Cultural programs

Council has a number of programs and projects which aim to facilitate a range of arts and cultural activities to contribute to a creative and connected community. These projects include:

Verses – Poets in Residence

This pilot program commenced in May 2017, placing eight accomplished Hunter poets in residence across seven Maitland cafes, for an initial period of three to six months. The concept for the program is to provide the poet with a place to write and develop their craft in return for some light refreshment. In return, the poet enriches the cultural life of the café through conversations, connections and performances.

The purpose of the program is to raise the profile of the written and spoken word, refocusing engagement and interest in poetry as a form of creative expression. Poets are encouraged to continue their residencies beyond the pilot program and encourage new member poets to join the Maitland Verses collective.

The Verses poets are well linked by their own network collaborating on activities such as ‘Ekphrasis’, a vivid description of a visual work of art and poetry readings. Poet profiles and the weekly times and locations of the residences are available at Verses - Poet Profiles and Weekly timings. Members of the public are invited to have a coffee and chat about all things poetic with the Verses poets.

For more information please contact Community Planner – Capacity Building on 02 4934 9753.

Planned: Maitland Cultural Co-operative

The cultural cooperative aims to establish a sustainable community organisation run by member organisations, artists and creatives by 2019. Its purpose will be to share resources, create collaborations, promote cultural activities and build capacity across the cultural sector. This will include visual and performing arts, cultural heritage and literature based organisations, initiatives and individuals. The cooperative will focus on forging new partnerships and increasing cultural output across Maitland, helping to actively celebrate the role of culture in our city.

Workshops will be conducted in late 2017 to establish the most suitable working structure for the cooperative.

For more information please contact Community Planner – Capacity Building on 02 4934 9753.

Planned: Maitland Film Society

By 2018 this project intends to establish a local, not for profit film society who will develop and administer an annual program of international cinema releases. The Maitland Film Society will be a community organisation screening a diverse range of quality world films that are not widely screened in commercial cinemas or on television.

The society will be volunteer run and members will form a committee to manage the coordination of the society and screening of selected films. Members will pay an annual membership fee to belong to the society and attend the screenings.

For more information please contact City Librarian 02 4934 9704

Planned: Aboriginal Heritage Educational Resource Unit

This educational resource is being developed in partnership with local Aboriginal groups, including Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council and the Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, and schools. The purpose is to connect students in years 3 to 6 with topics such as Community and Remembrance, and local Aboriginal Places of Significance and the stories behind these sacred places. It is planned to release the teaching resource to schools across Maitland in early 2019.

For more information please contact Council's Heritage Officer on 02 4934 9753.


Maitland has a small but growing multicultural community with the 2016 census showing that 7.65% of Maitland residents were born overseas. Through various multicultural projects we aim to promote Maitland as a cohesive and harmonious place to live, work, play and study.

Individuals and communities from diverse backgrounds are recognised through activities which celebrate diversity, including Riverlights Multicultural Festival and Citizenship Ceremonies.

The Cultural Plan 2016 – 2019 offers opportunities for people from all backgrounds to be involved with programs including:

Multicultural Leaders Development Program (MLDP)

The MLDP is a program of training opportunities that supports the development of leadership skills for newly arrived or established multicultural individuals. This program is part of the Maitland City Council Cultural Plan 2016-19, which aims to develop and celebrate the role of culture across Maitland and build on the existing strengths within different communities. Projects to date have included Maitland’s first community led public Harmony Day event and a Humanities Business Start Up Workshop run in partnership with Newcastle University.

For more information please contact Community Planner – Capacity Building on 02 4934 9753

How can your culture be part of Riverlights Multicultural Festival

Multicultural groups and communities from diverse backgrounds are at the heart of the iconic Riverlights Multicultural Festival, with 29 different cultures from around the world represented in 2016. Communities are invited to represent their cultural heritage by offering exciting activities such as free food tastings, cultural activities, performances and fashion shows. These activities foster community wide celebration and conversation through cultural sights, sounds, tastes and smells.

To get involved with shaping the next festival's content, come and join the Riverlights Community Committee.

The benefits of getting involved:

  • Share the best of your cultures traditions and customs, through music, arts and performance, games, entertainment and food with thousands of people.
  • Be part of a growing and spectacular festival that champions multiculturalism and cultural diversity, and its place and importance in our society.
  • Make new connections with visitors and all involved with the festival and contribute to improving public awareness and knowledge of different cultures.
  • Unite with your community as they prepare to participate in a festival where they plan the content.
  • Participate in an event where you can celebrate your cultural roots amongst other cultures of the world.

For more information please contact Community Planner – Capacity Building on 02 4934 975