Twenty Twelve So Far

April brings with it the 3rd anniversary of this little blog. That also means that if I stretch the number of posts I’ve made (155 or so) across those three years you get a very poor average in terms of update rates. Tsk. If you’ve got time to kill (and can’t possibly find anything better to do on the Internet) take a trip through the archives and some of my older articles. You might enjoy my bossy guide on how to conduct oneself at an exhibition opening, or if you can stand it you could plow through my rant about the 17th Biennale of Sydney and why I hate Cockatoo Island as an arts venue. I might also suggest checking out the debate I accidentally spurred surrounding guerrilla/squat art events in Canberra, discovering what it really means to be a freelancer, or my general confusion and uneasiness around Brodburger being housed by a publicly funded art institution. Or you might just decide to go on YouTube instead.

Enough about then, what’s happened recently?

Hadley, myself and Finnigan launch our You Are Here 2012 program at Smith's Bookshop in February (Photo: Adam Thomas)

From late 2011 it was all systems go in preparation for You Are Here 2012, which snowballed in momentum until the festival took place from March 8-18. This time around, David Finnigan and I were joined by third co-producer Adam Hadley, and provided with much needed office space courtesy of The Canberra Theatre Centre – complete with whiteboard and pot plants. I suspect I have gone on about it enough in previous posts, but head to youareherecanberra.com.au for all the stories, photos and videos from this year’s festivities. Oh, and get out your long-range planners as we will shortly be beginning work towards You Are Here 2013 – The Final Countdown (they don’t really call it that, I call it that), penciled in for March 14-24.

Also in late 2011, myself and co-collaborator partners in (art) crime George Rose and Vanessa Wright were successful in receiving an ArtsACT grant in the 2012 round. The funding goes towards our research into artist-run initiatives and co-working spaces with an aim toward creating a practical and affordable co-working space for artists and freelance creatives in the centre of Canberra. We’re getting our heads around the different organisational and business models that are currently operating with similar projects in other cities so as best to find a workable option for this funny little city of ours. We’re excited that ArtsACT has taken such an interest in this idea and are hugely grateful for their support thus far.

In February I was asked by the amazing and tireless Rosie Stevens of Scissors Paper Pen to facilitate a panel discussion happening in conjunction with Melbourne’s Women of Letters and The National Library of Australia. I was joined by David Pope (political cartoonist), Michaela McGuire (co-curator, Women of Notes), Susannah Helman (curator, National Library) and Kathy Richards (Amnesty International) to discuss the state of the written form, its current challenges and future possibilities, in the context of the Library’s crazily popular Handwritten exhibition. Thanks to some techno-wizardry you can download the podcast of our discussion HERE.

David Pope, Michaela McGuire, myself, Susannah Helman & Kathy Richards following our panel at the National Library

Also in February I was flattered to be approached to join the board of directors for CAPO (Contemporary Arts Patrons Orgranisation). In short: “The Capital Arts Patrons Organisation is a volunteer non-profit organisation that has supported the ACT region’s artists for 28 years.  Since establishment in 1983, CAPO has disbursed over $1.7 million dollars as arts fellowships and awards with support from the Canberra arts and business communities. Goods and services donated to CAPO by Canberra businesses, and outstanding artworks by Canberra’s highly collectible established and promising emerging artists are sold at the annual CAPO auction.” It’s a pretty great scheme that I’m keen to make a contribution toward. Expect much about CAPO activities in future updates.

In March, in between You Are Here, I took some time to do a bit of writing, having been invited by the incredible Lee Grant to contribute an essay to her book Belco Pride, due back from print later this year. I jumped at the chance to sink my teeth into this photographic series, having been a fan for a long while. There will be plenty of bragging to be done once the book is released, so I will save it for another time.

April has found me attempting to take a little time out, on account of a particular major project pending delivery in June (evident from previous photograph). Next week however I am looking forward to contributing towards discussion as a presenter at The Childers Group first public forum – Wednesday the 18th at the Street Theatre. Then, coming up in May, I will be joining Jacinda Jackson, New Best Friend co-director and design superwoman responsible for the amazing You Are Here visual aesthetic, to join a roundtable discussion about branding for arts organisations. The seminar is taking place through the Australian Business Arts Foundation, more info can be found here.

I am also currently working with my fellow Critical Animals co-directors at programming this year’s symposium. The applications are all in and we’re piecing together a stellar line-up of presentations, discussions, readings and performances as a part of This Is Not Art 2012. Last year’s symposium was a standout of TINA, and this year looks to do it all again. I highly recommend you plan to be in Newcastle from 27 September to 1 October, and even though you’ve missed the formal proposal deadline, feel free to drop us a line if you feel you might have something to contribute, or you’d just love to be involved in some way. Head to the Critical Animals site for all the info and contact details.

Me (far right) and the This Is Not Art team in Newcastle last year, along with the one of the best damn pieces of architecture I know.

Phew. Well that’s where I’m at as of April 12. I would go and lie down now but I’m already in bed and under the doona. Where do you go from here?

4 Comments

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  1. “The funding goes towards our research into artist-run initiatives and co-working spaces with an aim toward creating a practical and affordable co-working space for artists and freelance creatives in the centre of Canberra.”

    I’m very interested in this. While it looks like there’s still a few years left in the ol’ Downer Business park, I’m still keeping an eye out for possible new dwellings for the Hackerspace just in case the Downer Centre Precinct revitalisation happens sooner than we expect.

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  2. Hey loved the twenty twelve update. Had missed a few reads and this was a great catch up, also checked out some earlier posts as the reminders pointed to. Didn’t know about the major project looming delivery in June, huge congrats and hope you do get some time out of a busy schedule. Thanks for great quick summaries of all that is art in the capital.

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  3. Congrats on 3 years of blogging! I enjoy your take on the Canberra art news so encourage you to keep going.
    Also big congrats on your undelivered project! very exciting!

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