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Filling the gap, one note at a time

22 June 2018 | Posted in: News


Carlin in his Play Anything business studio | Photo: Carlin McLellan

Less than a year after receiving the keys to his studio, Music Therapist Carlin McLellan has witnessed his business take flight. This has been accomplished quite literally. As of Wednesday, Carlin touched down in the West Australian desert to embark in bringing the immersive musical workshops of Play Anything to Australia’s most isolated communities.

Over the next three weeks, the registered music therapist will be touring with Desert Feet, a non-profit organisation that brings music to remote communities throughout Australia’s Western regions. Through a series of interactive workshops, Carlin will be bringing the inclusive and empowering experience of music-making and exploration to communities that often have little or no access to such opportunities.

In an inspiring campaign to fill the physical and mental health gap of rural Western Australians, Desert Feet harnesses the power of collaborative music making, performance, and play to reconnect communities – particularly younger generations – with their cultural identity. For his first series of workshops on the tour, Carlin will work alongside members of the Central Desert Ngaanyatjara community in a council supported program aimed at tackling smoking.

Keep an eye on our social media if you wish to follow some of Carlin’s inspiring journey.

Until more of his tour unfolds, you can listen to some newly released music from Carlin and fellow Renew participant, writer, zine-making and musician Bastian Fox Phelan’s dual project Moonsign here.

Finding home and opportunity

22 June 2018 | Posted in: News

Kim Hall happily spotted at local favourite The Umbrian |                                  Written & Photographed by: Rayannon Innes

If one were asked to write a recipe for the ideal not-for-profit board director, Kim Hall should serve as their point of reference. With her educational background in Communications Honours, close to a decade working within Newcastle’s political and community-based sector, and an additional set of studies within a Bachelor of Laws, Kim is an indispensable force within the Renew Newcastle team.

After a number of years spent travelling the UK for her career in public relations, Kim unexpectedly found herself returning back to Newcastle in 2009. In addition to earning a diverse career as Electorate Officer for the Office of Sharon Grierson MP, Kim was inspired by the positive changes she observed taking place within the city during Renew’s beginnings. It would only be two years ago however, when a board vacancy enabled Kim the opportunity to contribute her impressive skillset towards the Renew Newcastle cause.

Over her two-year period serving on the Renew Board, Kim has continued to witness significant changes within the organisation and subsequently the city of Newcastle as a whole. Kim firmly attributes Newcastle’s recent revitalisation to the creative community which has served in creating not only cultural vibrancy but significant economic value for the city.

In 2016, The Centre of Full Employment and Equity found that for every dollar spent by Renew Newcastle, a benefit of $14.40 is made back into the community. Although Kim see’s a lot of cost benefit ratios in her line of work, a ratio of 14.4:1 is something she described as “the most amazing success story” that she’s ever come across. The report also found that Renew contributed to the growth of employment and job opportunities within the city, something which has further influenced Kim’s desire to continue to keep herself and her family’s roots firmly planted in Newcastle.

As the city continues to evolve, Kim and the rest of the team are enthusiastic for Renew Newcastle’s role in the journey ahead. The temporary activation of the former Newcastle Station is a prime opportunity for the creative community to continue to flourish, again adding meaningful value to the city that continues to become identified for its uniquely artistic and entrepreneurial talent.

Make It, made It, own it

22 June 2018 | Posted in: News

Local and nationwide industry leader panelists from last year’s Make It Made It conference | Photography: Mitch Lee | Graphic Design: Nadia Hernandez

Newcastle’s very own art, design, and makers conference Make It Made It enters its fourth-year next month and the bar has been set higher than ever before. Finding an impressive new home in the Newcastle Conservatorium, the event will witness Australian and international speakers take to the stage for a day of inspiring talks and social gatherings.

The change of venue feels right for the event that only four years ago comprised of a circle of forty or so chairs with what conference founder Brett Piva described as a “poor but working condition” projector. What Brett might have lacked then in terms of high-end facilities wasn’t reflected in the line-up of engaging speakers, whose shared stories would ignite the beginning of something truly incredible to come.

Four years on from its humble beginnings, what will the event look like in 2018? We can give you a few teasers of what’s to come, but you’ll have to grab your tickets – before they sell out early like last year – to really take part in the creative talks, exhibitions, events, gatherings and good yarns.

Rise Up Sessions for creatives:

Thanks to the University of Newcastle’s support through the sharing of the new venue, artists and attendees will not only have a grander space to experience the conference but will also gain access to a new series of Rise Up session rooms during the breaks. These sessions will be led by creative industry professionals to help creatives rise up and protect their intellectual property, stand up for their creative rights and take care of their creative mental health.

