Cardi Party 2017.09 – Royal Historical Society of Victoria

The Royal Historical Society of Victoria is a community history organisation supporting local historians, researchers, and students since 1909. RHSV’s collection has grown to become one of the most significant history repositories in Victoria, holding books, manuscripts, records, ephemera, images, periodicals, newsletters, indexes and registers. It is located in Hallendaal’s art deco Australian Army Medical Corps Drill Hall and consists of a bookshop, gallery, library, research rooms, manuscript rooms, seminar rooms, and image collection.

As a community not-for-profit organisation, RHSV relies on the support of hardworking volunteers who carry out research, curatorial, preservation and collection management duties. RHSV is currently working toward making its collection more accessible by implementing new catalogue software and digital archive software.

Join Kate and Sophie for a tour of the building as well as a discussion about the history of the RHSV and its future. Then continue the conversation over drinks at The Mint.

6:30pm
RHSV
239 A’Beckett St
Melbourne

7:30pm
The Mint
Corner Latrobe and William St
Melbourne


Cardi Party 2017.08 – PBS 106.7FM Radio

Since 1979, community broadcaster PBS 106.7FM has been an integral player in Melbourne’s music scene– with more than 80 specialist music programs ranging from soul to garage to country to jazz – PBS is dedicated to nurturing, inspiring and championing Melbourne’s diverse music community.

During PBS’ time on air, it has been able to record seminal Melbourne acts at the peak of the creative powers of performance, as well as build a series of useful resources to support the volunteer announcer community. Being a community organisation, the station has had to find low budget alternatives to keep up with the changing broadcasting technologies, acquisition processes and storage/preservation.

Owen McKern (Programs Manager) and Mara Williams (Volunteers manager) will be offer a tour of the station as well as discussing this unique and community based collection, in all it’s forms.

6pm – PBS Radio, 47 Easey St, Collingwood

Tickets are limited and this part of the event will book out.

Then join us for dinner and drinks:

7pm – The Fox Hotel, 351 Wellington St, Collingwood

How to get there:

Train Victoria Park (South Morang line)
Tram86
Bus200, 207, 246


Cardi Party 2017.07 – Racism and Identity with Lauren Ellis

The Immigration Museum is about our identity and place in the world. We are a place that inspires hope and possibilities for today and the future. We are shaped by the intersection of people and ideas through collaborations with communities, artists, and thinkers from Victoria, Australia and around the world. Together we seek to create empathy, understanding and impact through the diverse experiences that we share. Identity: yours, mine, ours is an exhibition that explores being and belonging in our modern world. It explores the complexity and fluidity of identity across culture, language, faith, sexuality, gender, and generations. Presenting a social history of our inherited prejudices and biases, it addresses racism in contemporary society and suggests some first steps in contributing to a safer, more inclusive community.

Lauren is the Exhibitions Manager at the Immigration Museum, facilitating collaboration between the museum and a range of community groups and diverse cultural practitioners. She’s worked for Museums Victoria in a variety of roles focused on community co-creation and new audience development. She spent just over 2 years working for a ethnographic museum in Luang Prabang, Laos, and undertook an Asialink arts management residency in Hong Kong in 2011. She’s currently serving as the President of Museums Australia (Victoria).

How is Australia racist?

Lauren Ellis talking to cardies on Saturday 15 July 2017 cardi party at the Immigration Museum / Photographer: Nik McGrath

Racism and identity in Australia is a broad and complex topic, and a tall order to cover in less than an hour, however Lauren Ellis rose to the challenge, providing many references and ideas for cardies to take away and think about. Lauren was invited by newCardigan and Museums Australia (Victoria) to introduce this topic before taking cardies to explore themes in the Identity: yours, mine, ours exhibition.

As we knew this topic would raise more questions than providing answers, July’s theme for GLAM Blog Club was identity, giving cardies who attended the cardi party as well as our online community a chance to expand on some of these concepts and ideas, as well as considering their own identities in the GLAM world. I recommend reading Nathan Sentance’s blog exploring what it means to be Indigenous in Australia, working in GLAM and the portrayal of Indigenous culture in GLAM institutions.

