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Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti
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Strategic Theme 2: Access and Inclusion

Dunedin’s residents are creators and consumers of art and culture, whether it is making lanterns for the Mid-Winter Carnival, experiencing a reinterpretation of Beckett’s ‘Play’ in a derelict building, playing a role in a school production or taking in the latest Performance Series from the Blue Oyster Art Project Space. Arts and culture can change lives, spark the imagination and open up discussion. Creative endeavour is a way to build a sense of belonging and an appreciation of difference. The effects on people are so varied and so personal that creativity is recognised as having value for its own sake.

Open Access – Invest in providing arts and culture so everyone can participate, giving people opportunities to dream while boosting wellbeing and success


“Community arts education nurtures talent but also develops an appreciation of the arts leading to future involvement as an audience.”

Dominic Tay, ex-Chair Dunedin Youth Orchestra

Dunedin has more arts and culture than many cities of its size but not everyone in the community has access to cultural activities or the opportunity to participate. The reasons range from socio-economic background to cultural barriers or where someone lives in the city. This strategy sets out to support the engagement of residents in the city’s cultural life, from free access to exceptional museums to fostering fresh partnerships between creative practitioners and social service agencies. This is already beginning to happen with projects like the Northern Artery’s exhibition space the ‘Art Tardis’ which takes art out of galleries into the streets and schools of North East Valley.

Hunger For The Edge -

Take risks and bravely champion artistic experimentation that pushes boundaries

Dunedin intends to be at the frontline of doing things differently, and will look for opportunities to support experimentation and creative risk-taking. By doing this, the city will continue to be recognised as bold and unafraid to try new ideas, with space for trial and error. A city that is open to transformation and reinvention. Dunedin must nurture new and emerging artists, as a place of creative thought and innovation now and into the future. Only with this adventuring attitude will the city be the creative heartland of future brilliant artists’ minds and economies. There are a number of long-standing artists’ residencies, and some new ones in the pipeline, which give artists the space to explore. The city needs to continue to pump fresh blood through its veins if it is to harness arts and culture to grow the economy and attract talented people to live and work here.


“The Fringe Festival provides us with creative opportunities to get ourselves out there without a big financial commitment, and we can feel the buzz of being part of the Dunedin art world.”

Jill Thompson, Director of Artsenta

For the Love of It -

Value the desire to make and create for its own sake, and support diverse expression

The urge to create, make and express through artistic expression is invaluable to humanity. Artists, musicians, poets, and performers reinvigorate our lives, shed new light on old questions and open entirely different worlds for us to explore. Some works may appeal to only a few or be deemed by some to be offensive, some are not intended to create commercial value but serve other purposes. Arts and culture offer a way for different voices and perspectives to be shared, reflected on, challenged and celebrated. Dunedin is a city where opportunities for creative engagement are many, and diversity of creative expression is valued and celebrated regardless of the audience or income generated.


“We are a small city, but we are a stubborn and supportive one – everyone in the arts here is connected. At times it’s like a big family – with crazy cousins, supportive aunties and loving but fighting parents – all these things create a great environment to step outside the norms, take artistic risks and not fear failure. Love Dunedin.”

Cindy Diver, Director, Theatreworks Ltd and Interact Drama Classes


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