Community Relevance

Arts organisations connecting with communities

  • Understand
  • How do we look beyond our existing communities?
  • Connect
  • How do we identify and make new connections?
  • Build
  • How do we develop respectful collaborations?
  • Share
  • How do we create and exchange collaboratively?
  • Reflect
  • How do we know we are relevant?

The Australia Council for the Arts developed the Community Relevance Guide to support arts organisations to create meaningful connections with communities.

Within the Guide there are five stages of Community Relevance. Each stage contains questions to consider followed by practical information for action. Click on the above to explore each of the five stages.

Why a Community Relevance Guide?

Being relevant to communities means making art that matters to society. In this time of global change, when communities are changing rapidly, arts organisations need to stay relevant to survive and thrive.

Community Relevance is one of the five elements of Artistic Vibrancy, which is a term that seeks to capture the different dimensions of artistic success and achievements that arts organisations strive for.



What is Community Relevance?

How do arts organisations stay relevant? There’s no simple answer. As many arts organisations are discovering, Community Relevance isn’t something you are, it’s something you do. It’s about being open to meaningful self-reflection, establishing connections with communities, and taking action.

What is Community?

A community is a group of people who share something in common. What connects the community could be geographic, cultural, a demographic feature, a shared interest or issue, a common experience or need. Communities are defined by their members and exist where there is awareness, structure or affinity between them.

What is Relevance?

Relevance means having a meaningful relationship to the life of a community. This relationship is subjective, and to understand it requires a connection over time to the community or communities in question.

  • Community Relevance in action

    An epiphany for Patch Theatre Company led to them involving children and families in their artmaking, taking the company in a new artistic direction.

    Read more
  • Community Relevance in action

    Opera Australia's vision to program work that is relevant to contemporary Australia helped bring about a shift in the organisation.

    Read more
  • Community Relevance in action

    Black Swan Theatre looked at their reach across WA and realised they needed broader connection. This led to a collaboration with the town of Carnarvon yielding surprising results.

    Read more
  • Community Relevance in action

    Producer Fiona de Garis shares her experience of engaging with communities while touring contemporary dance work Shiver.

    Read more