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Connecting Communities & Culture

Following the tragic Black Saturday bushfires, the Victorian State Government (Arts Victoria) rolled out an arts-led initiative to galvanise community support and unity. The arts performed an important role in rebuilding bushfire-affected communities similarly to other more tangible infrastructure projects.

The Black Saturday bushfires were a series of bushfires that either ignited or were already burning across the Australian state of Victoria on and around Saturday, 7 February 2009, and were among Australia’s all-time worst bushfire disasters. The fires occurred during extreme bushfire weather conditions and resulted in 173 fatalities. Many people were left homeless as a result. The day has become widely referred to in Australia as Black Saturday.

The arts were seen to be a powerful medium that allowed people to express what was inexpressible in words. They created a ‘caring community’ by increasing people’s self confidence, contributing to the forming of new communities, bringing order to people’s lives, creating living memorials to the bushfires and allowing people to give to others.

The response has been seen as a model from which other initiatives and actions have been developed. Further information is available at the following links:

Creative Victoria:
https://creative.vic.gov.au/research/reports/archived-reports/the-role-of-the-arts-in-rebuilding-community

https://creative.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/56903/The_role_of_arts_in_rebuilding_community_-_Final_Report.pdf

NSF Consulting:
http://nsfconsulting.com.au/bushfire-recovery-six-success-factors-from-the-black-saturday-recovery-process/

Black Saturday Museum:
https://www.blacksaturdaymuseum.com/natural_disasters.pdf

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