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The Workroom


Address:  Shop 4, The Emporium, 185 Hunter St Mall, Newcastle
Hours: Wed 10am – 4pm, Thu & Fri 10am – 5pm, Sat 10am – 4pm
Property Donor: GPT/Urban Growth Group
Launched: 12 March 2014
Closed:  2 April 2016

Maggie Hensel-Brown
e: [email protected]

“I’ve decided to move on from the Workroom to concentrate on branching out in my lace-making practice. Needle lace is a process that has been around and thriving for centuries. Now, unfortunately, the number of practitioners is dwindling. I’m aiming to learn some of the techniques from the masters and contribute to the preservation of the craft.

My time with Renew has been such an amazing experience. Not only did I build up a fantastic network of Artists, I got a steady interaction with the public too. That helped me get my work out to far-flung places and reach a much broader audience and market. I’m so grateful to Renew for giving me that boost at the start of my practice and am looking forward to whatever this next phase brings.”

Who are you?
I’m Maggie Hensel-Brown, an artist and designer in Newcastle.

What do you do?
I am interested in creating a constantly changing exhibition space, featuring works across all types of media. The Workroom combines a studio, gallery and shop. It is designed to engage with the public on every level of the art-making process, from creation to exhibition.

What inspired you to get involved with Renew Newcastle?
Everyone directly involved in the Workroom is from Newcastle and is dedicated to strengthening its artistic community. We have watched Renew Newcastle bring life back to the city and are thrilled to be a part of it. The workroom gives us an opportunity to exhibit our own works as well as other local artists. It also gives us a chance to make and sell practical objects and small-scale affordable artworks, allowing our work to reach a wider and more varied audience.

What are you doing in your new space?
The Workroom is a space of constant change, some installations last for a day, others for months. It is a chance for artists to experiment with materials and engage with a broad audience in new ways. We are also branching out into more practical artworks, jewellery, fashion, with lots of locally produced, artist-made objects.

Tell us about the space. What was its previous use?
Our shop in the emporium was once a part of David Jones. We believe it was somewhere in the menswear section. Personally I love the space’s history as a department store. I have fond memories of wandering around David Jones in swimmers and a towel after a beach trip, warding off the disdainful looks of the workers. We are so pleased to be part of the history of one of Newcastle’s most iconic retail spaces.