COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Rio Tinto
In 2007, the Festival approached Rio Tinto to support a single event in the 2008 Festival, a theatre commission of Tim Winton’s The Turning.
After a successful year, the Festival worked with Rio Tinto to negotiate a three year partnership with the Children and Young People’s Program. This was deemed a logical fit, as it was well aligned with the Festival’s artistic vision and Rio Tinto’s community investment priorities. Its principle was that young people are the future creators and consumers of the arts, and it is therefore vital to provide events that speak directly to this important community of people. It had three components:
1. Schools program
2. Events for Children and Families
3. Family Day at the Perth Writers Festival
The partnership also provided opportunities for Rio Tinto employee participation and engagement; a key objective for the business.
For Festivals 2012–15, Rio Tinto has entered into a new and exciting partnership with Perth Festival. This unprecedented partnership has split the Family Program and Education Program into two distinct programs both worthy of support, development and expansion. Rio Tinto’s support will impact the shape and scope of the next four Festivals in a lasting and important way.
A Mutually Beneficial Partnership
The partnership with Perth Festival enables Rio Tinto and the Festival to reap benefits which achieve outcomes beyond what could be achieved individually.
The partnership enables Rio Tinto to demonstrate its commitment to the arts, education, young people and Western Australia in the areas in which it operates.
It engages in unique and high profile leveraging activities to communicate this commitment to internal and external stakeholders including staff, government, media, Western Australian teachers and the broader community.
For the Festival, the partnership is more than a program investment. It provides strong advocacy for its mission and ambition, as well as access to new audiences, through Rio Tinto’s stakeholder involvement. Introduction to Rio Tinto community investment partners, the State Library and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA), have also facilitated additions to the Program; the Better Beginnings tent at the Perth Writers Festival Family Day and the 'Educating for Innovation' seminar offered through PICA at the 2011 Festival.
INNOVATION: Wesfarmers Arts
In 2003 the Festival and Wesfarmers developed a programming strategy to enable the Festival to commission new artistic work – the Wesfarmers Arts Commission Series.
As a diversified company Wesfarmers has built an impressive record of identifying potential in under-performing companies, investing in those companies and making strategic changes which release the value for shareholders and pay dividends long into the future.
Wesfarmers applied these same business principles to the Wesfarmers Arts Commission Series. It demonstrated strong vision and strategy to implement a capacity building objective in the local arts sector, which will pay creative dividends for all of Western Australia.
The Series established a significant pool of money to be invested in the creative development of new work. Like all research and development the creation of new work attracts significant risk. Wesfarmers' investment meant the Festival, in partnership with the Western Australian flagship arts companies, could absorb this risk and giving leading local, national and international artists the freedom to create new work:
The Festival & West Australian Ballet, 2005, Kalmuk
The Festival & West Australian Symphony Orchestra, 2006, Vexations and Devotions
The Festival & Black Swan Theatre Company, 2006, The Odyssey
The Festival & West Australian Opera, 2007, The Love of the Nightingale
In 2007 the partnership won the State and National Australia Business Arts Foundation (AbaF) Marsh Partnering Award for partnerships between businesses employing 200 or more people. The Partnership then went on to win the Partnership of the Year Award.
'A leading example of what the Australia Business Arts Foundation Partnership Awards are about, in the sense that you have a great corporation providing significant funding and producing quality outcomes that is also doing a significant amount of work to underscore the importance of the arts both to patrons and the community.' AbaF Partnership Award Judge
Wesfarmers Arts renewed its support of the Festival for the ART:CITY program which will transform our city spaces during the 2008 to 2011 Festivals.
ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: Synergy
The Festival and Synergy have been working together in partnership since 2010. Initially, the partnership focused on the provision of Renewable Energy Certificates for all venues during the Festival, as well as a cash partnership to bring an international work to Perth.
Following the success of the 2010 Festival, Synergy renewed their support for 2011–13. The partnership was then expanded to involve the promotion of environmentally sustainable work practices and projects aimed at raising awareness.
Each year, the Festival’s sustainability committee agrees upon a range of activities that will enable the Festival to be presented in a more sustainable way. These activities span the breadth of the Festival and have included the areas of audience and stakeholder engagement, sponsorship, marketing and technical.
As a result, the Festival has embraced environmentally sustainable practices in its day-to-day activities. In 2010 the Festival developed an environmental sustainability strategy and framework that continues to guide decisions and behavior. The strategy outlines three key goals:
- Make a positive social contribution through sharing culture and the arts and making the Festival accessible to the entire Perth community, regardless of social status or financial situation.
- Annually reduce the impact on the environment through responsible resource use, conservation initiatives, waste minimisation schemes, and the reduction of carbon emissions.
- Positively influence the behaviour of artists, patrons, suppliers and stakeholders toward sustainability, through innovation and the promotion of the Festival’s sustainability vision, purpose and values.
Synergy and the Festival agreed on three key partnership objectives to achieve these goals:
- To inspire all Festival stakeholders to embrace sustainability initiatives that create positive social and environmental outcomes.
- To have a positive impact on the Festival and the wider community.
- To raise awareness of the Festival’s sustainability strategy and Synergy’s support of sustainable business practices.
The partnership is a mutually beneficial relationship that provides tangible and intangible benefits to both Synergy and the Festival. Key achievements for the 2012 Festival include:
- Reduced consumption of 600ml bottled water from 6,000 units in 2011 to 4,000 units in 2012.
- Invested in signage within the Festival Gardens, used to educate audiences on recycling and waste management.
- Converted from bottled beer at Beck’s Music Box in 2011 to draught beer and bio-cups at Festival Gardens in 2012.
- The Festival Gardens designer and team placed significant emphasis on using recycled materials to produce furniture and dressings for the venue, that would have otherwise ended up in landfill.
- Hired biofuel generators to generate power for the Festival’s outdoor free events.
- Provided NaturalPower renewable energy for all Festival venues – 183 mega-watt hours of NaturalPower in total.