Background and Brief History
The first Regional Arts Development Officers (RADOs) were originally employed by the Head Office of the Arts Council of NSW in the 1980s. They were employed to work in the Central West, South Coast, Far West and South West Regions. (For more detail on the history of the Arts Council of NSW, please see Fifty Years in the Bush by Justin McDonnell, published in 1998 and available from RANSW.)
In 1998 following a review of the organisation by Justin McDonnell, the Arts Council of NSW was restructured to incorporate two major changes:
1. A new organisational structure
Instead of a head office with a membership of over 100 Local Arts Councils, individual regions were established in rural and regional areas of the State to accommodate the vast differences in the need for arts and cultural development services. These autonomous organisations serviced a number of adjoining local government areas that contributed financially to each organisation known as Regional Arts Boards. By 2011 there were 14 Regional Arts Boards servicing from 3 to 14 LGAs across regional NSW. In 2016, the name Regional Arts Board was changed to Regional Arts Development Organisations to more accurately reflect their growing role in their regions and the leader of each organisation is now known as the Executive Director. The new name for the Arts Council of NSW, Regional Arts NSW, was launched in 1999 and reflected the new structure’s regional, non-metropolitan focus.
2. A new role and way of working
Regional Arts Development Organisations now undertake the programming and planning that meets the needs of each region and maintain relationships with local councils and shires, local arts councils, arts and cultural groups, arts organisations, indigenous groups and institutions (such as Regional Art Galleries), arts educational services and other regional service deliverers. Each Regional Arts Development Organisation (RADO) employs an Executive Director and other ancillary staff as needed and is governed by a volunteer board. The 14 Regional Arts Development Organisations are the members of RANSW. RANSW acts as the peak body and service agency for the regional network working cooperatively and collaboratively in order to achieve the best outcomes for all parties. RANSW services and resources are continually refined to meet the needs of the regional network.