During Art Month, the City of Sydney announced exciting new changes to Street Art legislation to make it even easier for artists to liven up our streets.
We had a fun chat with Pedestrian TV and we answered your questions about the need for political leadership that will look after our environment, our night life, bicycle lanes and so many other things that are important to our cities.
Clover Moore's ambitious ticket for City of Sydney elections via the SMH
Sydney's Lord Mayor Clover Moore has given her strongest indication yet she is looking to anoint a successor, unveiling a ticket of high profile candidates to contest the council elections in September.
Prominent doctor Kerryn Phelps and architect Philip Thalis headline a ticket of unusually prominent candidates to contest the council elections as part of Cr Moore's team of independents.
Clover Moore: Why I'm standing for mayor again
Independent Clover Moore says she would use a fourth term as Lord Mayor of Sydney to work with state and federal government on climate change.
The Lord Mayor, who has held the city's keys for 12 years - through six prime ministers, six premiers, and eight planning ministers - said she had thought "very carefully" before deciding to run for a fourth term.
"I had to think about whether I would run again and if I did run again I wanted a team with the future in mind," Cr Moore said, who faces a potentially tough fight for Town Hall because of state government changes to increase the power of the business vote. "I might not do this until I'm carried out."
But she would not definitively say whether her hand-picked ticket was a deliberate bid to formulate a succession plan, with a view to handing over the reins in four years time.
"Well it could be," she said. "I'm sure there are a number of future Lord Mayors amongst this ticket."
While the ticket's order is yet to be confirmed, it includes a number of recognisable faces.
Among them is Dr Phelps, a former Australian Medical Association president who has built a profile around gay rights advocacy and public health issues.
The Council of the City of Sydney independant candidates, pictured with Lord Mayor Clover Moore. Left to right: Jess Scully, Catherine Lezer, Philip Thalis, Clover Moore, Kerryn Phelps, Robert Kok and Jess Miller. Photo: James Brickwood
Though she has been headhunted by a range of parties over the years, Dr Phelps said she did not "fit into any political party pigeon hole" and decided to join Cr Moore's independent ticket because of their "shared, strongly-aligned values".
"Regardless of which political power is in place in state or federal politics, there needs to be an independent person from the community at city level," she said.
Also running on Cr Moore's ticket is Mr Thalis, an architect, who won the original design competition for the Barangaroo precinct redevelopment in 2006 but who has since become a trenchant critic of the management of the precinct.
Mr Thalis has also worked on numerous public projects across the city with his architectural firm Hill Thalis Architecture, including at Pyrmont's Pirrama Park.
Describing the development of Darling Habour as "textbook failure" and "test case of what's wrong with planning in Sydney", he supports the City's push to reclaim the management of key sites that have been hived off to the state government, namely the Rocks, Darling Harbour, and sections of Ultimo and land near Central Station.
"It's a very important conversation," he said. "On merit, they should give them back tomorrow."
Mr Thalis said rapacious development had placed the city at a "tipping point" where urban growth projects such as the Bays Precinct renewal and the development of the Central to Eveleigh corridor could have an "enormous negative effect on the city" if managed poorly.
Notably, five of the seven candidates on Moore's ticket are women. Jess Scully, a former magazine editor who has since established herself within Sydney's creative scene as TedX curator and director of Vivid Ideas, will campaign alongside businesswoman and strata-expert Catherine Lezer, and Jess Miller, a sustainable-living advocate.
Robert Kok, a current councillor, is the only candidate with runs on the board in local government.
In 2012, Cr Moore claimed more than 50 per cent of first preference votes, while five of her team secured places on the council. But the impact of the business voting changes is yet to be determined.
Liberal Christine Forster is expected to be Cr Moore's strongest opposition for mayor.
Thank you to Object: Australian Design Centre for including me in their Australian Design Honours. I'm part of the first batch of 50 design thinkers to be released - in collector card form! Here's more on the program, from their website:
As exceptional and pioneering creative activists, digital engagers, spatial thinkers, and object makers, the two hundred Australian Design Honours inaugural honourees will become founding members of this unique community, and will nominate inspiring emerging designers of their own as a means to expand and ensure the exciting future of Australian design.
Marimekko is one of my favourite brands in the world: I vividly remember the first time I saw their fabric, at 19, and being blown away by the incredible vibrancy and boldness of their design. So I was thrilled when they reached out to me in May, and asked me to be one of their four "Marimekko Life" identities, creative women from across the world, sharing their work and introducing fellow fans to their home cities.
Check out my interview, photo shoot (by the fantastic Osma Harvilahti) and my guide to Sydney, on the Marimekko Life page: I'm so looking forward to expanding on the experience by meeting my fellow Marimekko Lifers in Finland this August!
