A VISUAL artist, a filmmaker and a curator are just some of the creative people selected to be tenants in the City of Sydney’s first affordable live-work spaces for emerging artists.

The spaces have been offered to six artists for one year as part of Sydney’s efforts to support culture and creativity at the city’s William Street Creative Hub. 

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the city’s program of affordable creative spaces in William and Oxford Streets was giving talented Sydneysiders the opportunity to build thriving businesses and contribute to the city’s growing reputation for culture. 

“Artists make a valuable and unique contribution to our city,” Cr Moore said.

“In a global city like Sydney, people working in creative industries face real challenges finding affordable living and working spaces.

“The William Street live-work spaces are the city’s latest step in supporting creativity and culture. They build upon the success we’ve had with our creative spaces in Oxford St, and help grow William St’s reputation for art and innovation.”

The six units at 113-115 William St in Darlinghurst feature a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and artist-in-residence work space, with a weekly rent of $250 – well below established rental rates for the area.

The artists were selected following a call-out for interested parties, run by the city in collaboration with independent arts organisation, Gaffa. Creative spaces will be provided at affordable rates for established and emerging artists and designers to create and live in the inner-city.

New William St tenant and curator Sophie Kitson said she was excited to be part of an initiative that embraces and supports creatives to nurture and grow their businesses.

“It’s so refreshing that the City of Sydney recognises that artists like myself need studio space in which to work, create ideas and art, build our business and develop our careers,” Ms Kitson said.

“My property will function predominately as an office/workspace for the development of various curatorial projects.

“By residing and working from the one location, I will be able to dedicate my time and energy to writing and creating programs and schedules as well as collecting and acquiring artwork and equipment to install in galleries located in the City of Sydney area.” 

Selected from 49 applicants, the six artists moving into the premises are: 


* Sophie Kitson – an emerging curator with a passion for contemporary art theory, biennales, experimental film and music, spatial relations, land art and rocks. Over the last few years, she has been involved in various architecture, design, public programs and arts projects in Melbourne, Sydney and Italy.

* Monica Brooks and Peter Nelson– multi-disciplinary artists who together produce innovative projects using improvised music, experimental sound composition, painting, animation, 3D printing and prose. In recent years, Ms Brooks and Mr Nelson have presented their works at Australian and international museums, festivals and residencies.

* Ramesh Mario Nithyendran – 2D and 3D visual artist whose works include painting, drawing and printmaking, ceramics, sculpture and installation.

* Linda Dement – an artist and photographer whose works in photography, writing, film and digital arts have been exhibited in galleries and festivals locally and internationally.

* Amber Boardman – a visual artist whose works explore visual representations of music and emotion fused with animated, digital and handmade elements. Ms Boardman has worked with a number of composers and live performers on a series of ‘visual concerts’ as well as immersive public art installations.

* Larin Sullivan – a filmmaker and video artist who began her career in Los Angeles, working on the Sundance Film Festival. Ms Sullivan works as a producer of short-form documentary and arts-related content and is currently working on an Australian biographical political drama.

This is not the first time artists have lived at 113-115 William St. During the Depression of the 1930s, one resident, who described himself as a ‘first class pianist’, was so desperate for work he placed an ad in the Sydney Morning Herald saying he would “take anything” and had a “good sedan car” and 12 years’ driving experience.

The latest group of artists and creatives will join others working in studios, offices, co-working spaces and galleries in the City’s William St Creative Hub.

In June last year seven creatives working in architecture, fashion, design and digital music established their offices on Level 3 at 101–111 William Street, joining flagship commercial tenants Hub Sydney and Cloth Fabric.



THE State Library of Queensland has honoured five award recipients through its annual Queensland Memory Awards program.

State Librarian Janette Wright said the Queensland Memory Awards, supported by the Queensland Library Foundation, recognise important new contributions to the state’s history and documentary heritage. 

“These awards offer those with a keen interest in Queensland history the opportunity to use the materials in the John Oxley Library to uncover our state’s untold stories,” Ms Wright said.

The 2014 award recipients are: Thomas Blake (John Oxley Library Fellowship — 12 months residency in the John Oxley Library), Madeleine King and Nadia Buick (Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame Fellowship — six months residency in the John Oxley Library), Richard Stringer (John Oxley Library Award), and Adopt a Digger (John Oxley Library Community History Award).

Presented by the Governor of Queensland, Penelope Wensley, the inaugural Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame Fellowship was awarded to Madeleine King and Nadia Buick for their proposed project High Street Histories: Queensland’s fashion business leaders.

Therecipient of the prestigious John Oxley Library Fellowship, supported by the Queensland Library Foundation, is Thomas Blake for his proposed project Liquid Gold: the history of the Great Artesian Basin in Queensland.

High Street Histories is described by the judging panel as creative, innovative, engaging; it has the potential to change people’s minds about business history,” Ms Wright said.

“This online project will examine Queensland’s fashion business history and map approximately 12 key fashion sites throughout the state with an aim to link these sites to the communities around them.

