Arts, Health & Environment 2012 -2015

Country Arts SA developed a significant arts, health and environment partnership program in the Southern Fleurieu, Murraylands and Coorong regions.  The program was supported by five non-arts partners and the Australia Council for the Arts – Community Partnerships.

The Partners were: Murray Mallee Health Services, Southern Fleurieu Health Service, Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources  (Natural Resource Management), Alexandrina Council, Medicare Local (Southern), Australia Council for the Arts / Community Partnerships program and Country Arts SA.

Change and Adaptation grew out of work conducted by Country Arts SA and Creative Producer Cath Cantlon beginning in 2010.  In 2011 the program partnerships agreements consolidated the long term planning and enabled Country Arts SA to apply for arts funding support through the Australia Council.  The program commenced from July 2012.

Change and Adaptation evolved as a key community cultural development response to environmental and public health crises in the regions, especially during the time of severe drought and over allocation of water upstream in the Murray River.  Natural resource management, environmentalists and farmers were engaged in adapting practices and changing the way they worked to help the environment and communities to survive.  Communities were experiencing lack of water, soil acidification, failing eco systems, farming and fishing industries, loss of habitats for birds and death of marine life such as turtles and fish.  Suicides and depression in communities escalated and communities developed coping strategies, projects, and resilience so that change and adaptation was necessary to sustain ‘life’.

Professional artists worked with the partners & communities on a range of projects between 2012 -15.   ‘Laugh Yourself Well’ included comedy and cartooning workshops with public outcomes for Aboriginal communities, artists & services.  ‘Dressing A Building’ was a suite of workshops and projects within the Southern Fleurieu Health Service – involving staff, clients and community support groups.  ‘Not A Puppet State’ had artists working with community participants experiencing isolation, disability or mental health issues.  ‘Poste Restante’ artists worked with local writer’s and reaching home bound people such as Meals on Wheels recipients.  Environmental issues and community resilience were reflected through a community music and performance project about the lower lakes and Coorong at the ‘bottom’ Murray/Darling system.