About the Creative City: 
Found on the Yarrowee River in the state of Victoria in Austrilia, Ballarat is an inherently creative and innovative city. Home to 107,000 inhabitants, it is a city built on a rich past, from its strong indigenous culture, to a nineteenth century global rush for gold, to a twentieth century exploration of its own story and narrative. The city is a melting pot of diverse traditional skills in a highly intact historic city. Within Ballarat, the creative sector generates around $US 500 million for the local community and employs nearly 2000 people. Coupled with heritage and culture focus, the crafts and folk art sector is the fastest growing in the city and supports the drive for a more diverse and sustainable economy.
Within the industry, there is a focus on capturing and retaining both the old techniques of indigenous peoples and fostering the new crafts and folk techniques. Traditional and contempory craftspeople, traditional skills, indigenous cultural practises and heritage trades all add to the richness of Ballarat's crafts and folk art legacy, and are celebrated in the Winter Festival which links traditional craft skills with new technologies in a street art exhibition and education event. Traditional artists who work in paper, paint and craft have been provided with skills in augmented reality, adding an additional layer to their productions and exposing their work to a brand-new audience.
The City supports and develops comprehensive policies and schemes to promote participation and growth within the creative industry, including the "Start-Up Ballarat" initiative which provides mentoring, education and networking to startups and entrepreneurs in the crafts and lost trades field. The "Made of Ballarat" programme also seeks to endorse the authentic creative and craft makers in the city by linking local tourism with the craftsman through workshops. It helps to support the local cultural industries by capturing lost trades and skills and identifying those which hold marketable value and stepping the suppliers, purveyors, makers and artists through the marketing and promotion of their product.
Added Value: 
As a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art, Ballarat envisages:
  • being an iconic city which inspires creativity, demands discovery and rewards the inquisitive by establishing crafts and folk art as a new economic heartbeat;
  • celebrating rare and forgotten crafts, providing a welcome platform for new communities and reinvigorating indigenous skills;
  • promoting craft, artisan wares and rare trades as the backbone to empowering all forms of creativity;
  • repositioning investment to stimulate cultural programming that favours creative crossings; and
  • developing capacity building intiatives in UNESCO’s Historic Urban Landscape approach and for First Nations people.
Member since: 
Tara Poole, Coordinator, Creative city of Ballarat artsculture@ballarat.vic.gov.au