The value of creativity

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 27-Sep-2017

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By Margaret O’Rourke
City of Greater Bendigo Mayor

What do a scientist, a musician and an engineer have in common? More than you might think. 

They are part of an emerging group of people that have become a key focus of governments around the world – people who use their intellectual property to fuel creativity, revolutionise their industries and contribute to their local economy. 

Basically any occupation that uses creativity to generate a product can be considered part of this new creative industries group. 

In Victoria in 2013 this group contributed $22.7 billion in gross value to the state’s economy, which is more than construction ($19.8b), agriculture, forestry and fishing ($8.1b), or mining ($6.5b). 

So it’s little wonder these people have caught the attention of council, which last week approved the development of a new Arts and Creative Industries Strategy. 

It will replace the expired Arts and Culture Strategy and focus on guiding council’s level of investment and involvement in the creative industries. 

Council is following the lead of the state government, which last year launched Victoria’s first creative industries strategy, the Creative State, and joins other councils including Mount Alexander Shire Council and Mildura Rural City Council that have adopted similar strategies.  

To be creative is to be innovative, original, a problem solver. Communities that foster creativity attract creative people. 

Greater Bendigo’s reputation as a leader in the arts and culture industry has been firmly established over the past decade and it has made our community an attractive place for creative people and businesses from Melbourne and other parts of Australia to de-camp to.  

The recent example of the Arena Theatre Company, one of Australia’s longest running producers of theatre for young people, moving from Melbourne into the Old Fire Station on View Street reinforces this. 

Bendigo’s central location helps businesses strike the right balance between liveability and accessibility. 

High-speed internet also helps, putting us closer to each other than ever before, so we don’t need to be in the same city or even the same country to do business. 

It’s also no coincidence that the state government recently named Bendigo as one of four local government areas in central Victoria to participate in the inaugural Regional Centre for Culture 2018, which will be a year-long celebration of arts, culture and community in regional areas. 

In 2008 the United Nations defined creativity in two ways, “the kind that relates to people’s fulfilment as individuals and the kind that generates a product”. 

Greater Bendigo is well positioned to be a national leader in our approach to developing an arts and creative industries strategy, which puts our people and product development front and centre, ready to make another valuable contribution to our community and local economy. 

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