Lauren opened by respectfully acknowledging the traditional owners of Melbourne the Boon Wurrung and Woi Wurrung language groups of the greater Kulin Nation. The Immigration Museum is on the site of the old Customs House, a multicultural site with no treaty, first contact between first peoples and Europeans occurred metres away from the Immigration Museum. Customs House is part of the complex history of colonisation. A significant Indigenous site in the Birr-arrung (Yarra River) where a waterfall was destroyed by colonists is a short walk from the Museum.

Is Australia racist? This question is constantly asked by the Australian media, but really it is a fixation we need to get past as a society. Instead Lauren posed the question, how is Australia racist? This very topic has been explored in Beverley Wang’s podcast series on Radio Nation, It’s Not a Race, highly recommended by Lauren.

‘How many people feel race is relevant to their work? How many people identify with one race? I’m white, do I have a race? See filmmaker Whitney Dow’s Whiteness Project, a documentary exploring how people who identify as ‘white’ in America experience their ethnicity. Who feels comfortable talking about race?’ Are some of the questions Lauren asked the audience, responses revealing that we often feel unsure and uncomfortable when talking about race, perhaps amplified as the session was recorded for our podcast CardiCast.

‘Be prepared to make mistakes’, Lauren offered. ‘What makes you feel uncomfortable?’ The audience responded with being privileged and not fully understanding how that manifests in response to discussions about race. Another member of the audience mentioned that race is a loaded term, and that perhaps it is better to use ethnicity instead. The language around words such as ‘race’, ‘ethnicity’ and ‘nationality’ have loaded meanings and related social history. Language is a barrier – ‘person of colour’, ‘non-white person’, ‘new arrival’. Lauren’s advice is to be individual and specific, listen first and use the language of the community you are working with, but of course this is not always straight-forward.

Lauren raised a number of theoretical concepts as a framework for the discussion, defining privilege as a ‘set of unearned socially conferred exclusive benefits’, linked to ‘white privilege’, ‘gender privilege’ and ‘economic privilege’. Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack is recommended baseline reading.

American activist Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality, defined by Lauren as ‘any one person’s identity or social position is fluid’, a concept which was born from feminist politics. Intersectionality exposed issues for white women but did not consider issues faced by women of colour. It’s worth watching this Ted talk by Crenshaw.

White fragility, a concept theorised by Robin DiAngelo, defined by Lauren as a ‘lack of stamina to stay in conversations about race, power and privilege’, with ‘people responding defensively and desperately looking for the good inside themselves’.

‘Systemic racism in Australia is often the result of inherited biases. If you are part of a dominant group due to your education, culture, gender or economy – these biases may be invisible to you’. Lauren makes the ‘optimistic assumption that people in the room are not bad people’. Identity: yours, mine, ours exhibition attempts to ‘unpack some of these issues with a process of critical thinking. The core objective of the exhibition is to make the world a safer and more inclusive place.’

Identity: yours, mine, ours exhibition, Immigration Museum, cardi party, Saturday 15 July 2017 / Photographer: Nik McGrath

The Immigration Museum opened nearly 20 years ago. The first 10 years exhibitions explored multiculturalism through migration stories. Themes about multiculturalism were looked at more broadly, which led to the Identity: yours, mine, ours exhibition. Designed for secondary school students, Lauren notes that adults also get a lot out of the exhibition. The exhibition was created in consultation with community and co-creation including guest curators. Many individual stories are told throughout the exhibition.

The exhibition can be broken down to a number of themes. The first theme is being and belonging, explored in the entrance by Australian filmmaker Lynette Wallworth wan an installation exploring feelings of being welcomed, judged and excluded.

Cardies viewing an exhibit in the Identity: yours, mine, ours exhibition, Immigration Museum, cardi party, Saturday 15 July 2017 / Photographer: Nik McGrath

The next theme is visible difference, based on ‘explicit judgements the result of social training’. To test your biases Lauren recommends taking the Harvard Implicit Association Test.

The social history of racism is another theme explored. For example, Lighten Up, an exhibit which explores cultural mimicry and appropriation, such as Wog Boys and Redskins lollies.

