In September 2018, the Commission, in partnership with FORM, hosted more than 220 delegates from across Australia to a first-of-its-kind Creative and Cultural Forum in Newman in the East Pilbara.

The forum, which was opened by the Minister for Culture and the Arts, was initiated by the Commission in recognition of the important role the creative and cultural sector can play in diversifying the Pilbara economy as a creator of employment and new economic growth.

Delegates represented a broad cross section drawn from local and State Government, Aboriginal corporations and art centres, industry and business and included artists, change-makers, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal creative practitioners, legislators and cultural personnel from across the Pilbara, the State and the country.

Held over three days with a total of 12 events featuring 44 sessions and more than 39 speakers, the forum covered subjects such as creative and artistic strategy; cultural tourism opportunities; place branding, caring for country; public art; and examples of best practice approaches when working with cultural content and regional communities.

The forum recognised that in an environment the size and complexity of the Pilbara, successful creative and cultural outcomes depend on collaboration and community. And not only are creativity and culture vital to economic diversification, they are also central to the identity and inclusiveness of a community. As the Minister for Culture and the Arts, Hon. David Templeman MLA, noted in his opening speech, “the creative elements of our culture are vital to who we are and who we want to be.”

FORM Executive Director Lynda Dorrington said the forum's program was driven by a need to provide alternative models of thinking and practice to present back to the region's creative and cultural sector, its capacity and its opportunities for growth.