Vision of the Region, Arts & Culture
Bendigo, 15 & 16 April

Bendigo was on show last Friday and Saturday as a vibrant regional capital, as twenty-seven community leaders from around the region were treated to two days of art, culture, debate, cross cultural conversation, skills building and a flight over the region.   The 2016 Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program participants were in Bendigo exploring various ‘Visions of the Region’ with a particular focus on arts and culture.  No vision of the region conversation would be complete without a flight over the region, which participants enjoyed in small planes, following an address by Councillor James Williams on the Bendigo Airport Redevelopment Project, which is a vital part of the future growth and sustainability of the region.

Participants workshopped Cross Cultural Awareness – in tune with the recent Festival that was a part of the City of Bendigo’s drive towards Cultural Inclusion – and they also benefitted from a conversation on ‘Islam and Bendigo’, led by members of the local Muslim community, followed by a delicious multicultural lunch hosted by Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services.

A tour of the Ulumbarra Theatre on its first birthday with manager Davd Lloyd alongside a conversation with Bendigo Art Gallery Director Karen Quinlan gave participants an insight into the rich benefits to Bendigo and region of world class facilities and showcases of the Arts.

Friday’s program was capped off with Community Leadership Loddon Murray’s annual ‘Vision of the Region dinner with a panel of inspirational speakers: Stan Liacos – Regional Director of Regional Development Victoria; Robyn Lindsay – Executive Director of Acute Health, Bendigo Health; Leah Sertori – Chief Executive Officer of Bendigo Business Council and Peter Tuohey – President of The Victorian Farmers Federation.  Once the speakers had given their own vision of the region, dinner guests put forward questions to them and it brought very interesting conversation about future directions, changes and challenges ahead for our region.

Community leaders often need to be well versed in how to access and understand the workings of the media so the program included the opportunity to see and hear more about the workings of ABC Radio with station manager Sian Gard and presenter Jo Printz, followed by a workshop on working with the written media.  Another fundamental leadership skill was workshopped with Peter Dhu’s memorable public speaking presentation.  Peter has come from being a chronic stutterer and selective mute for ten years, delivering his first public speech at the age of 43, to a nationally regarded public speaking coach.