The final theme of the exhibition provides starter tips for practical action in anti-racist work. The Tram Scenario in the exhibition is a video installation depicting a racist incident from different perspectives, from the person’s perspective who is targeted, the white saviour, the racist perpetrator, and the perspective of another minority person looking on. This Tram Scenario was based on research from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

An ARC project led by Deakin in collaboration with University of Melbourne and Museums Victoria, Identity: Yours, Mine, Ours – Exhibition Research Project Evaluation Report, evaluated the impact of the exhibition on students.

Lauren offered to continue the conversation via email by contacting Nik McGrath. For those who were unable to be at the cardi party the CardiCast will be posted when it’s available, so look out for that.


Cardi Party 2017.06 – Horror Film Archives with Mel Begg

On International Archives Day (IAD), Friday 9 June, newCardigan filled the back room at Loop Bar until we could fit no more. Everyone was in a festive mood as we celebrated IAD, newCardigan’s second birthday, and horror film archives with guest speaker, archivist Mel Begg.

At 19 Mel became a flight attendant. A year into flying Mel decided to go to uni to pursue her passions, so she enrolled in an undergraduate degree and honours in film and media. I met Mel while we were both completing our Masters in Information Management at RMIT. We connected over many things, being two archivists interested in photographic and audiovisual collections brought us close together.

Mel and I both worked at ABC Archives. On a contract, I catalogued the Natural History Unit physical media assets and the ABC’s South Australia branch photographic collection (1940 – 1990). Mel worked in the Collections team as the Video Tape Librarian as well as working on records management projects during ABC’s move from Elsternwick to Southbank. Members of the Collections team were made redundant, including the film archivist. The Melbourne branch of ABC no longer has a film archivist, as the ABC film archives have been moved to Sydney.

Being a wonderfully enthusiastic person, Mel met many great people at ABC, which led to her current position as News Librarian at Channel 9. As well as being incredibly enthusiastic, Mel is incredibly busy, she also works in the cinemas at ACMI, is Operations Coordinator at Monster Fest, and since the start of 2016 has been a co-organiser at Melbourne Horror Film Society (screenings on the last Tuesday of every month).

The News Library at Channel 9 has three qualified librarians working in the newsroom with 30 second turn arounds to get vision for stories! An electric environment for an archivist to work in. The News Librarians catalogue everything that has gone to air that day to ensure that it is immediately accessible.

In 2014 Mel did her industry placement as part of her studies in the Masters of Information Management degree at the Hugh M Hefner Moving Image (HMH) Archive at the University of Southern California (USC). Hugh Hefner donated substantial funds to the Archive; it’s not a Playboy Mansion! During Mel’s research about where to do her placement, she was impressed with the number of famous horror film directors who had studied at USC. Dino Everett, Hugh M Hefner Archivist, was a punk rocker, as well as a type who sticks it to the man, which impressed Mel no end. Archivists who break down stereotypes are our heroes. During Mel’s month-long placement she worked on prepping films for screening, such as the Dark Crystal, amongst many other films. Dino taught Mel how to repair films, a skill rarely taught to archival students in Australia.

When Dino started working at the HMH Archive he wanted to find John Carpenter films, he had heard of Captain Voyeur, and found it within a year. He found a box labelled O’Bannon. Dan O’Bannon is famous for writing Alien and Total Recall, amongst other films. This was a start, but Dino had other films he was searching for in the archives. Dino was putting together a feature film of student short films.

In 2011 a book was published entitled Shock Value by Jason Zinoman. After reading the book, Dino knew that Zinoman had seen the films he was looking for, so he contacted Zinoman who said he had got the films from Dan O’Bannon’s wife. Diane O’Bannon had copies of all the films at home that Dino had been search for over three years in a box labelled Blood Bath in her shed, and was happy for Dino to have the films. As described in Zinoman’s book, Dino couldn’t believe when watching these student films how much they informed and influenced their later work, and the work of other filmmakers.

Shock Value The Movie, a compilation of student short films from the UDC School of Cinematic Arts, compiled by Dino, included the work of Charles Adair, John Carpenter, Alec Lorimore, Dan O’Bannon and Terence Winkless. Mel showed our cardies a trailer, which you can view here: https://vimeo.com/106537871. Did you get the creeps?

