Regional Arts WA (2017 – 2020)
During my time at RAWA I contributed content and editing to the Annual Reports from 2017 – 2020. I also managed the design and publication of the 2019 Annual Report.
Regional Arts WA (formerly Country Arts WA) is an organisation dedicated to the support and development of arts in all forms, in regional and remote Western Australia. As Marketing Officer, my role was focused on encouraging people to engage with the organisation’s programs; both to find artists the help they needed from our staff, and to turn the eyes of audiences towards the artists’ work.
In the role I created copy and briefs for television, radio and online advertising, coordinated content for annual and project reports, wrote media releases and monthly email newsletters, managed social media accounts (across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn), produced monthly video updates, and managed the website.
RAWA worked with a lot of amazing artists, and being able to tell their stories, and the stories of their work, was a great chance to put my writing chops to use. Some of my favourites were:
- Creating Bunbury’s beautiful monument to the Noongar nation: Wardandi Boodja
- History and art coming together for Kalbarri’s Zest Fest
- Country musician Monty Cotton’s mentorship of aspiring young musicians
- Mandurah youth theatre troupe Riptide seeking the advice of a seasoned playwright
Extending from my love of storytelling, my favourite project was restructuring the organisation’s approach to online articles. By vastly expanding the intake of stories sourced directly from artists and arts workers living in the outback, and encouraging our community to share their experiences, we were able to publish a far greater number and wider diversity of articles than the organisation had been capable of in years prior. This served as outstanding evidence of our programs’ successes, and this approach remains with the organisation as my last checking (2023).
These stories didn’t come in clean and ready for publication, but they represented invaluable on-the-ground experience, and with my newspaper editing experience it was simple enough to bring them into line with our style guide and give them a bit of punch up to get them ready for prime-time. Highlights of these community-sourced contributions include:
- A young artist giving advice to their peers on how to start a professionally funded project
- A group of Albany men finding camaraderie and community in the old tradition of sea-shanties
- Jenny Barr’s meditations on place and language, explored in her exhibition This Hopeful Shack
- The creation of a permanent, visual “Welcome To Country” in Esperance
Supporting other staff with knowledge gained from newswriting was also a big part of my role at RAWA, and after I ran workshops on interview and storytelling technique we founded the still-ongoing “Artist of the Month” program. Some of my favourite profiles to work on were Alicia Rogerson, Andy Dolphin, Anton Blume, and Kelea.
First Nations work was extremely important to Regional Arts WA. I was heavily involved with the Sand Tracks program, which brought the Aboriginal desert metal bands on tour to communities throughout Australia’s Central Desert. This program required me to manage and promote the pre-tour voting process, where communities would select which bands they wanted to see on tour. After joining the Sand Tracks team, I also organised a switch over to Aboriginal-lead design on tour promotional materials, furthering the involvement of Central Desert communities. You can read about the tour’s successes in 2018 and 2019.
Finally, I was able to share some of my social media best practices with our community, penning articles like this one to help regional organisations boost their own marketing.
Working outside my regular wheelhouse, I also developed the Regional Arts Sector Readout. This dashboard was an incredibly candid, multi-faceted look at the health of Regional WA’s arts sector, combining RAWA’s own research with freely available data to give a snapshot of the sector as of early 2020. The readout was featured in RAWA’s 2020 Annual Report.