Wollongong grasps for cultural identity

Wollongong City Council has just accepted a cultural plan that has been in heavy discussion over the past three weeks.

The progressive plan to expand upon and showcase the cultural aspects of the Illawarra was passed by the Wollongong City Council on Monday night, in a bid to answer the cultural needs of Wollongong as a progressing city.

It was not without some debate as to whether or not this plan should be funded by the Council in order to proceed, but Councillor Leigh Colacino believes that this is “something Wollongong simply needs in order to develop a stronger cultural identity.”

Councillor Colacino, who has been a professional artist for forty years, says cultural identity is what the Illawarra needs to work on.

“I believe what is going on in Wollongong is very diverse but we need to build upon it. The cultural identity of Wollongong can be much stronger, and there is more to our cultural identity than just the arts, and that is what we plan to do with this cultural plan.”

“I look at Wollongong as being incredibly culturally diverse, with all of these make-ups of heritage, but some years ago the opportunities were limited as too what or where you could go out too, and these places were fairly rough… A lot of places were closed down due to violence and now all of that has changed today and we want to keep progressing.”

As a university town thriving with young students, it comes as no surprise that the Wollongong City Council is showing its support for the culture plan, with creative outlet such as the South Coast Writers Centre becoming increasingly popular with young people.

Friederike Krishnahbakdi-Vasilakis, the Director of the South Coast Writers Centre says this cultural plan is what will put Wollongong on the map.

“I think art and culture are apart of life and our daily experience, or at least it should be.

“It should not be seen as separate activity to what we do in our daily life. It’s everything, it is the culture of going out, sitting in a café and maybe listening to live music, or listening to poetry reading. It’s just having that as part of your life, that’s what arts and culture is all about.”

UOWTV Multimedia Reporter: Joseph Smith.

Reading, writing, funding? 

In light of Wollongong City Council’s motion to rescind the funding for the Cultural Plan, Friederike Krishnabhakdi-Vasilakis, the Director of the South Coast Writers Centre and intern Paul Chicharo, spoke about what the Cultural Plan means for the Centre and arts organisations in Wollongong.

UOWTV Multimedia Reporter: Kelsey Sutor 

Arts Attack

The recent rescission of funding from the Wollongong Culture Plan has ignited debate from within the artistic community. Does Wollongong need a Culture Plan? Is the Wollongong arts and culture scene lacking funding? Are there problems with Wollongong’s cultural identity?

UOWTV Multimedia Reporter: Lucy Dean