Regional Arts Hubs gather for Congregation

Regional Arts Hubs gather for Congregation

Gemma Robins

This story was created by Network Coordinator Gemma Robins. For more information on the Regional Arts Network click here.


In July, the Regional Arts Hubs from were invited to come together in Perth to complete the Creative Leadership Program and engage in three days of development, conversation and connection – dubbed by the hubs as their first “Congregation”.

On the first day of this event Regional Arts WA invited Dr Shona Erksine to facilitate a process of identifying and planning a project for the Regional Arts Network initiative. Shona used skills and techniques which built directly out from the Creative Leadership Program, such as group facilitation, space design and the shifting technique (a technique for rapidly generating a wide range of ideas and solutions), so the Hubs could see these concepts brought to life. She focused on the Process Enneagram theory which guides you to look at a complex program through nine different perspectives. The theory relies on openness and trust, encouraging participants to engage with a willingness to learn.

A woman stands in front of a small crowd of six or so people, pointing to something on a projector screen. A whiteboard stands to the left of the presenter, filled with writing.

Shona Erskine leads the Hubs in the Creative Leadership Program.

Day two dug deep into the last module of the Creative Leadership program. COVID-19 travel restrictions had seen the first two modules of the Creative Leadership Program adapted for online delivery however, with eased restrictions, the Hubs seized this opportunity to come together and finish the program face-to-face.

With the Hub Coordinators now clued in to how the Creative Leadership Program is conducted and its benefits, they will be able to identify and approach potential local participants in their communities to co-deliver the program with Shona. Watch this space to find out more about how the Creative Leadership Program will travel to Hub communities.

The final day was hosted by Regional Arts Network stakeholder Minderoo Foundation at their new premises, The Swan. The morning was led by the Network’s Evaluation team, from the Centre for Social Impact, to present the findings and recommendations from the first year. Regional Arts WA CEO Paul MacPhail continued the conversation, raising discussion of Network plans to move forward in year 2.

Three people look intently at a piece of paper set out between them. Two of them point to different parts of the paper as they converse.

Hubs at work. Picture by Jacob Spurr.

Minderoo kindly invited The Hon Jay Weatherill, CEO of their Thrive by Five Initiative and former Premier and Arts Minister of South Australia, to share his own leadership journey and learnings along the way. One thing from the conversation that personally stood out for me was the notion that Leadership is about having the ability to keep moving and not standstill, even through the chaos. It’s a take away that’s especially pertinent now, as we’re all working in an environment that is constantly changing and challenging us. We almost don’t have the choice to standstill, we must make decisions quickly in order to adapt and be resilient.

We were also joined by Minderoo co-founder Nicola Forest, who listened to the Hubs share the activities and challenges their local communities are currently facing.

A big thank you to everyone involved in the process: Regional Arts WA staff & Board, Shona, Minderoo Foundation – and most importantly, the Hubs themselves!

I look forward to sharing future Network updates with the sector. Stay tuned.

A group of people stand smiling in front of a brightly lit gallery wall, adorned with two paintings. Each painting is blue in hue, and depicts native birds.

Congregation attendees from the Regional Arts Hubs and Minderoo Foundation. Picture courtesy of Minderoo Foundation.


The Regional Arts Network is proudly supported by the Minderoo Foundation and The Ian Potter Foundation, and with funding from the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund.

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