What is Culture?
The NSW Ministry for the Arts defines culture as:
"Our sense of place, our values and our identity - culture is about a way of life and connections between people and between places and people. The material products of creative processes - culture includes cultural assets and resources. Our engagement and participation in creative processes - recording what we believe at that time."
For the purposes of Pittwater's Cultural Plan, the following definition has been developed:
"Culture arises from a community's sense of place, heritage and local distinctiveness. Culture is defined by people's beliefs, attitudes and way of life including aspirations and values about the environment, lifestyle, social connection and creative pursuits.”
Culture includes but is not limited to:
- Shared memories, experiences and identity
- What we consider valuable to pass on to future generations
- Performing and visual arts including digital and website art, craft, design and fashion
- Media, film, television, radio, video and language
- Museums, art galleries, artefacts, local historical societies, archives and keeping places
- Libraries, literature, writing and publishing
- The built environment, heritage, architecture, landscape and archaeology
- Sports events, facilities and development
- Parks, open spaces, wildlife habitats, water environment and countryside recreation
- Diverse cultural, religious and historic backgrounds
- Tourism, festivals and attractions
- Informal leisure pursuits
What is a Cultural Plan?
A Cultural Plan enables Pittwater to identify its cultural assets, identity and needs as well as providing a framework to develop cultural initiatives to increase cultural opportunities for Pittwater residents.
In 2002 the Council adopted a strategy for addressing arts and cultural issues in Pittwater and from that Pittwater Community Arts Incorporated was formed. In 2004 the Community and Cultural Portfolio Committee recommended to Council that staff prepare a report regarding the development of a Cultural plan. In March 2005 Council considered a report and resolved to develop a Cultural Plan and as part of the process establish an Advisory Group.
How the Cultural Plan has been developed
Pittwater's Cultural Plan has been developed through an inclusive consultation process with members of the community. The cultural planning process has been monitored by and had input from the Cultural Plan Advisory Group, which consisted of community members, Councillors and Council Staff. The methodology used for developing the plan included extensive quantitative and qualitative consultations; desktop and exploratory audit of cultural assets; a literature review including key council documents and cultural plans compiled for other council areas and exercises to map the sense of place and spirit of Pittwater.
Quantitative and qualitative consultations were carried out between August - December 2005 and involved:
- An on-line public opinion survey and comment page
- A postal questionnaire for members of community organisations
- A survey with participants attending Pittwater Community Arts General Meeting, an ‘Author’s Talk’ at Mona Vale Library, a Baha’i Children’s Service and a Youth Film Festival
- Two ‘Cultural Conversation’ forums, assisted by a performance by a local theatre group
- Focus groups with the surfing, Baha’i and Indigenous communities
- Artwork submissions from community members mapping the spirit of Pittwater
- A creative mapping exercise with children to create postcards
- A photographic exercise with the Pittwater Camera Club mapping the sense of place
- Internal discussions with key officers within Council
This Plan also draws on findings from consultations including Pittwater’s 2003 Community Forum, Pittwater’s Youth Forum 2005, a council communications workshop, a ‘Sense of Community’ survey and focus groups held for the development of Pittwater’s Social Plan.
Community input was vital to the success of the cultural planning process. In total over 900 community members’ opinions were taken into account to help develop this Plan, including 500 residents directly involved in the cultural plan consultations.
Pittwater's Cultural Vision
During the cultural planning process the Cultural Plan Advisory Group helped developed the following vision for culture within Pittwater, this vision was affirmed by the community during consultation.
Pittwater's cultural vision is: 'A place where creativity, cultural diversity and aspirations enrich the lives of the whole community'.
Living Pittwater, Our Cultural Plan, 2006-2011
From the consultation process a range of issues and needs were idendified regarding Pittwater's culture. The issues fell into four central themes:
- Living Communities - creating a vibrant culture through the provision of cultural activities as well as the celebration of cultural diversity
- Connecting People - connecting people to culture through communication, promotion and coordination of cultural activities and opportunities
- Accessing Spaces - encouraging cultural development through improving access to cultural facilities
- Sustaining Culture - encouraging sustainable cultural development for the benefit of current and future generations