Pilbara Creative and Cultural Strategy

Following a three-day forum in Newman in 2018, the Commission developed, released and implemented the Pilbara Creative and Cultural Strategy in 2019.

A first for the region, the Strategy guides growth of the Pilbara's already thriving arts sector.A coordinated approach to the sector across the region will assist in improving access to community infrastructure, education and training; support regional creative and cultural organisations; and develop products, exports and networks.

One of many actions from the Strategy is the launch of a pilot developed by the Commission in partnership with the AboriginalArt Centre Hub of WA and Kimberley and Goldfields-Esperance Development Commissions to ensure the supply and use of authentic Aboriginal artwork in the lucrative souvenir and merchandise market.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) products attract a significant market.Analysis by Tourism Research Australia found that in 2017-18, 198,000 international visitors purchased Indigenous art, crafts or souvenirs. However, misappropriation and misrepresentation have dogged this industry for decades, often at the expense of artists and community art centres.

The ATSI Product Development Project, which was awarded a $175,000 Regional New Industries Fund grant in October, will develop a framework and resources to help capture demand for authentic ATSI products, thus generating new economic opportunities for regional ATSI art centres and artists. Six established Aboriginal art centres in WA are participating including Martumili Artists in Newman and Spinifex Hill Studios in Port Hedland.

The project has national significance in that it has the potential to inform and progress the development of legislation to address issues of authenticity in the market.