WA Aboriginal Art Centre Infrastructure & Resourcing Review


Part of the Aboriginal Visual Arts Industry Feasibility led by the Pilbara Development Commission


The Aboriginal Art Centre Hub of Western Australia (AACHWA) in partnership with a collective of Regional Development Commissions, led by the Pilbara Development Commission, will deliver a statewide feasibility into the Aboriginal visual arts industry. 

The feasibility will deliver an industry-led analysis of sector infrastructure and workforce resourcing, in addition to national and international market research. The feasibility will result in a business case aimed at evidencing the future investment required by government to grow and diversify the commercial capacity of the Aboriginal visual arts industry in Western Australia.  

This project has been initiated from long term engagement with Aboriginal Art Centres across Western Australia, expressing the need for critical infrastructure upgrades, sustainable workforce development and resourcing as key areas of priority. The feasibility will engage directly with Art Centres, independent artists, peak bodies, government, and industry as it navigates significant changes triggered by COVID-19 and the opportunities created to capitalise on the growing demand nationally and internationally for Aboriginal art and product.  

This investment recognises the strength of the Aboriginal visual arts industry and its focus on economic participation through the development of people and community. This mix of culture and commerce retains and strengthens cultural heritage whilst supporting regional and remote communities to grow First Nations economies.

As part of the statewide feasibility, AACHWA is leading the WA Aboriginal Art Centre Infrastructure and Resourcing Review as a critical component of the final business case.

Consultation Plan  

There are over 30 art centres spread across Western Australia, generally based in regional and remote communities.

These art centres represent a wide range of management models and histories, all operating from a diverse range of facilities.   

The Project Team will visit over 60% of all Western Australian art centres, with a focus on mid-level and established centres, completing an evaluation of their physical and digital infrastructure.  The review will consider: 

  • Studio and artists amenities 
  • Office, preparation areas and storage 
  • Kitchen, bathroom, and laundry 
  • Gallery and retail space 
  • Staff accommodation 
  • Visitor accommodation 
  • Vehicles and buses 
  • Existing and future access to NBN  
  • Staff and operational resourcing   
Art centres where no site visit is initially possible will be asked to provide data and images through a survey and interview process undertaken by the Project Consultants. This will ensure all art centres are accounted for in the review findings.    

Consultation Schedule  

The following sets out the proposed schedule for consultations and fieldwork for each region:

  • Kimberley 30 October 2023 – 3 November 2023 
  • Goldfields-Esperance 20 November – 24 November 2023 
  • Pilbara12 February 2024 – 16 February 2024 
  • Midwest 4 March 2024 – 8 March 2024 
  • Southwest, Great Southern & Esperance Late March – Early April 2024

Project Team

Tim Acker

Lead Project Consultant

Tim has worked in remote Australia since 1999, focussing on the creative and cultural sector.  His first art centre job was at Warlayirti Artists in Balgo.  Since then, he has worked with art centres across central and northern Australia, including helping set up art centres in locations as diverse as the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, the Torres Strait Islands and Utopia.  Over recent years he has worked on sector-wide projects including leading a national research project into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art centres and contributing to some pioneering projects such as Yiwarra Kuju – The Canning Stock Route, Western Desert Mob and Revealed.

Matt Michael 

Remote Infrastructure Specialist

Matt is a Project Manager who has worked in the community infrastructure space predominantly since 2012. Matt has contributed to consultation processes and managed sub-consultants in the preparation of feasibility studies and business cases for art studios and galleries. Living and working in the Pilbara and Kimberley regions of Western Australia between 2011 and 2022 Matt has an appreciation for the constraints experienced by regional art groups from an infrastructure standpoint and the challenges associated with the delivery of infrastructure projects outside of major towns and cities.

Jenna Dodge

Principal Regional Development Officer, Pilbara Development Commission

Jenna has worked with the State Government for 15 years, with highly specialised skills and knowledge in investment strategy and project development.  Her work covers complex public private partnerships through to grass roots community engagement, all of which she has applied in the development of regional, cross-regional, and state-wide projects within Western Australia.  This unique combination of practical and theoretical knowledge is a result of a decade’s experience in delivering innovative programs and infrastructure that support the cultural and commercial growth of the creative industries. 

Want to know more or have a question?

Simone Johnston

Projects Coordinator

simone@aachwa.com.au or (08) 9200 6248