Great to be a part of this roundtable discussion, and article, published by the Australian Financial Review - read more here.
The next challenge for Australian business is to identify the "new opportunities for disruption", says Jess Scully, director of the Vivid Ideas Festival, Sydney. Some of these require lateral thinking, she says.
"I think we're seeing a lot of copycatting, and people saying, 'Oh well, we know that the labour market is being disrupted so let's all work in that space.' But actually there is a whole other world of opportunity in services, or sectors, that haven't been disrupted."
On Monday June 1 2015, I spoke to Natasha Mitchell, host of Life Matters on Radio National, about the key issues we were set to explore at the Future of Work, what drew me to the topic, and how the broader world of business can learn from the way creative practitioners have managed their portfolio careers - as we increasingly move towards the "Hollywood model" of contracts crewing up around projects - rather than the traditional career trajectory. Listen in!
A great article in BRW explaining the motives and approach behind Vivid Ideas - read more here.
“We want to create a SxSW for the South Pacific, that’s the goal,” Scully says. “We want to create this critical mass whereby anyone in knowledge economy needs to be here for the 18 days. SxSW is an event where if you’re in technology or content, this is your time of year to go get all this inspiration and get up to date, it’s your annual check in on the state of the industry, the moment when they take the temperature of the sector and consumer demand, and launch new products.”
The Australian Financial Review delved into the big issues to be explored at the Future of Work, in this article published on May 15, 2015. Thanks to journalist Diana Jenkins for her fantastic story - read more here.
"It's all down to you. [And] I don't think from a policy perspective we have support for that. We put the onus very much on individual practitioners to be their own accountant, publicist, manager, agent; we haven't got the structures to support it yet."
The lovely folk at Time Out Sydney asked me to choose my favourite piece of public art, for their Art Month March 2015 issue, and I chose the spectacular Here, Now by Numskull, which you'll find (if you know where to look) at the corner of Pitt and Park Streets. Thanks to Anna Kucera for the photo.
A big thanks to Time Out Sydney for inviting me to share a big idea for the city in their October 2013 issue. My big idea isn't something that I've campaigned for before, but ever since it occurred to me, I've become fixated on the idea.
The problem I wanted to address was around audience development: I'm frustrated by the fact that there are great cultural producers out there delivering interesting content, but lacking audiences. And I know there is a genuine (I would even say genuinely ferocious) appetite for interesting events, experiences, content and products among Sydneysiders. You see it at mass events, which our city excels at, and there's a shift towards the personal and unique in the shopping habits and entertainment habits of the mainstream locally, which is evidenced by the way we're regarded internationally as some of the most voracious online shoppers.
So, why the disconnect between our hungry audiences and our starving artists?
I'm going to make a massive generalisation: transport.
Our communities are divided by it; our access to all kinds of cultural events limited by who can get where, and when. So I started thinking about how we could turn that source of frustration and tension into an opportunity for audience development and connection, and here's the crazy idea I came up with:
TAKE IT TO THE STREETS
Sydney has a brilliant cultural and social life bubbling just under the surface. If you’re in the know, there’s so much going on every week that it’s overwhelming, but if you’re not – whether you’re a visitor, living beyond the inner city, or curious to explore a new area – it can be obscure and impenetrable, exclusive, in the worst sense of the word.
The result is that we have great initiatives and creative organisations floundering because they’re having trouble expanding their audiences, and a majority of the population missing out on engaging with the cultural life of the city.
My big idea for Sydney is about communication: creating nodes that connect digital communities and physical places. I want to turn every bus stop into a digital noticeboard. Not just for ads, but for art, ideas and events.
Imagine a media screen displaying a map of the streets around you, scrolling through the performances, exhibitions, markets, workshops and talks in the immediate area. You can log in to the free wi-fi as you wait for the bus, check-in, and set your interests or preferences. You’re emailed a map and a list of the events you could join in that week or next, with links to register or invite friends.
Theatre companies and music promoters could share video and audio, and artists could present works activating the screen between users. The ability to promote cultural and creative events to a broader audience, grounding it in a place, and making it immediate means we might see more unconventional spaces being used in interesting ways; more impromptu markets outside train stations, buskers claiming patches for weekly gigs, and empty CBD plazas and building podiums becoming exhibition spaces during the week and stages on weekend nights.
I’d partner with companies like JCDeceaux or AdShel to make it happen: there would be a commercial incentive for them, as richer content would attract the attention of audiences.
This is a tool with so much potential to transform the social and cultural life of our city, and support creative and cultural projects, making them more sustainable and accessible. With a tool like this, the public realm could be the living room we all share, a place we feel connected to each other, and open to new experiences and ideas.