In 2016, Mel curated three screenings at Melbourne Horror Film Society (MHFS) including short films from the HMH Archive.

Screening 1 – Voyeur Night:

  • Good Morning Dan, short film written and directed by Dan O’Bannon, camera work by John Carpenter, 1968
  • Captain Voyeur, short film written and directed by John Carpenter, 1969
  • Body Double, feature directed by Brian De Palma, 1984

The archive films were popular with MHFS audiences, which was encouraging to Mel and for the continuation of her curated program over the next two screenings.

Screening 2 – Back to the USC Archive for Christmas in July:

  • Judson’s Release, highly acclaimed short film by Terence Winkless and Alec Lorimore, starring Dan O’Bannon, 1971; influenced films such as Halloween, Black Christmas, He Knows You’re Alone, When a Stranger Calls and others. Mel pointed out that the first 20 minutes of When a Stranger Calls is effectively Judson’s Release
  • Black Christmas, feature directed by Bob Clark, 1974

Screening 3 – Dead Night:

  • Blood Bath, short film written and directed by Dan O’Bannon, 1961
  • The Demon, short film written and directed by Charles Adair, and credited as the first of many Night of the Living Dead remakes
  • Return of the Living Dead, feature directed by Dan O’Bannon, 1985

With Dino’s permission, Mel showed our cardies short films from the HMH Archive, John Carpenter’s Captain Voyeur and Lady Madonna, and Dan O’Bannon’s Blood Bath. Mel described Carpenter as the ‘master of horror’, making films such as Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York, and Big Trouble in Little China. Funds granted by the US National Film Preservation Foundation made it possible to preserve Captain Voyeur, a black and white short (17 minutes), original 16mm. ‘Many of Carpenter’s ideas for Halloween are evident in Captain Voyeur’, Mel shared with cardies. Lady Madonna, Carpenter’s 20-minute thesis film, is sadly missing its vision, only the sound and production book have been found. Like many filmmakers, Carpenter doesn’t want his student films released. Mel is unsure if Carpenter has the vision for Lady Madonna (Charles Adair – editor, Kathy Maynard and Dan O’Bannon – actors, Marc Stirdivant – sound).

Dan O’Bannon’s Blood Bath (no prints as yet, 2k scan of neg A & B rolls), Mel told a great story about Carpenter walking past a screening of the film and hearing ‘raucous laughter from the audience and he thought, I need to work with this guy’. ‘John Carpenter is very good at working with the right people and taking things they do well and making it his own’ Mel went on to say. Dan O’Bannon is ‘unsung, he worked on many projects. He was uncredited for his work in creating space characters for Star Wars films. Dino wanted to highlight O’Bannon’s talent and work, and get it out there’.

Dino’s aim is to have all of the films preserved properly. Most of the films are only 2k scanned, but with more funding and resources, HMH Archive can preserve these important student films for future generations. Film has an expiry date, and requires digitisation and preservation now, to save films for the future. Film archives in Australia are also vulnerable to loss over time, and require more funding and resources. The ABC film archives have been transferred to Sydney, so we have no ABC film archivist in Melbourne. NFSA and ACMI outsource a lot of film archive work. There are warehouses filled with film archives, the volume is overwhelming when undertaking digitisation and preservation work, but this incredibly significant and valuable cultural heritage must be saved before it’s too late.


Cardi Party 2017.04 – Bargoonga Nganjin

The North Fitzroy community have waited 25 years for the opening of the Bargoonga Nganjin North Fitzroy Library, so as you can imagine anticipation was high, as well as expectations. Prior to the opening of the new library, North Fitzroy Library operated out of a shopfront in St Georges Road.

Bargoonga Nganjin means ‘Gather Everybody’ in Woiwurrung, the language of the Wurundjeri people. My initial impressions of the library is that it is a warm, welcoming and inviting space with many gathering points both on the outside of the building along St Georges Road with window seats, within the library in reading rooms, study areas, seminar rooms and the gorgeous roof terrace. The building also has spaces for maternal and child health services, and a large multipurpose community activity space.

