Emerging Artists of the Northern Rivers

Eden Crawford-Harriman Documents Australia's Emerging Artists

Series One: The Northern Rivers

Art and the artist is an integral component of the fabric of every culture and community. The artists of regional Australia are very distinct from artists living and working in metropolitan Australian. Regional artists in Australia not only surround themselves with distinct and unique rural environmental factors and motivators, but they also face very specific challenges, with earning capacity, employment opportunity and audience participation often much less than their counterparts the cities.

This short series will specifically look into the lives of the emerging artists of The Northern Rivers area of NSW. I hope to illustrate that “the artistic excellence among regional artists is critical to a vibrant arts sector that reflects Australia’s depth and diversity,” [1] but I will also to show the real challenges that face the emerging artists in our community.

According to the Arts Council of Australia’s “The Arts in Regional Australia: A Research Summary” published in November 2017,  -“people living in regional Australia increasingly recognise the positive impacts of the arts on their daily lives and communities,” [1] and even though creativity in regional areas is just as strong as in the cities, only one in six professional Australian artists will actually live in regional areas, and this figure drops to one in ten for professional artists living in remote Australia, or one in three for First Nations people.

Predictably the Arts Council of Australia’s research paper confirmed that the earning capacity of the rural artist was almost a third less than a city based artist, but the most interesting statistic that emerged from the research paper was that “regionally based artists have increasingly negative perceptions about the impact of their location on their practice.” This point will be my focus in Series One Series one of my documentary ‘The Emerging Artist in Regional Australia”, I will seek to challenge this point through interviewing five local Northern Rivers artists. I will look at the artist in his or her regional environment, I will seek to understand their motivations and motivators for belonging to a smaller community, is it more then just a financial decision. I will examine the specific challenges of employment and financial reward for the regional artist and I hope to highlight the diversity, the reward and the wellbeing of living and sustaining the self as an artist in the Australian regional community.

[1] https://australiacouncil.gov.au/research/regional-arts-summary/


Words by Eden Crawford-Harriman


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