Meadowlink Linear Park
Victoria | Urban
The exhibition was funded through the Northern Territory (NT) Government Turbocharging Tourism stimulus package, and was part of a strategic investment into festivals and events, recognising their ability to support liveability, tourism and local jobs.
Bruce Munro has a track record of creating “destination art” projects that stimulate local spend. The NT Government had an opportunity to leverage the global awareness of, and interest in Mr Munro’s work to create a major event that attracted tourism during their “Tropical Summer” (low period -November to April).
The implementation of this major event was to act as a catalyst in changing perceptions about travelling to Darwin during the low period season, as well as changing behaviours in how local industry promote and develop experiences for visitors and locals across the Tropical Summer.
Due to the scale and scope of the project, a range of community engagement methods were implemented at the beginning of the project which included; briefings, advertising, community visioning, focus groups, media stories, newsletters, public meetings, social media, surveys and tours to bring people on board.
The project design included three major components, which each provided points of active engagement for stakeholders and community to contribute and support the project. They included the exhibition, the Community Engagement Program and tourism.
The exhibition had two major themes ‘Place’ (Darwin) and ‘Time’ (Tropical Summer). It was located in the Darwin CBD, aiming to stimulate activation for this destination across the low season for both day and night. Fifteen public open spaces were selected within this area to display the series of works of the exhibition. This created a two-and-a-half kilometre trail for people to move around the city in various ways, creating a sense of place, and encouraging active recreation through opportunities for exploration.
The Community Engagement Program invited co-contributors to support the destination with tour providers creating Bruce Munro: Tropical Light product/packages and experiences that value-added to the exhibition and brought business to retailers/hospitality and hotels in the CBD. This component gave depth to the sense of place through the inclusion of Darwin and Larrakia artworks with local and cultural stories relating to themes of ‘Place’ and ‘Time’ for viewers to learn.
The Community Engagement Program component additionally supported Territorians experiencing hardship through a Volunteer Program. Up to 200 local volunteers (including community groups, business and students) acted as positive customer service representatives in greeting, informing and promoting the exhibition and Darwin. The volunteer program partnered with the charity CanTeen to raise funds in supporting teenagers with cancer.
The tourism component encouraged the industry to adopt the phrase ‘Tropical Summer’ in its promotion of Darwin as a destination at this unique time of year. Thereby creating new ways of talking about Darwin and new activities that can be experienced at only this time of the year. Local businesses were supported through the provision of Bruce Munro: Tropical Light and Tropical Summer resources to use, such as window decals, placemats, coasters, signage and licence agreements to create products.
The project engaged research evaluation consultants to assist with data collection and the translation of evidence to inform future Bruce Munro: Tropical Light events.
The NT Government through the Department of Tourism, Sport and Culture committed $3.5 million to fund the project.