The grand opening of the library was on 8 April. Leonee Derr, Library Team Leader Children’s and Youth Services and Branch Team Leader for Bargoonga Nganjin, gave newCardigan members a tour on 21 April, with her insights after two weeks of operations. Following the tour, Leonee shared her thoughts on what it takes to deliver a new library to a community.

Bargoonga Nganjin is a 6 star building, featuring circular motifs in its design – for instance it’s gorgeous round windows, signage, tables, and patterns on walls. Leonee pointed out the 1960s style circulation desk which is also Yarra City Council’s customer service desk. It is a wide low desk, which is not ideal for staff interacting with customers.

Leonee posed the question, ‘How do you set up a space so people feel it belongs to them?’ One example of this is the junior readers which have now been taken from the Children’s Reading Space, which is for toddlers, and moved to Young Adult literature, so that junior readers have a more suitable space to read for their age group. Furniture is also moved by visitors to the library. Within the first two weeks of operation children had made towers from the soft furnishings which caused a bit of a safety risk for adventurous types climbing and jumping off. The furnishings have now been removed from the Children’s Reading Room.

Join Leonee Derr, Library Team Leader Children’s & Youth Services and branch team leader for Bargoonga Nganjin, North Fitzroy Library, for a tour of this beautiful space and a discussion about what it takes to deliver a new library to a community.

The ground floor is the home of the junior collection. Leonne, as well as being Branch Team Leader, is also Team Leader Children’s and Youth Services. She is often asked how to develop programs to engage young people. Her response is that ‘engaging with the space is a type of engagement’. The library features many lovely reading nooks, and places where young people can feel comfortable in the space. Leonee stated, ‘You build relationships that lead to engagement, if you get the physical space right’.

As we meander our way up to level 1, we notice the space is sound proofed well, so well that Leonee mentioned they almost needed to install white noise, but managed to stay within regulation. The adult collection and computer rooms occupy level 1, within the gorgeously designed space again featuring lovely reading nooks and copper plating along the window frames. The new library collection is extremely inviting, all those new books waiting to be read.

The rooftop terrace is a lovely space to visit on a fine day – unfortunately the night of the tour was windy and wet, but I can imagine it will be a lovely space on a sunny day. Power points are available for visitors who would like to write on their laptops out in the sun. Neon artwork and the garden beautifies the space. Solar panels and water catchment on the roof is instrumental in the 6 star rating of the building. A commercial kitchen and conference space is available to the community.

From 12 to 28 April the Talking Difference Portable Studio at the library is available for visitors to ‘get creative with ideas about cultural diversity, difference and racism’. Multimedia is available to ‘watch, create and share’ online.

Leonee has participated in opening three new libraries, previously for the Melbourne Library Services’ Library at the Dock and Kathleen Syme Library. One important observation she shared was the three main stakeholders in making decisions about the new library, i.e. the architects, designers and money holders, often make decisions based on aesthetics over practicalities and functionality. Placemaking, a concept which has emerged over the past decade, is ‘about making a desirable space for the community’, and can be overlooked when considering aesthetics over functionality.

During the planning stage, the local community protested against the concept of the new library development in the Edinburgh Gardens. The green space is important to the local community, and the idea of a library taking a large proportion of that green space was fought against. Interestingly the new library has a prominent green space on the roof terrace, which is responding to the needs of the community.

The contrast between the library in a shopfront on St Georges Road, which was an intimate space, and the new library occupying a larger space, has required staff to work with the community about their interaction and behaviour in the new larger library space. The library is packed from 10am when it opens. Leonee believes in the customer service model, but also empowers her staff to feel safe in the space through the setting of boundaries. ‘The library is a share house’, declared Leonee. Perhaps everyone interacting in the space, staff and patrons, need time to feel right at home and to fall into a rhythm of engagement in their new home.


Friday 21 April

6.30pm
Bargoonga Nganjin, North Fitzroy Library
182 St Georges Rd, North Fitzroy

7.30pm
North Fitzroy Arms
296 Rae St, North Fitzroy

Getting there

Tram: Route 11, stop 21; Route 96, stop 20.
Train: South Morang Line, Rushall Station.
Bus: 250, 251, (Park Pde) 504 (St Georges Rd)

Tickets

This event will book out. Get your tickets now.

