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CAN uses a layered approach to supporting increased engagement, access, inclusion, participation and representation of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) artists and communities in the arts in WA.

This includes:

  • Strategies for Diversity
  • Diversity Working Group
  • Multicultural Arts Portal (MAP)
  • CAN Project Work (Lotterywest Story Street and Dream Plan Do)
  • Stories from the Future

Strategies for Diversity

CAN’s Diversity in the Arts program is supported by Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Lotterywest. CAN acknowledges the definition of a person/s who identify as Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) varies greatly and that the term is not definitive. In this instance we have used the Office of Multicultural Interests (OMI) definition of CaLD to make reference to the wide range of cultural groups and individuals that make up the Australian population. It includes groups and individuals who differ according to religion, race, language or ethnicity except those whose ancestry is Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Celtic, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

In November 2019, CAN co-presented the Strategies for Diversity PD session with the Chamber of Arts and Culture WA. This session hosted Australia Council for the Arts CEO Adrian Collette, CEO of Multicultural Arts Victoria Veronica Pardo, and CAN’s Diversity Manager Zheela Vokes.

The event launched three case studies on arts organisation and projects that are leading the way in terms of diversity and inclusion.

These case studies have been developed by a Diversity Working Group comprising of artists, art workers, representatives from arts organisations, community groups, and academics, facilitated by Community Arts Network during 2019. The group discussed what best practice, in terms of cultural and linguistic diversity, could look like for arts organisations and projects. These video case studies are a resource developed to support arts organisations that are seeking to diversify their arts practices and become more inclusive. 

Ashley Yihsin Chang: Antipodean Encounters

Curated by Ashley Yihsin Chang, Antipodean Encounters was the culmination of a year of intercultural dialogue, interaction and collaboration between twenty-two Taiwanese-born women living in Perth and twenty-two local women artists.

Taiwanese participants were asked to share the story of an object of personal cultural significance with the group, and the artists paired up with the person whose object evoked in them the strongest response. The duos embarked on a collaborative journey, attending art workshops, lectures and cultural tours; co-creating a series of posters; and developing a body of creative works.

Performing Lines WA: “Layla Majnun”

Performing Lines WA produces transformative contemporary works by West Australian independent artists. They champion the unconventional, the marginal, the rebellious and the new.

In 2019, Performing Lines WA collaborated with poet and scholar Feraidoon Mojadedi and culturally and linguistically diverse artists from WA to bring “Layla Majnun” to the stage in Australia for the very first time.

“Layla Majnun” is an epic tale of love and separation which has been told across the Islamic world for centuries – and yet, it is largely unknown in Australia.

The Centre for Stories

Established in 2015 by John and Caroline Wood, The Centre for Stories curates high-quality stories that inspire thought and encourage empathy and tolerance. Storytelling is used as a vehicle to inspire social cohesion and improve understanding of diverse communities.

They seek to empower those whose perspectives and experiences are often sidelined or silenced, including refugees, migrants, people of colour, sexual minorities, the elderly, and people with disabilities. They champion excellent craft, unique perspectives and artistic value and are committed to developing storytelling for long-term community benefits.

A Diversity Working Group (DWG) established in August 2018 is now steering the co-design of a strategy. This is a diverse group of arts peer organisations, CaLD artists and arts workers, service and local government providers, community members and researchers, involved in the CaLD and arts sectors in WA. Members bring a range of skills, experiences, cross-sector knowledge and a plurality of voices to the table, with value placed on lived experience and an active commitment to the work.

The main purpose of the DWG is to co-design a strategy to influence greater access, inclusion and representation in the arts sector, specifically focused on cultural and linguistic diversity.

Diversity Working Group

One of the main issues highlighted through consultation was the need for a common infrastructure and knowledge linking tool.

The Multicultural Arts Portal (MAP) is a geospatial search engine which uses an online map to make it easy for arts and cultural organisations and CaLD artists and communities to connect with each other. It will be readily searchable by features such as art form/s, activities, types of organisation, demographics, cultural groups, funding & partnerships among others. When you click on an organisation or artist of interest, the key information and contact details will pop up. The MAP is in response to broad sector consultation highlighting the need for a knowledge linking tool.

CAN welcomes the arts sector to participate. The more data on the map, the greater the benefit of all. More than 150 arts peer organisations, individual artists, community groups, and service and local government providers across WA have engaged to date.

If you or your organisation would like to be part of the online map we invite you to provide the relevant information via one of the four different online forms:

Arts & Cultural Organisations: Click here
Service Providers & Local Governments: Click here
Community Groups: Click here
Individual Artists: Click here

CAN is proud to annouce that MAP the Multicultural Arts Portal is now live. MAP is a new online portal connecting CaLD artists and communities with arts and cultural organisations in Western Australia. MAP connects users from a diverse mix of art forms, organisations and cultural groups with just a few simple clicks.

Search the Map

Underpinning the strategic work and advocacy with arts peer organisations, is the project work that CAN is developing with CaLD communities, often in partnership with state and national peers. In 2019 with support from Lotterywest CAN launched two new programs, Lotterywest Story Street and Lotterywest Dream Plan Do, ensuring CAN is working directly with CaLD communities.

Lotterywest Story Street is a new community storytelling project by CAN. It will begin with the creation of a travelling library containing significant histories, creative toolkits, literature, art and performance created with CaLD members of the cities of Canning, Stirling and Wanneroo. With Lotterywest Story Street, people can make their own streets, and they can speak to the communities of their own heart.


CAN’s Lotterywest Dream Plan Do is a new community arts mentoring program in 2019 which aims to support arts projects that bring CaLD community voices to the forefront. Up to $20k funding is awarded to help organisations or community groups.

Lotterywest Dream Plan Do

CAN was excited to co-host the WA Stories From The Future workshops with Diversity Arts Australia and Regional Arts WA. These workshops invited culturally diverse creatives and arts workers to imagine a timeline towards an equitable culturally diverse arts future in Australia.

The workshops flowed from the personal to the structural and systemic. Exercises encouraged reflection on individual experiences of marginalisation in the arts – as well as collectively imagining milestones towards an equitable culturally diverse arts scene in 2050.

Regionally based culturally diverse creatives or arts workers had the opportunity to apply for RAF Quick Response Grants from Regional Arts WA, to assist covering the cost of travel and accommodation in order to attend.


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