Lasting innovation happens at city level, when people engage with their local communities, gain new perspectives and hear from diverse voices, and build the kinds of places where opportunities and new ideas can emerge. I am passionate about making our cities engines for social inclusion, laboratories and studios where creativity can thrive and solutions can be developed, and meeting places to expand our horizons.
That is why I am honoured to serve as a Councillor of the City of Sydney.
The City of Sydney is Australia's economic powerhouse, a driver of the knowledge economy, a home to great universities, organisations and businesses. Over $108 Billion is generated annually within the City of Sydney local government area - which represents 7% of the Australian economy.
We're also home to 200 nationalities, making Sydney one of the most culturally diverse places on the planet. We're a young city growing from the foundations laid by the oldest continuing culture, thanks to our city's Gadigal heritage, knowledge and community.
Sydney is socially inclusive, politically progressive and culturally energetic. We are building the sustainable, creative and fair city of the future, here and now. I'm proud to call Sydney my home and honoured to represent my communities on the Council.
In my second week, I explored Scent of Sydney by artist Cat Jones, and Manifesto by Julian Rosefeldt.
I’ve heard that our sense of smell is the one most closely aligned with memory, and I think that’s true: when I’m in Chippendale, or walking along Broadway, the old CUB Brewery aroma wafts out of the past like a ghost. The heavy, yeasty brewing mist that used to hang over the suburb until the early 2000s is still there, lurking down a drain or resting in the branches of a tree, waiting for the right breeze to set it free.
In my third week, I visited Vernon Ah Kee's Not An Animal Or A Plant, and Walan Yinaagirbang (‘Strong Women’ in Wiradjuri) at Firstdraft, an exhibition of work by eight female Indigenous artists brought together by curator Emily McDaniel.
Penny Evans’ works are captivating: shells and stamps, fibres, cheap plastic twine, surrounding ceramics enhanced with the sharp, poisonous quills of an echidna. Paola Balla’s Mok Mokphotography series is celebratory and menacing at once, seeking protection in suburbia by calling out the spirits that linger. This exhibition is a celebration of defiance and a powerful creative resistance: of artists adapting old skills to tell new stories, recording loss and resurgence.
In my final week blogging for Time Out, I went to some of my favourite art bars (I know, I know, it was a tough gig) and considered the connection between nightlife and a city's creative energy:
In these ‘cultural capitals’, after dark watering holes and party playgrounds are not optional extras, they’re at the foundation – places where artists and creative thinkers work, meet, test out ideas and invent the new. If we want Sydney to be a place that generates new thinking, we need to champion places where people can let go, meet each other, and experiment (creatively) in public.
Image: EXIT by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro at UNSW Galleries as part of #SydFest, open till March 26. Photograph: Prudence Upton
What drives you? The Cusp asked me to spend some time with some of Australia's most interesting, motivated creative talents, communicators and sports people, finding out what gets them out of bed on the tough days, how they make impact, craft new projects, and make collaboration work.
In a spin on Carpool Karaoke, I jumped in my trusty Toyota Yaris and ferried six delightful people around the city, learning a bit about them along the way. You can watch my conversations with musician Ta-ku (one of my all time faves), actor and activist Jess Tovey, dance maker Amrita Hepi, yogi Caroline Groth, Olympian Jess Fox and Beard Season founder Jimmy Niggles.
The program included 183 events over the 23 days of Vivid Sydney, spanning sectors from technology and start-up smarts, to film and storytelling, design, architecture, from STEM skills to visual arts and communication.
The Game Changers talks series engaged audiences with leaders people shaping the creative landscape, and crafting unforgettable stories and characters: Spike Jonze, House of Cards creator Beau Willimon, photographer and stylist Margaret Zhang, and Jenji Kohan, creator of Orange Is The New Black and Weeds.
Start-up conference The Sunrise returned, while new events included un-conference Make Nice, and global digital placemaking think-tank, Media Architecture Biennale. There program included Robowars, Etsy Sydney's maker markets, Clipped, a new music video festival, zine fair and a creative career expo. You can explore our full program of creative conferences, talks, workshops and more at www.vividsydney.com/ideas
In 2015, Vivid Ideas brought together the world's leaders in creative industries over 18 huge days of events: over 152 events in 53 venues, presented by 102 event owners, and included a slate of Game Changer talks events, co-produced creative conferences and public events, and third party events hosted in the Vivid Ideas Exchange and in venues around Sydney.
Our game-changers talks series featuring Matthew Weiner (Mad Men), Tyler Brûlé (Monocle), and designer Stefan Sagmeister, completely sold out. They're three people who have changed the game in each of their industries, and it was extraordinary to be able to share their perspectives, insights and experiences with our audience.
I was excited to launch the Future of Work Sydney, a one-day conference exploring how we can learn across sectors to adapt the culture, values and leadership strategies of business to thrive in the knowledge economy. You can read more on the event here, or explore my Storify recap.
