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 Sunshine Coast Regional Cultural Strategy is underway!
  The Sunshine Coast Regional Cultural Strategy is complete. The full REPORT is now available online - click on the link to your left. For an overview of the project, we offer the Executive Summary below.

Sunshine Coast Regional Cultural Strategy

In 2005, a handful of individual community members, endowed with personal passion, talent and commitment, coalesced into a volunteer working group ready to capitalize on the Sunshine Coast’s particular transition from resource economy to “imagination economy” (Max Wyman, The Defiant Imagination). They saw that this new economic paradigm could hold great promise for the arts, culture and heritage sectors here, if the proper supports were in place.

By the next year, the group had evolved into the Sunshine Coast Regional Cultural Strategy Steering Committee, an ad hoc committee made up of members representing different cultural stakeholder groups on the Sunshine Coast. Intent on seeing the articulation of a long-term cultural strategy for this community, they organized and guided the Sunshine Coast Regional Cultural Strategy planning process. With the involvement of community members at every stage, the planning process aimed to:

1. Identify the region’s cultural strengths as well as its gaps and issues,
2. Address the gaps and issues identified,
3. Articulate region-wide Vision and Mission Statements,
4. Identify and prioritise key strategies and objectives integral to the region, the community, and the arts, culture and heritage sectors, and
5. Create an Action Plan for each objective.

A Cultural Strategy, as described in this report, was the end product of the two-phase planning process:

Phase I – The Cultural Scan took place January to June 2006 and resulted in an in-depth inventory of cultural assets. It also identified the region’s cultural strengths and weaknesses.

Phase II – The Cultural Plan process took place from December 2006 to April 2007. The community engaged in several consultation events which produced a wealth of outcomes, the end result being the Sunshine Coast Regional Cultural Strategy.

The community overwhelmingly called for a strategy that provides for a more integrated approach to the delivery of arts, culture and heritage. They identified the need for better Coast-wide coordination both of existing cultural products and activities and of cultural organizations per se.

Governance emerged as a central issue because of its overwhelming importance to the success of the Cultural Strategy. Unlike other cultural strategies, which are most often linked to an authorized governing body, this strategic plan is not associated with any formally constituted organisation at the time of writing. Therefore, an organisation needs to be identified and formally confirmed by all stakeholders, including local governments, to carry forward with Cultural Strategy implementation. Three organisational models – Public Agency, Public-Community Partnership and Community Agency – are described along with a short discussion of existing public and not-for-profit (NFP) organisations’ potential, and in some cases limitations, for taking on the role of coordinating body to implement the Strategy.

Stakeholders, including representatives of local governments and cultural organisations, must next work with the Steering Committee to explore the variety of available options and consider the best model for the Sunshine Coast. Regardless of which model is selected, secure funding is required for success.

Other valuable outcomes emerged from Phase II.

The Overall Goals of the strategy were worked out:

o To link cultural organisations together better so they can achieve a shared, regionally focused vision and mission,
o To enhance opportunities for cultural sectors, for community-based cultural organisations and for individuals working in these sectors, communities and organisations to benefit from improved working relationships, and
o To enhance the arts, culture and heritage sectors’ relationships with governments and their agencies, with the School District, with the business community and with the general public.

Values were defined and sorted under the headings linked to the four pillars of sustainability: Cultural Vitality, Environmental Responsibility, Social Equity and Economic Viability. (Jon Hawkes, The Fourth Pillar of Sustainability: Culture’s Essential Role in Public Planning) (See page 19 in Report.)

Principles, informed by the Values, were articulated. The community stressed the importance of being mindful of these principles while working toward implementation. (See page 20 in Report.)

A Vision Statement, consistent with the values and principles, was crafted:


The Sunshine Coast is a diverse community of communities, connected, like a necklace of distinctive gems, by the common threads of vibrant culture and inspirational natural environment. Residents create, enjoy and make accessible to all a diverse range of arts, heritage and cultural experiences.

A Mission Statement and key supporting strategies were formulated:


Promoting imagination & creativity. From the past into the future.

To ensure that the values of Sunshine Coast residents are supported and enriched, this Cultural Strategy will guide future actions to enable Sunshine Coast residents to create, enjoy and make accessible to all a diverse range of arts, heritage and cultural experiences.