“The judging panel believe well-known historian Thomas Blake’s project Liquid Gold will be of great public interest as the project documents the history of the Great Artesian Basin, with a focus on its social and economic impacts.

“Thomas plans to expand on his 2006 historical overview of the Great Artesian Basin and explore the effects on areas such as pastoral industries, towns and settlements, Indigenous groups, health, and recreation.”

Louise Denoon, executive manager Queensland Memory, said an extensive list of candidates was compiled in the search for the John Oxley Library Award and John Oxley Library Community History Award recipients.

“Distinguished architectural photographer Richard Stringer was presented the John Oxley Library Award for his work in documenting Queensland’s landscape and architecture heritage over the past 40 years,” Ms Denoon said.

“Richard is renowned for his ability to capture the significance and spirit of structures and places in his photographs and his work has been featured in various landmark publications and exhibitions.”

The John Oxley Library Community History Award, supported by the Queensland Library Foundation, has been granted to Adopt a Digger, a voluntary community project that commemorates the Sunshine Coast region’s men and women who served during the First World War.

“Local residents, historians, school students and descendants are encouraged to ‘adopt a digger’, research the person’s military history and upload this information to the website,” Ms Denoon said.

“This is an outstanding example of a voluntary community project with over 1,300 diggers adopted by the community so far.”

Fellows, researchers, writers, filmmakers, academics, artists and storytellers have delved into thousands of original materials in the John Oxley Library for many years. The Queensland Memory Awards offers the rare opportunity to celebrate excellence in this research and recognise new contributions to Queensland’s documentary heritage.




RIGHT at the moment, the biggest blockbuster movie in production on the planet is being filmed in Queensland.

That $100 million-plus 3D movie’s name is San Andreas and it stars Hollywood ‘go-to’ action star and former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) champion, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. 

It is an outstanding credit for the plucky Australian movie industry, at a time when its exchange rate, approaching parity with the US dollar, is not doing it any favours.

While the word around Australian movie production teams is that the rates of pay are no longer at the ‘very comfortable’ levels of their heyday, these professionals are very glad to be working on such a prestigious project and have a quiet confidence that it will lead to more regular jobs in movie production on behalf of Hollywood.

While much of the media discussion centred on economic incentives to bring film work to Australia – and it has worked, with actor and director Angelina Jolie completing Australian filming of her World War Two epic, Unbroken, the inspirational story of 1936 Olympic runner Louis Zamperini just a few months before San Andreas commenced – word in the industry is that the professionalism and efficiency of the Australian crews is the real clapper-board to the future.

San Andreas is being filmed primarily at Village Roadshow studios on the Gold Coast, and also utilising locations in Brisbane, Gatton, Ipswich and at Archerfield Airport, where rare 1930s-era hangars temporarily became the Los Angeles Fire Department special air operations headquarters and the RACQ Careflight helicopter maintenance crews provided equipment and advice.

San Andreas is said to have been attracted through Warner Bros. by Screen Queensland’s production incentive scheme and the state’s payroll tax rebate. According to Variety magazine, only 18 days of filming for San Andreas has been made in Los Angeles itself, primarily because of poor LA financial incentives.

Officially, San Andreas is expected to create 2700 jobs and generate $40 million into the Australian economy, but it may be that the real long-term value is the tidal rise it brings to the local screen production industry and its tourism onflow.


More coverage in the print edition of Business Acumen, #77.








THE National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) is creating a new business model and organisational structure – and now plans a series of meetings and workshops with supporters and key stakeholders.

The aim of the sessions is to engage with the film, recorded sound and broadcast industries, as well as academia, the cultural sector, and community at large, about the future of the revered NFSA. 

In the wake of comments from industry and the public, NFSA CEO Michael Loebenstein said, “It has been very encouraging to see how deeply people care about the national audio-visual collection as a fundamental piece of our national cultural heritage.

“We want to better understand our stakeholders’ expectations and hear their ideas, and for them to think how they can help the NFSA to remain strong and independent in a rapidly changing and challenging environment.

“These workshops represent an opportunity for us to show how seriously the NFSA takes its role and responsibilities, today and well into the future.”

Gabrielle Trainor, chair of the NFSA Board, agreed.

“We welcome the concern and support we have received,” Ms Trainor said. “We also welcome the opportunity to share our vision, hear from our stakeholders in person, respond to questions, explain the rationale behind the changes, and to engage in constructive discussion.”

Mr Loebenstein plans to share the new vision for the NFSA, and the draft strategic plan 2014/15 to 2016/17, as well as clarify the issues and concerns raised by participants. 
Sessions will be held in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth and Brisbane. The exact dates, times and venues will be published on the NFSA website.



CREATIVE Partnerships has announced the return of its Plus1 matched funding program, offering a pool of $1.75 million in matched funding to assist fund raising initiatives that drive business to support creative programs and the arts.

"Following the overwhelmingly positive response to last year’s pilot program, Plus1 will provide an incentive to attract new and increased donations to the arts sector," said Creative Partnerships CEO Fiona Menzies. "This program is open to participants Australia-wide." 

