands – thank goodness!

There are many other generous volunteers and partners to acknowledge but unfortunately not enough space or time at this AGM. I must mention the generous support from our Juice and Jam season partners Suncentral Maroochydore – in particular CEO John Knaggs, and Brent Colautti and especially Bronwyn Adams who is a pleasure to collaborate with. SCCA looks forward to continuing our working relationship and shared vision for the value of creativity in building this place over coming years. Thank you again to our PechaKucha Sponsors CQU and the other commercial sponsors who have supported us over the last year.

SCCA is an independent arts organisation. We are not a creature of Local Government. However, we play in the same space and our relationship with local government is crucial. Not only are they currently the largest financial contributors to the Creative Alliance, but also they are responsible for the funding and policy that most directly affects the arts community. So, thanks also to Sunshine Coast and Noosa Council’s officers, executive, boards and councillors alike for their ongoing partnership and support. Over the last 3 years we have been fortunate to work with Sunshine Coast Council’s Megan Rowland, Team Leader Creative Arts. Megan is an arts and cultural development genius and she and her team are making real transformative impact. It’s been a personal pleasure to work with Megan and Brendan Beale and I look forward to doing more with them.

We continue to enjoy a wonderful working relationship with Noosa Council’s Cultural Development team and in particular RADF Liaison officer Belinda Simonsen who has again been an active contributor to the region’s arts community and a never-ending supporter and advocate for the Alliance.

It has been a genuine privilege to contribute to this organisation and serve as President for the last 5 and a half years. It has reshaped me. Finally, on behalf of the outgoing Creative Alliance Board I would again like to thank all of our members, partners and friends for your contribution to and support of the Creative Alliance. As always, I extend an invitation to all those who are passionate about our place, culture and creative enterprise to engage with the Sunshine Coast Creative Alliance, become members, join a sub-committee, volunteer and help our Sunshine Coast community to imagine and thrive.

Yours sincerely

Phil Smith
(Outgoing) President, Sunshine Coast Creative Alliance

The outgoing president Phil Smith with some members of the new committee. Left to right: Holly Walker, Kate Fuller, Phil Smith, Megan Williams, Dr Susan Davis, Jessica Abraham. Missing from the picture: Catherine Hutton, Liz Page and Judith Pippen