This Cultural Strategy will guide actions in four key strategic areas:
A. Coordination, Connection and Partnerships
B. Art, Environment and Social Well-Being
C. Learning (Education and Training)
D. Heritage Sharing and Valuing

The four key strategic areas are each supported by specific objectives, actions and deliverables. Thirty-six action steps, linked to the strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and gaps identified in Phase I are organized according to whether they meet short-, medium- or long-term objectives. Each action is supported by a SMART set of deliverables (Specific, Measurable, Applicable, Recordable, Trackable). They provide clear direction on how to proceed.

The timing of these deliverables assumes the presence of a stable organisation (see Governance section) and one full-time-equivalent staff person by the beginning of Year 1. If these conditions are not in place then, implementation of the Strategy will need to be amended accordingly. The reader is also cautioned to remember that since this is a living document, the actions and deliverables may change (be added to or discarded) in response to changing future conditions. Updated or as is, the SMART deliverables provide a clear way to monitor the success rate of implementation of the Cultural Strategy.

The next steps of the Sunshine Coast Regional Cultural Strategy process require strategic management to ensure the Strategy is implemented. Successful implementation will be more likely if medium- and long-term goals are kept firmly in mind and day-to-day activities of the coordinating body’s staff and volunteers are harnessed to achieve those goals, rather than being distracted by ad hoc, short-term objectives. Examples of organisations that stray from their mandated objectives abound. It will be the task of the coordinating body and all cultural organisations on the Sunshine Coast to steer the strategy through the shoals and monitor and evaluate how well the strategic goals are achieved.

Finally, integrating the goals of this Strategy with those of all vested cultural and community-based organisations will substantially increase the chances of success in implementing the Strategy. Ideally, the Sunshine Coast’s cultural organisations would modify or adapt their existing mandates to align with the Vision, Mission and Strategic Goals articulated in this Strategy. Doing so would create a situation where all the smaller organisations are actively engaged in working together to achieve a common vision. Integrating the goals of these cultural grassroots organisations with the goals of the coordinating body would not only enhance the ability of the cultural community to achieve their shared mission, it would also clearly signal to the broader political and business community that such cooperation produces results. Then if the cultural community’s goals were further integrated with broader community development goals, a win-win situation for all Sunshine Coast residents and visitors would arise. The Sunshine Coast would truly flourish as a

community of communities, connected, like a necklace of distinctive gems, by the common threads of vibrant culture and inspirational natural environment.
Let's Talk Culture
by Francine Lucas
 3/6/2007 7:31 PM
If someone from another planet landed on the Sunshine Coast in 10 years, what would their overall impression be, in terms of arts, heritage and culture?

Through a variety of community dialogues, the goal of the Regional Cultural Strategy will be to articulate region wide vision and mission statements...
Sunshine Coast Regional Cultural Strategy is underway!
by Francine Lucas
 1/22/2007 2:56 PM
PRESS RELEASE: January 22, 2007
The Regional Cultural Strategy is underway!
What will the Sunshine Coast arts, culture and heritage scene look like in the year 2017? In the next couple of months the community will have an opportunity to discuss and answer that question. Francine Lucas & Associates...
Ammendment to Appendix GAttachment
by Francine Lucas
 7/25/2006 9:05 AM
Some important cultural venues were missing from the original Appendix G: Facilities/Venues Within the Scan Region. An ammended Appendix is provided...
PRESS RELEASE: Cultural Scan April 15th, 2006
by Francine Lucas
 4/15/2006 6:15 PM
Measuring the ‘Art Beat’ of the Sunshine Coast
Immediate Release, Sunshine Coast, April 15th, 2006:
How healthy is the arts and cultural environment on the Lower Sunshine Coast? A Regional Cultural Scan is underway to answer that very question. The Scan will determine the extent of the arts and...
Regional Cultural Scan - Consultant Hired
by Francine Lucas
 4/4/2006 2:34 PM

The Sunshine Coast Regional Culture Scan is well underway and has now hired
a consultant to undertake the project. Sydney Johnsen, who will be working
with a team at Grant Thornton Management Consultants, was selected. Sydney
previously lived on the coast spending some of her time in the arts and...
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