Advocacy: The case for arts and culture
You may have heard the catchcry 'advocate for the arts', but what does this mean?
What is advocacy?
Advocacy is about influencing public policy and decisions about resource allocation within political, economic, and social systems and institutions. Advocates, also known as sponsors or champions, use evidence-based arguments to create awareness and support.
LGAQ acts as a spokesperson for local government in Queensland. LGAQ advocates for the role of arts and culture in communities at Federal, State and local government level; and represents member interests on numerous government and industry boards, committees and working groups. Contact us at 1300 542 700 with your arts and culture enquiry.
View LGAQ's briefing notes, submissions and reports.
Building the case
You can increase the profile of arts and culture within your council and community by creating a compelling case which demonstrates the artistic, cultural, social and economic impact of arts and culture. Follow the steps below to build your case.
Step 1: Conduct research
Understanding the intrinsic and instrumental benefits of arts and culture provides a strong foundation.
Step 2: Collect data
Use qualitative and quantitative evidence to demonstrate the impact of arts and culture in your community.
- Record attendance at and participation in local arts and cultural activities. Try to use a consistent methodology across council-funded venues and projects.
- Map arts and culture offerings in your local area, including practitioners (eg. artists, arts administrators, creative businesses) and formal and informal facilities (eg. libraries, theatres, heritage areas and schools).
- Collect data which demonstrates a link between the arts and other sectors such as health, education, tourism and economic development.
Developed by LGAQ and ACELG, the Community Wellbeing Indicators Survey enables Queensland councils to measure the wellbeing and happiness of their community across five domains:
- Healthy, safe and inclusive communities
- Culturally rich and vibrant communities
- Dynamic resilient local economies
- Sustainable built and natural environments
- Democratic and engaged communities.
Councils can use the tool to benchmark performance, track changes over time and identify policy measures to help improve community engagement and outcomes. Download the report and survey tool.
Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Queensland and Centre for Social Impact also provide practical tools to help you collect and analyse data. Links to additional tools and evidence are located on CultureLink.
Step 3: Seek out success stories
Gathering information and statistics is important but data alone doesn't tell the story. Research also shows that some planners and economic developers are cynical about the interpretation of arts and cultural data.
Stories about positive outcomes help contextualise the data and demonstrate the power of arts and culture to bring richness and meaning to people's lives and build resilient, innovative communities. Consider these tips when looking for stories to share:
- The stories that are closest to home tend to have the greatest meaning and impact.
- Longitudinal studies can show how a community has developed as a result of arts and cultural activities.
- Highlight the contribution of arts and culture to achieving councils' broader social, economic and cultural priorities.
Promoting the case
Maximise every opportunity to promote arts and culture within council and to your community. The more you share stories about arts and culture, the more it will be seen, recognised and valued as a major contributor to community happiness and wellbeing.
LGAQ, Arts Queensland and the Local Government Arts and Culture Reference Group have developed a PowerPoint presentation for council officers to highlight the role of arts and culture in building strong local communities.
Subject to council protocol, you can also use a range of marketing and communications tools to spread the word
Marketing and communications tools
- social media
- media release
- direct media contact and interviews
- posters and flyers
- direct mail
- council intranet and internal publications
- council website and external publications
- newsletters and websites of community groups, arts organisations and tourism bodies