A new two-day gaming event, GameON, brought together innovators in interactive gaming and online video, for an engaging take-over of Australian Technology Park.
Retail, streetwear & street art came together at Streets Ahead, featuring jeffstaple & 123Klan.
The Silicon Valley Myth Explained, a tech conference from venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures, explored building start-up ecosystem in the Southern Hemisphere...
Vivid Ideas brings together the conversations, conventions and big announcements for the creative sector in one place and time: it is growing at an exponential rate, and has the potential to soon be the world’s most significant creative industries festival.
What do you love about Sydney? What would you fight to protect? In this ONE NIGHT ONLY ART EXTRAVAGANZA, 25 of Australia’s greatest artists, designers, illustrators and visual explorers share their loves by creating an original poster artwork - and you can take a slice of it home with you!
SYDNEY LOVERS is a celebration and fundraiser in support of the Clover Moore Independent Team, standing in the City of Sydney local government election on September 10. SYDNEY LOVERS is curated by Jess Scully, who is standing as a candidate for councillor on the Clover Moore Independent Team: all proceeds from the night will go towards funding this crucial campaign to keep Sydney independent, progressive and creative.
Posters will be lovingly handprinted by Aisle6ix Industries, Sydney’s bespoke screen-printing studio, and displayed at amBUSH gallery, where you’re invited to have a drink, listen to some Sydney tunes, get an original t-shirt printed live on the night, bid on some incredible auction items and the creative raffle-of-the-year.
Posters are in editions of 10, at $100 each, and once they’re gone, they’re gone - get in early, doors open 6pm!
Original posters on sale, created by:
Elin Matilda Andersson
Lance Corlett from Steady Hand Studio
Little Moon Studio
Toby and Pete
Emi Ueoka for Lost Art
We Buy Your Kids
With auction items from
James Jirat Patradoon
I'm thrilled to be delivering a keynote - alongside design icon Jenny Kee - in the Blue Mountains this June, at MTNS MADE Creative Industries Symposium. The event runs June 24–25 and tickets are available now.
What are the artistic, creative, technological & research possibilities presented by the #quantifiedself ? What are the social & ethical implications? Who owns your data? What does your biometric data allow you to do for your own health, wellbeing & life? What are the possibilities for medicine, epidemiology, and policy?
There's a LOT of questions here: which is why I'm excited to be hosting a discussion on the topic, Tested On Humans, at Melbourne Knowledge Week. It's presented by Monash University, Faculty of Information Technology, and features a day of fascinating product tests culminating in a discussion with:
Rachel Kalmar: a California-based data consultant, formerly data scientist at Misfit wearables and famous for wearing large numbers of sensors.
Jon McCormack: Director of sensiLab and Professor at Monash University’s Faculty of Information Technology.
Suneel Jethani: PhD candidate and lecturer at the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne.
The event is on Wednesday May 4, and is free on registration, here.
I had the pleasure of hosting a conversation with super-designer Liane Rossler as part of In Conversation: Creative Women at North Sydney Community Centre, on Saturday March 5.
I spoke at the Apple Store, Sydney on Tuesday March 8, 7pm, at an event called So You Want To Be A Creative Entrepreneur. Thanks to Perla Escalon and Jo Chan for the photos.
I was thrilled to be invited to curate the first Junket un-conference for Junkee Media: a three day event in Canberra, which brought together 200 innovators, leaders and thinkers from across Australia, inviting them to shape the agenda for our country.
For me, Junket is the answer to the question - what if the conversation could be different?
What could be possible if you could see one big problem from multiple perspectives? What if you had the people with the skills and insights and energy and access all in the same place?
We wanted a place that immediately conveys the fact that we have national ambitions, and a perspective that goes beyond the local. It's the seat of power and a place where we preserve our stories. This is best place for us to rewrite our national vision and speak truth to that power.
Who are the Junket participants?
They’re fighting deforestation for palm oil and protecting the Murray Basin. They’re re-designing job-sharing and the way we work, or trying to bring fairness to the world of internships. They’re building new lines of dialogue and collaboration between Australia and China. They’re disrupting investment and superannuation. They’re communicators who’ve won Cannes Gold Lions, engineers designing smart wheelchairs, building robots or rethinking how we generate energy. They’re researchers working on adolescent mental health and cyberbullying, they’re Indigenous health workers, human rights lawyers, astrophysicists and surgeons, or urbanists reshaping the places we inhabit. Between them, they’ve founded a social impact toilet paper company, a sex-toy company, a network supporting women in music — and more apps than you can fit on your phone.
These people are engaged, informed, and motivated. You’ll know some of them from their jobs as actors, journalists, commentators, advocates or designers; you’ll know them from radio or from #QandA; you’ve read their books or attended their events.
Read more at http://junkee.com/shaping-australias-future-is-not-a-spectator-sport-why-were-doing-junket-and-how-we-chose-the-delegates3/67147#E8GfcES5AIjGf82R.99