First Empty Space Coordinators' Forum a Success

Coordinators of Empty Spaces initiatives from across Australia came together on 18 July at the University of Technology, Sydney, to share their experiences and expertise at a forum organised by the Empty Spaces Project - the first event of its kind in Australia.

The day kicked off with a showcase of 12 empty spaces initiatives from around the country. Each Empty Space Coordinator was given the 'Pecha Kucha' challenge to introduce their projects in 6.66 minutes to their fellow organisers and an invited audience of 70 people from arts organisations, property managers, local government, economic development agencies and academy.

Liam O'Donoghue, Anyplace Rozelle Lisa Andersen, Empty Spaces Project, UTS
Liam O'Donoghue, Anyplace Rozelle Lisa Andersen, Empty Spaces Project, UTS

The presenters were:

AnyPlace Rozelle - Liam O'Donoghue

Art in the Heart Lismore - Stephen Nelson

Create, Innovate Gosford City - Deborah Lowndes

Empty Spaces Project - Lisa Andersen

Flat White Spaces, Gold Coast - Dave Lydiard

Gold Spaces, Gold Coast - Mariam Arcilla

Made in Geelong - Danni Cowdery

Pop Up Parramatta -  Merryn Spencer

Queen Street Studio -  James Winter

Renew Adelaide - Lara Torr

Renew Australia - Marcus Westbury

Renew Newcastle - Marni Jackson

The Rocks Pop Up Project - Anique Vered

The rest of the day was a closed session for the coordinators, facilitated by Chia Moan from Make Stuff Happen, who wished to share information for successful local initiatives and identify shared priorities for national advocacy.

Using the 'world cafe' method of discussion, participants talked through the challenges and shared local solutions on the issues of:

  • working with artists and makers
  • working with government and local authorities
  • working with landlords and owners
  • governance, risk management and organisation structure
  • sustaining empty space initiatives beyond funded start-up
  • creative renewal and community development
Empty Space project co-ordinators listen to presentations Empty Space project co-ordinators listen to presentations

These sessions were followed by a 'Gallery of Ideas' in participants prioritised their major challenges.

The Coodinators agreed to build an ongoing network to share information and set dates for another forum in Newcastle during the 'This Is Not Art Festival', 1 to 4 October.


15 Broadway
Ultimo, NSW 2007