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Case Studies
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.


During the 2008 Festival global engineering and environmental services firm, URS, hosted key clients at the Festival's Beck's Music Box. Positive feedback from URS' clients and hosts encouraged the company to investigate partnership opportunities for the 2009 Festival. The two companies had common business principles and strategies and commenced a mutually beneficial partnership in support of Beck's Music Box.

Following the success of the 2009 Festival, URS renewed their support of the Beck's Music Box for 2010. The partnership was expanded to involve a key business strategy of both companies: the promotion of sustainable business practices, which aim to achieve enduring positive value across social, economic and environmental outcomes.

In the lead up to the 2010 and 2011 Festivals URS assisted the Festival by providing contra environmental consultancy and developing a sustainability framework encompassing a vision, strategy, goals and tangible action items.  Subsequently, doing what we do in a more environmentally sustainable way has been embraced whole-heartedly by the Festival.

URS's strategies relevant to the partnership:
-Â Satisfying clients' expectations through unique corporate hospitality experiences that help build lasting relationships.
- Realising the full potential of staff through engendering a strong esprit de corp through staff engaging in arts and cultural activities.
- Contributing to community wellbeing by supporting an arts event that challenges, educates, enlightens and inspires its audience.

Festival's strategies relevant to the partnership:
- Quality Festival by presenting an outstanding and innovative contemporary culture program, Beck's Music Box.
- Growth for the future through financial investment to achieve current objectives and ensure audiences for future Festivals.
- Impact and legacy through a sustainability framework to ensure future generations enjoy arts and culture as much as we do today.

Key partnership objectives were agreed on to achieve these strategies:
- To build brand profile and awareness.
- To have a positive impact on staff culture.
- To inspire and motivate all Festival employees, patrons, artists and suppliers to embrace initiatives that created positive social, environmental and economic outcomes.

The partnership is a sophisticated and mutually beneficial relationship providing tangible and intangible benefits to both partners. In 2010, the partnership was the winner of the State Australian Business Arts Foundation (AbaF) Partnering Award.

For further information regarding URS' sustainability services please view the website at

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 2012-2015, 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.