Get Tickets


Cardi Party 2017.03 – Gasworks Arts Park

Friday 10 March 2017

6pm
Gasworks Arts Park
21 Graham St, Albert Park

7.30pm
The Vincent Hotel
107 Victoria Ave, Albert Park

Tracey McIrvine, Visual Arts Manager, discussing artworks from an upcoming exhibition, Gasworks Arts Park

Tracey McIrvine likes the word zeitgeist. I’ve never met anyone who manages to use the word zeitgeist so often in a sentence. Her white thunderbolt fringe frames her face, and her strong opinions framed the vibe of our newCardigan event on Friday 10 March. Our March cardi party was a departure from any of newCardigan’s previous events. Meeting resident artists, printmakers, sculptors, and ceramicists in their studio spaces, and having the opportunity to hear from the artists themselves about their work, inspiration and prior exhibitions, it was intoxicating being amongst creative people that live and breathe their art every day. I must confess that I was a bit envious of their lives as self-employed artists. When I was young I dreamt about being a self-employed artist, but know from close friends now that it is a tough life financially to keep afloat and to stay true to your own aesthetic and ethics about who you collaborate with and partner on projects.

For the past 16 years Tracey McIrvine has been a Visual Arts Manager, not an artist – she stresses, with an amazing vocabulary picked up from books (she has been an insatiable reader from the age of four). Tracey says she loves librarians. Enter librarians arriving late, and Tracey literally yells yay! I think this is the best response these librarians have ever received for turning up late to an event – their embarrassed smiles conveyed as much.

An audience advocate – not advocating for one kind of medium – Tracey is a non-artist, passionate about the narrative of life. She also is an art buyer, advocating for audiences to buy art to support artists in their work. Her criteria for exhibiting at Gasworks Arts Park is based on the premise that ‘nobody will be embarrassed in my space – artworks are only ever exhibited if the artist is ready to go to market’. Tracey asks herself when selecting artworks for exhibition: ‘Is it made well? Is it meaningful? Is it local?’ It is clear that Tracey is passionate about exhibiting artists’ works who ‘communicate the crucial issues’, as she believes that community arts is a ‘great exchange of humanity’ – she asks her resident artists, ‘what do you have to say?’

Gasworks Arts Park has 14 resident artists onsite. The studio spaces are spread out across the site in red brick buildings with tall ceilings and wonderful natural light. I managed to meet some of the wonderful artists and have brief but stimulating conversations about their art, and grabbed their business cards so that I could later find their folios online.

Ursula Dutkiewicz’s The Art of Suff-Rage pieces in her studio, ceramic pieces from the travelling art installation Celebrating the Centenary of Women’s Suffrage in Victoria 1908 – 2008, Ceramics Studio, Gasworks Arts Park.

Ursula Dutkiewicz is a ceramic artist who has contributed her work in a number of exhibitions at Gasworks Arts Park since 2002. When Ursula invited me into her studio space, she said ‘this is my history’. I was struck by the great number of ceramic sculpted suffragettes from her series The Art of Suff-Rage, which permiate the space. Both Ursula and I appreciate the significance of this work so close to International Women’s Day, although I would appreciate this work anytime of year. To explore Ursula’s work online, please visit her website.

Leah Jackson and Gilly Thorne’s ceramic pieces, Ceramics Studio, Gasworks Arts Park.

I very briefly met Leah Jackson and Gilly Thorne in the Ceramics Studio, and viewed their works in their individual studio spaces. To protect the rights of the artists, I asked permission before photographing their work. Rightly so, artists are careful not to photograph and publish their work online while in progress due to commissions received, and to protect their intellectual property rights. I know from artist friends of mine that their work is often stolen and reproduced overseas, which is wrong on so many levels.

Leah and Gilly both work in ceramics, however they are opposites in aesthetics and the colours they use. Leah uses pastel colours and geometric patterns with organic and geometric shapes to her ceramic teapots and mugs. Gilly uses earth tones, greys, blacks and dark greens with organic shapes and abstract designs on the surface of her ceramics. The contrast between these very different ceramicists work is a delightful contrast in the display in the studio space pictured above.

