MCA’s Involvement

MCA is a prime information source as outlined in Overview of Music Statistics: Other Sources, provides a rich canvas ranging from community festivals, opportunities for performance, composition, recording, and media exposure, amateur and student competitions, awards, fellowships and prizes, funding and other financial opportunities, information sources and much more. It covers both domestic and international matters. These subjects are not generally treated statistically, but shows the broad range of MCA coverage.

MCA has taken numerous initiatives to promote community music and local musical life, notably the Sound Links nationwide survey undertaken by the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre as an Australian Research Council Linkage project. Including detailed case studies of six diverse local communities, it examined the dynamics of community music in Australia, and the models it represents for informal music learning and teaching (Sound Links: Exploring the Dynamics of Musical Communities in Australia, and their Potential for Informing Collaboration with Music in Schools, by Brydie Leigh-Bartleet, Peter Dunbar-Hall, Richard Letts and Huib Schippers (Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre 2009)).

Other Australia-Wide Organisations

The Australian Government’s culture and recreation portal listed a large number of community arts projects and topics, searchable by States and types of audience. Regrettably, the portal was closed down in mid-2010 and the material transferred as a static resource to the Pandora archives of the National Library of Australia.

The lists also show a number of sources that give general support to the development of community arts, such as the Australia Council’s Community Partnerships that bring together the Council’s work in the areas of community cultural development (CCD), youth, education, disability and regional development. At least some States have community cultural development organisations such as the Queensland Community Arts Network (QCAN), which has a special Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program in addition to its main CCD program, and Community Music Victoria described under the next heading.

Regional Arts Australia and its State and Territory organisations also provide strong support to community arts across the spectrum of artistic activities.

The Australian Register of Cultural Organisations (ROCO) under the auspices of the Office for the Arts in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, lists about 2,800 approved organisations (as at February 2011). These organisations range from small festivals and local community music projects to statewide organisations, such as Community Music Victoria described below.

Community Music Victoria

Community Music Victoria Inc (CMV) “is a not-for-profit, membership-based association, which supports, promotes and facilitates music-making among Victorian communities. CMV believes that everyone has the right and capacity to make music and that our communities are strengthened by this activity. Its main programs are Victoria Sings and Victoria Makes Music, both of which develop and support singing and music making leadership within Victorian communities.” CVA’s services cover training, networking, advice and counseling, advocacy, and resource development.It was formed after a previous organisation, Community Arts Network Victoria, was disbanded, by the music officer of that organisation, Stephen Costello, along with Bev McAlister of the Dandenong Ranges Music Council.

The former executive officer of CMV (2001-08), Jon Hawkes, has a distinguished career in community arts administration. He is currently the Resident Cultural Analyst with the Cultural Development Network of Victoria, another independent non-profit organisation that links communities, artists, local government and organisations in order to promote cultural vitality.

While he was still the CMV executive officer, Jon Hawkes wrote to the knowledge base:

Our website is informative about Victoria in that it is a contact point for Victorians wishing to actively engage in music-making with others. But the site’s importance is at least as great in the context of the theory and practice of community music, wherever it’s taking place. Our organisation is important beyond Victoria because it offers a unique model of how effectively integrate training, ongoing support and networking, resource development etc (see the section Introducing Victoria Sings)”.1


Hans Hoegh-Guldberg. Revised 23 October 2011 (original note dated 2 October 2007).


  1. Jon Hawkes is the author of The Fourth Pillar of Sustainability: Culture’s Essential Role in Public Planning (2001), which he sums up as follows: “The Fourth Pillar provides a clear definition of culture, analyses its function within the emerging new planning paradigms and proposes practical measures for the integration of a cultural perspective into the public sphere. Its key conclusion is that a whole-of-government cultural framework, operating in parallel with social, environmental and economic frameworks, is essential for the achievement of a sustainable and healthy society.” The monograph supports the arguments for recognising cultural capital as a separate economic entity put forward in my own paper for the knowledge base on the economic role of cultural capital Cultural Capital as an Independent Economic Force.↩︎

Hans founded his own consulting firm, Economic Strategies Pty Ltd, in 1984, following 25 years with larger organisations. He specialised from the outset in applied cultural economics — one of his first major projects was The Australian Music Industry for the Music Board of the Australia Council (published in 1987), which also marks his first connection with Richard Letts who was the Director of the Music Board in the mid-1980s. Hans first assisted the Music Council of Australia in 2000 and between 2006 and 2008 proposed and developed the Knowledge Base, returning in an active capacity as its editor in 2011. In November 2013 the Knowledge Base was transferred to The Music Trust, with MCA's full cooperation.

Between 2000 and 2010 Hans also authored or co-authored several major domestic and international climate change projects, using scenario planning techniques to develop alternative long-term futures. He has for several years been exploring the similarities between the economics of cultural and ecological change, and their continued lack of political clout which is to a large extent due to conventional GDP data being unable to measure the true value of our cultural and environmental capital. This was announced as a major scenario-planning project for The Music Trust in March 2014 (articles of particular relevance to the project are marked *, below).

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