Share a meal, rub some shoulders:

This year’s event will enable more opportunities for ticket holders to meet their favourite presenters through exclusive social gatherings. For the very first time, an opening VIP dinner and drinks will be shared the night before the conference to welcome the guest artists from past and present conferences. On the Saturday, the conference will then go into the night for an exclusive after party and closing exhibition with live music and many from the conference attending.

As always, Brett has brought the party that celebrates local and international industry excellence to our very own creative hub of a city.

Don’t miss your chance to be a part of it this year.

Cultivation through animation

22 June 2018 | Posted in: News

Pirates, penguins, medieval lords and inflatable dancers: these are but a small handful of the rotoscope animated renditions Justin Timberlake and his crew embodied at the hands of last year’s University of Newcastle Design students.

“He said he loved it on his social media…” recalls Design and Animation academic Jane Shadbolt;

“I love giving students a sense that there’s things they can achieve outside of this course that can be seen around the world. With that kind of recognition, I think it’s expected we do something like this every year now”

With plans for the third annual Newcastle International Animation Festival underway, festival curator and University of Newcastle animation lecturer Jane Shadbolt is reeling with ideas for this year’s upcoming event. With the official film line-up and accompanying events for the three-day festival still in its planning stages, Jane can’t confirm too much now, but she is confident that this year is set to be its biggest year yet.

With last year showcasing a plethora of international films from China to Estonia, a Kids’ Program full of family-fun flicks, and an Australian Showcase night highlighting the country’s leading animators – this year, Jane and the team wish to highlight more of Newcastle’s very own animation filmmaking elite. Whether you’re a student working on your first animated piece or an enthusiast willing to showcase a past or present project, Newcastle International Film Festival are eager to screen it.

Jane is a true believer of Newcastle’s creative community, of which her past involvement as Renew participant and present role as a university educator continues to cultivate. The growing recognition that her students continue to receive – a number of whom have gained employment for the likes of Nickelodeon following their studies – is what reaffirms her love for animation and for the creative and innovative output Newcastle produces.

The Newcastle International Animation Festival is due to take place in November. Jane and the festival team intend to collaborate with Renew Newcastle in bringing elements of the festival to The Station later this year.

If you’re a local filmmaker with an animated work you would like showcased at the festival, you can contact Jane Shadbolt via her email [email protected] for more information.

A year of creators, incubators and community

1 May 2018 | Posted in: News

Written by: Rayannon Innes | Photography: Zana Kobayashi

Twelve months, twenty-four artists, one shed… and growing.

That is the impressive equation that has resulted from artist Braddon Snape’s idea this time last year to turn a Hamilton North storage shed into the arts hub that is The Creator Incubator. Braddon is quick to turn the credit away from himself though, for like any large-scale success story such as this, it’s been the creative collaboration and community support which has enabled the co-creating space to grow into what it is today.

“It’s overachieved what I first thought it would achieve in the year” said Braddon,

“The community has gotten involved and supported us so strongly”.

This was evident from day one, where close to 500 people visited the space on its launch night. At that time, the ten resident artists occupying the industrial space had established inviting studio spaces that worked in engaging the visiting community.

Multidisciplinary artist and Renew Emporium graduate Graham Wilson was the first of these creative powerhouses to join The Creator Incubator team. Having joined the new space a few months prior to the closure of The Emporium, Graham could already see how the mix of like-minded people forming in the space was going to work effectively in the creative hub.

This is the crucial ingredient that has made The Creator Incubator and other local co-creator spaces that have followed (see: Clocktower Studios, Studio One Maryville, Onwards, Softys, The Fernery – just to name a few) flourish in this city. With the meaningful collaboration of a property owner and the collective dream of a group of passionate individuals, real creativity and community can happen in a space.

It’s this exact ethos that we at Renew Newcastle hope to bring to the fore at The Station. By enabling local talent from a range of differing industries to showcase their crafts alongside one another, collaborative experimentation shall reveal itself. We intend for the The Station to not only highlight community talent but to serve as a directory point towards initiatives such as The Creator Incubator, allowing visitors to further immerse themselves within the local creative culture.

Until then, come along to the The Creator Incubator this Saturday evening to join in the event celebrating their one-year anniversary. A play on the incubator theme, ‘Cracked’ will feature an impressive exhibition that showcases each of the 24 artists’ works in the main gallery, with each tenant inviting the public into their creative spaces to share in creativity,
conversation and festivities.