What We Do >> Research Programs >> Community Engagement

Community Cultural Development and Education Program

Living in a World Heritage Area comes with the complexity and responsibility of maintaining certain heritage regulations laid out in the World Heritage Convention. Responsibilities involve valuing our natural and cultural landscapes by conserving and protecting our heritage and to pass on knowledge to the next generation.


Our program area, Community Engagement, aims to facilitate and encourage wide community engagement and active stewardship in the complexities of caring for place. Projects are conducted to provide more creative, interactive and educational opportunities for individuals to participate in processes that enhance community stewardship and encourage a more active role in local, regional and global issues, especially urban development and sustainable environmental issues.

The arts and cultural expression is used to engage communities in exploring people’s values, attitudes and behaviour to the environment and their relationship with it. These processes provide a rich insight for communities to better understand issues of difference and commonalities. They also offer the potential to create dialogue, to discover the synergy or common ground and to solve complex issues involved with living in a World Heritage area.

Community Cultural Development (CCD)

Coordinator: Cheryle Yin-Lo

Funded by: Community Cultural Development Board, Australia Council for the Arts and Arts NSW

CCD work is based on artistic and creative expression of values. The creative arts are a vehicle and a language that we all understand and can relate to. This allows culture to act as a vital ingredient in building knowledge and understanding in relation to complex environmental issues. CCD processes can encourage new ways of thinking in finding and creating a ‘space’ for negotiation over complex and contentious environmental issues.

The Institute undertakes qualitative research using CCD processes. Themes being explored include; the social ecology of fire (values, attitudes and perspectives) and exploring the meaning of ‘World Heritage’ for local people within the greater Blue Mountains. To achieve this, a professional CCD worker is employed at the Institute as a core staff member.

[ Media Coverage: CCD Holiday Workshop ]



Coordinator: Bronwen Maxwell

Education is the key to stimulating a “culture of research” and to encouraging broad-based public stewardship of the cultural and natural heritage of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area (GBMWHA). An aim of the Institute is to implement a long-term plan for the delivery of public educational services, particularly within the Blue Mountains region, in partnership with its founding partners, in particular, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens and the Blue Mountains City Council.

[ Media Coverage: Earth Journeys ]

Community Engagement Projects:

• Branching Out - Stories from the Blue Mountains

• Nature Through Fresh Eyes

• Rock Art Lives On

• Swamp-care