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Peter Wood - creative landscapes of the Northern Rivers

First in a series featuring our regional leaders. Introducing Peter Wood, Executive Director Arts Northern Rivers.

Peter Wood has over 25 years’ experience in the arts and creative industries. He has worked in senior marketing and communication roles for Sydney Opera House, Company B Belvoir, Bell Shakespeare Company and Historic Houses Trust NSW.

What are your responsibilities at Arts Northern Rivers?
We are the peak body and support agency for creative individuals and organisation in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. Part of a state-wide network of 14 regional arts boards, we provide strategic direction for sustainable arts and cultural development for our vibrant region.

What is the art culture scene like in the Northern Rivers?
Huge! I view it as a huge opportunity and a huge challenge. There is an influential creative drift from the metropolitan areas up to the Northern Rivers which attracts a lot of creatives from around the country.

What have you noticed the main difference between the arts industry and culture in the country vs the city?
The key difference between metropolitan and regional areas is the access to resources. This in turn drives the creativity because you need to be creative about the limited resources that you do have – this leads to developing strong partnerships. On that urban/ city level, I didn’t experience that level of partnership; it’s more competitive in the metro areas as opposed to genuine partnership and support process for projects within the regional areas.

What are the biggest events within the calendar year for the Arts Northern Rivers?
We’ve just been working on the Art on Bundjalung Markets, a free family event presenting a unique opportunity to purchase authentic Indigenous artwork and to meet the makers. It was a great success with 3,000 people through on the day the stallholders and artists generated over $28,000 worth of sales.

We’re currently working on relaunching a digital online platform called ‘Northern Rivers Creative’, targeting creative industries across the Northern Rivers. This will be a directory site and supported with skills and development opportunities for those participating on the site. This will be segmented into various creative industry types.

Image: Kate Holmes