Creative Industries Recovery Forum

Creative Industries Recovery Forum

Creative industries from across the Northern Rivers region gathered in July to lay the foundations for a sector-led approach to recovery following the recent flood disaster. Delivered by Arts Northern Rivers, the Forum addressed impacts of isolation, creative business atrophy and positive regional futures. With many creatives asking the question; “where to now?”, this Forum aimed to bring the creative community together, revitalise cohorts and networks and support the Northern Rivers on its path towards a thriving future.

Arts Northern Rivers’ advocacy and support immediately following the disaster resulted in over $220,000 delivered in direct rapid response funding to individual flood affected creatives. Through this response, a sector wide snapshot of the direct impact was gained, documenting financial losses and damage from both independent creatives and organisations across the region. One of the key insights gained is the need for the creative industries to come together as a sector.

In response to this, the Forum’s main objective was to provide practical support for priority areas of the recovery of the creative industries to bolster the sustainable recovery and rebuild agenda of the entire region. As part of the medium-term flood recovery strategy, this two-day regional Forum brought together the creative industry to develop a future road map for longer term recovery.

The event designed a recovery map in real time using Open Space methodology. The event was accessible, and trauma informed, bringing a range of mental health and community services together to form a safe space for relationship building and connection.



Arts Northern Rivers worked with research agency Patternmakers to produce the Creative Industries Recovery Forum Report. It documents the outcomes of the forum, supplementing observations with additional analysis and conversations with stakeholders not present at the forum.

The purpose of the report was to build a story of the Northern Rivers recovery needs and identify opportunities to strengthen the creative industries in the region.

5 interrelated areas of need in the region’s creative industries were identified from the analysis of data and have informed the three recovery project streams announced

  • REPAIR: Supporting artists and organisations to replace losses and rebuild their practices
  • PREPARE: Helping artists and organisations disaster-proof their practice and strengthen resilience
  • INFLUENCE: Advocating for the creative industries and ensuring artists are central to recovery
  • WORK: Creating opportunities for artists to work, generate earnings and support community recovery
  • THRIVE: Working towards a more equitable, vibrant and newly flourishing arts sector


Arts Northern Rivers has capacity to support the three streams by:

  • Investing in professional development to build capacity for creative recovery and preparedness
  • Shape opportunities for residencies, commissions and projects
  • Improve equity and strengthen alignment across the region
  • Ensure there are ongoing opportunities for connection
  • Collect and share information about the recovery process


Click here to read more about the three recovery project streams announced.

Thank you to all of those involved, including forum attendees, interviewees, and all of those involved in delivering the forum.


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The issues, needs and opportunities identified in the report are not exhaustive. While an effort has been made to speak to and reflect the perspectives of a broad range of stakeholders and representatives from the Northern Rivers community, the situation is constantly changing. People recover at different rates and new needs will continue to reveal themselves.

If the report has raised any questions, suggestions or ideas, or you’d like to offer your feedback, you can fill out the feedback form here.

We’d love to hear from you. This report is the product of conversations and collaborations of artists and arts workers from across the Northern Rivers and beyond. It’s vital that we continue hearing from the voices of those affected, working together to deliver the changes the region needs.


Download the Creative Industries Recovery Forum Report.

Download the Book of Proceedings.This document is a recording of all topics discussed during the forum. All notes and opinions presented within this paper have been presented exactly as penned by those contributors at the Forum.

Read more about the three recovery project stream outcomes.

Image | Mitch King photographed by Kate Holmes