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  • Photo: Justine Cogan

  • Photo: Justine Cogan

  • Photo: Justine Cogan

  • Photo: Justine Cogan

  • Photo: Justine Cogan

Justine Cogan


Address: The Clocktower, 111 Beaumont Street, Hamilton
Hours:  by appointment
Property Donor:  Newcastle City Council
Launched: 8 November 2016
Closed:  31 August 2017

Justine Cogan
m: 0437 147 689
e:  [email protected]

It was a totally fabulous experience being involved with the Clocktower Studios through Renew Newcastle.  When I signed up with Renew, I wanted to connect with other photographers, feel a part of the creative community and push my photographic practice.  After only eight months, this all came to fruition and I am so grateful for the opportunity!  I now have a connection with the other wonderful photographers in the Clocktower and have more confidence in my practice.  A highlight for me would have been the Clocktower Open Studio party where we exhibited our work in the shared the space to over 200 people.

I now am taking some time to focus on my postgraduate photography research at UoN but plan to stay connected with Renew and the fabulous creatives Renew supports.

Who are you?
I studied Photography at UNSW College of Fine Arts but found myself over time being drawn to arts development and advocacy roles. Most of my working life has been based in community, arts and cultural sectors spanning government and not-for-profit organisations; co-founding the Sydney Women’s Festival after I finished studying to co-ordinating the Opening Events of Tate Modern and Foundation Donor Programs at AGNSW. More recently I was General Manager at Tantrum Theatre (now Tantrum Youth Arts) and I now develop and manage programs at Octapod to increase participation in the arts for people who face barriers to access and inclusion. In the last few years I have also volunteered as a Board member of the Hunter Writers Centre and Strategic Advisor to the Backyard Bus Artist in Residence Program.

I started to explore my photographic practice recently and it’s quickly becoming an important part of my life and way for me to make sense of the world.  I’ve recently launched a website and have accepted to undertake a Higher Degree by Research in Fine Arts with the School of Creative Industries at the University of Newcastle.

What do you do?
It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do…to admit to myself that I want to develop my photographic practice and be an artist.  Through photography I explore and challenge stereotypes of beauty, gender and sexuality and attempt to reveal parts of people which aren’t usually shared with many or any. I seek an empathetic connection with the people I photograph and like to work collaboratively with my subjects, trying to capture the uniqueness of an individual, the dynamic between people or a place not usually seen.

What inspired you to get involved with Renew Newcastle?
I have been using a converted carriage shed next to my house as a studio for the past few years and decided that I wasn’t going to get any better at what I do if I stayed so isolated! I jumped at the change to share a space with other local creatives, to find my creative tribe and be inspired by others working in the industry.

What are you doing in your new space?
I am growing my photographic portrait business with ‘public’, ‘private’ and ‘place’ sessions available as well as my exploring my artistic practice and researching for my Masters around Photography and Identity.

Tell us about the space – what was its previous use? Anything unique about it? Your response to the space?
The Clocktower Studios is a fantastic space – a huge shared studio space with lots of smaller work stations for each of us.  I have a window overlooking Beaumont St – it’s very lively!