Kris Coad’s ceramic pieces in her studio, Ceramics Studio, Gasworks Arts Park,

Kris Coad’s work is predominantly white, smooth, soft, unified and calming – a very pleasing aesthetic for someone like me that has a chaotic mind that needs soothing. Talking to Kris also had a calming effect, my brief conversation with her made me want to continue the conversation over a nice cup of tea. In addition to Kris’ gentle ceramic pieces, she also produces light installations which are often commissioned by restaurants and other venues. Kris completed her Masters of Fine Art by research at RMIT in 2002. Since then Kris has had nine solo shows, and over 60 group exhibitions. To view Kris’ work online, please visit her website at www.kriscoad.com.

Kris Coat in her studio standing in front of her light installation pieces, Ceramics Studio, Gasworks Arts Park.
Tanya George, Sculpture Studio, Gasworks Arts Park.

Tanya George is a sculptor who works with a variety of materials and techniques to convey her vision for a piece. Her work is extremely varied and displays her versatile skills. Tanya grew up in Germany and moved to Australia in 1989, studied Fine Art and then in 1995 completed a Bachelor of Film and Television at VCA. After making a number of short films and documentaries, Tanya has returned to sculpture over the past few years. Sculpture is a trial and error medium, in Tanya’s view, especially as she often experiments with different mediums. Tanya’s installation Strange Fruit, for the land art exhibition From Nature at Gasworks Arts Park in May 2015, featured spinifex that Tanya had collected at a Port Phillip beach for the exhibition. The ephemeral nature of the exhibition – coupled with visitors taking the spinifex home with them (Tanya enjoyed this level of engagement from visitors) – limited the length of time for the exhibition to three days. To view Tanya’s works, please visit her website: www.tanja-george.com.

Leahey working on a current oysters sculpture featuring light installation, Sculpture Studio, Gasworks Arts Park.

Leahey told me that he breaks rules, he doesn’t follow them. He asked me where I was from, I explained I work at Melbourne Museum and I also organise events for newCardigan. Trying to explain GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) to a very cool artist like Leahey, I felt like doing a Wayne and Garth – get down on my knees and say, ‘I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!’ I contained myself, and brought the conversation back to Leahey’s art practice. Leahey worked in the film industry, in Hollywood doing special effects and making robotics. He literally has a Mad Max prop he made hanging from his very cool studio space, see photo below. His work is industrial and often large in scale, with much of his heavy and welded artworks in public spaces. Do yourself a favour and visit his website and read Leahey’s very impressive CV. He also has an air of mystery, I’m not sure if Leahey is his first or surname, but having one name adds to his very rock and roll sculptor awesome vibe.

Leahey’s studio including his Mad Max prop top left corner of the image, Sculpture Studio, Gasworks Arts Park.
Wen Shobbrook’s studio, Visual Arts Studio, Gasworks Arts Park.

Wen Shobbrook is interested in archive collections, local history and accessing this information to inform her art. I was happy to tell Wen that the Discovery Centre at Melbourne Museum provides artists with access to collection items in group sessions so that artists are able to observe and sketch the collection item – which excited Wen no-end. I have her business card, so I will be sure to contact her and follow up her interest. I have a number of artist friends who are also interested in accessing the museums collections, so we might have a group forming for Discovery Centre to run another session. Wen’s studio is a bustling creative space with a large arched window giving it beautiful natural light. My envy is in check, I promise. To visit Wen’s beautiful folio online which illustrates her interest in historical photographic collections of historical periods in local history, please go to wenshobbrook.wordpress.com/portfolio-2.

Elizabeth Milsom’s studio, Visual Arts Studio, Gasworks Arts Park.

Elizabeth Milsom is a printmaker and artist working with various techniques to naturally dye silk, working as an artist and teaching art for the past 30 years. Immediately coming into her studio I geeked out over her beautiful plan presses. I’ve always wanted plan presses at home to store my own artworks, I guess thinking about how to store my art is one of the reasons I was drawn to archive work. I had an extremely brief chat with Elizabeth as it was 7:30pm and our cardi party had sadly come to an end. To view Elizabeth’s work, please visit her website at emilsom.com. To find out more about newCardigan and future events, join our mailing list.