Plus1  is allocating up to $1.75 million in matched funding for development or fundraising campaigns that will assist arts organisations to attract new donors and grow stronger donor networks, Ms Menzies said.

Applications opened on September 24. Ms Menzies said program participants would be selected by an assessment panel by January 2015, and all participants would need to be ready to roll out their fundraising campaigns between February and late May 2015.

Project ideas could range from the implementation of an innovative fundraising strategy to attract new donors to a creative project designed to attract new private sector funding, or the investment in business systems to support long term development objectives.

Creative Partnerships has also announced its MATCH program will launch in early 2015.

"This program will leverage Creative Partnerships’ flagship platform, the Australia Cultural Fund (ACF), by matching funds raised via the ACF by artists and unincorporated arts groups," Ms Menzies said.

"Artists will receive matched funding capped at $2,000 per project, totalling $300,000 in matched funding," she said.

Creative Partnerships' national roadshow took place throughout September and there has been high interest in both the MATCH and the Plus1 programs.

Plus1's launch follows the success of Creative Partnerships’ 2013/14 Plus1 pilot program, which resulted in 76 projects receiving a total of $2,267,909 in matched funding, according to Creative Partnerships Australia.

For an overview of 2014/15 funding programs, click here.




FILM historian and writer Jeannette Delamoir revealed the story behind Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s 1986 ‘lost’ musical Crocodile Creek, in a special presentation at the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) Theatrette in Canberra in August.

It was an unusual and prescient production that deserves greater recognition within Australia’s creative pantheon, according to Ms Delamoir. 

One of Australia’s most successful film directors, Mr Luhrmann was only 23 when he visited Rockhampton, Queensland, to direct Crocodile Creek — a community musical that unfolds amidst the 1867 anti-Chinese riots at the Crocodile Creek goldfield.

Crocodile Creek faded from sight, and this oblivion is undeserved,” said Ms Delamoir. “Over the past year, I’ve interviewed many of the participants, and I’m convinced that fate brought together a fortuitous combination of personnel who created something special.

“Certainly the production made a long-lasting impact on those involved—and that includes Luhrmann, its professional director.”

The illustrated lecture explained this forgotten Baz Luhrmann production and it also included a special performance by Crocodile Creek composer Felix Meagher, who played excerpts from the score. The music had not been heard in public since the show’s four-night season ended almost 30 years ago. Mr Meagher has continued his career as a school music teacher and composer, completing a long list of projects and touring schools around the country as manager and performer in the band Bushwahzee.

He is co-creator and program director of The Lake School of Celtic Music in Koroit, Victoria, and has also worked on 30 Port Fairy Folk Festivals. Recently he wrote and composed Barry v. Kelly, a dramatic musical set around the death of Ned Kelly; and, with Dennis O’Keeffe, the musical The Man They Call The Banjo.

In 1988, he again collaborated with Mr Luhrmann and Wendy Harmer on Lake Lost for the Australian Opera Workshop and he also contributed music to Mr Luhrmann’s film Australia (2008), which starred Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.

Crocodile Creek came from a script by Rockhampton writer Barbara Birchall, inspired by a ‘disturbance’ in 1867, when racist violence targeted Chinese miners at the  Crocodile Creek goldfield.

Ms Birchall used these events as a backdrop for a romance between two teenagers, Irish Molly and Chinese Mickee. Their relationship is bitterly opposed by Molly’s father, Black Ned, the leader of the riot.

Eventually 120 local people were involved. The cast had 40 members, the orchestra 23 musicians. About 50 volunteers worked through the night making costumes and building sets — then went to work the next day.

“The characteristics that underlie Luhrmann’s present success — the highly developed vision, the searing drive, and the capacity for deep connections with cast and crew — were already evident,” Ms Delamoir said.

Ms Delamoir has a PhD in media studies from La Trobe University, and taught for many years at CQUniversity in Rockhampton. She has also worked at the NFSA in Canberra and Sydney, and was a 2011 NFSA SAR fellow. She is currently researching the 1927 Royal Commission into the Moving Picture Industry in Australia.



SCREEN Australia CEO Graeme Mason is conducting a series of briefings around the country on new directions for Screen Australia.

Drawing on recent changes to Screen Australia’s terms of trade, guidelines and funding priorities announced on July 24 in the Taking Stock document, Mr Mason and his senior production investment team use the briefings to elaborate on impacts for industry. 

Each session includes a question and answer session and an opportunity for networking. Sessions have already taken place in Hobart and Perth, while the next session will be in Adelaide today (August 25) at the Adelaide Studios, 226 Fullarton Rd, Glenside, from 5pm-7pm.

The Sydney session will be on Tuesday, August 26, at Chauvel, Cinema 1, 249 Oxford St, Paddington from 5pm-7pm.

In Victoria, Mr Mason and Sally Caplan recently addressed these changes in industry sessions at the Melbourne International Film Festival, and plan to hold another event at the Australian International Movie Convention in Queensland in October.

Those who cannot attend these events may register for an online interactive webinar on Thursday, August 28, from 12noon–1pm.

To register for the webinar, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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