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Hello to all our arts interview readers,

arts interview has been very quiet in 2013 as we have been battling valiantly to try and find time to keep this much valued resource going. Unfortunately as Director of arts interview and Project Director, Eliza and myself have had to step away from arts interview. With two full time jobs and many projects on the boil we do not have enough hours in the day to keep arts interview running in its current form.

It has been an amazing couple of years for arts interview, profiling a diverse range of personalities who work within the arts. We thank them for the time and thoughts they have given to continue the dialogue on how we work and interact within our wonderful arts sector. The biggest thank you of all goes to our super team of contributors who have volunteered time and expertise to keep arts interview running at such a high standard over the years, without your help we would never have been able to create such a valuable resource for the arts.

We are so happy to have been able to run such a great initiative and to have created what will hopefully be a valued resource for years to come.

arts interview will no longer be publishing any new interviews however we will keep the website up and available for you to access past interviews.

So long, farewell!

Eliza + Alex

Hello to all our arts interview readers,

arts interview has been very quiet in 2013 as we have been battling valiantly to try and find time to keep this much valued resource going. Unfortunately as Director of arts interview and Project Director, Eliza and myself have had to step away from arts interview. With two full time jobs and many projects on the boil we do not have enough hours in the day to keep arts interview running in its current form.

It has been an amazing couple of years for arts interview, profiling a diverse range of personalities who work within the arts. We thank them for the time and thoughts they have given to continue the dialogue on how we work and interact within our wonderful arts sector. The biggest thank you of all goes to our super team of contributors who have volunteered time and expertise to keep arts interview running at such a high standard over the years, without your help we would never have been able to create such a valuable resource for the arts.

We are so happy to have been able to run such a great initiative and to have created what will hopefully be a valued resource for years to come. In terms of the future we will be running an archived interview each week on Monday as usual until a handover plan has been devised.

And the last thank you of all to you the readers, for reading, discussing and sharing arts interview. Thank you a million times and please keep your eyes open for updates on the future of arts interview.

Eliza Muldoon + Alex Bellemore

These responses were recorded as part of the panel discussion Who You Know: Building Networks in the Arts at The Museum of Contemporary Art on June 9th 2012 .An event in partnership with arts interview and VIVID Sydney.

Original panel discussion chaired and transcribed by Eliza Muldoon

Sebastian Goldspink is a Sydney based arts producer, gallerist and artist. In 2011 he opened Alaska Projects in an abandoned mechanics office in a Kings Cross car park and has since held numerous exhibitions in the space. Sebastian’s art practice is street based with a focus on advertising manipulation, he has shown at numerous artist run spaces and internationally. As an arts producer Sebastian has worked for various art organisations including the MCA, MONA and his current role as producer of Art Month Sydney.

You work across a lot of projects and roles, do you bring people with you to work across your various roles? If so, why?

It’s great to work with people that you like, to work with people that have a great work ethic and it’s also good to work with people that are into things that you’re into. Similarly, if you have a problem then you are naturally going to reach for people that have solved problems with you or for you in the past.

You know a lot of people- a lot. How did you meet them all?

I think for me personally it is a number of factors. I’m 40 years old, so I’ve been around for a while. I grew up in Sydney, I’ve never left Sydney and so Sydney is kind of my territory. I’ve worked both in the arts and in the film and TV industry and so I know people form both of those industries.

I think it’s also about being an active participant in the environment that you live in. I make an effort to go and be involved, instead of staying home and watching Game of Thrones I’m out and meeting people.

Has the development of your network been quite natural and organic or have you at times had quite a strategic approach?

I feel like I’m giving away a lot!

I think it’s both. I think sometimes it’s organic, say if I meet fellow panelist Julia (Julia Lenton features next week), we might just start talking about shows, if I meet an artist that I don’t know I’ll ask questions about their work. I’m interested, genuinely interested, and that’s an organic process of gathering information.

At the same time I can be strategic as well. If there is someone that I want to meet then I’ll research that person, I’ll learn information about that person, I’ll ask people in my networks about them too. If an opportunity arises I’ll make sure I have something to say to them. I think it’s a combination of strategy and organic development but I think there’s an opportunity to blend the two and consider strategy in a more organic way.

What advice do you have for those that want to start a relationship with an organisation that they need something from.

With all networking, or whenever you want to get something, it’s really great to think about the other side of the fence, who you are talking to, how does their mind work, what do they need? We set up an arts space in the basement of a Kings Cross car park. First we noticed that there was vacant space and we knew that it had been vacant for some time. We called up the City of Sydney and spoke to the parking services department and told them that we wanted to discuss the possibility of setting up this space. So they came down and met us, and part of their agenda was about public safety- they wanted to make it safer to be in the car park. They asked me if I thought having an art space there would make the car park safer. That was a concern I have never considered. I had never intended to open an art space to make Kings Cross safer, so that informed my future discussions and applications. Assume all councils are risk adverse, they aren’t cowboys, so always ensure that you have a response that is compatible with that.

My final advice on that is do your research. Get to know the organisation.

How important is volunteer work in your work in your opinion?

During my time at the MCA I would sit in on a couple of hundred job interviews a year. Sometimes people would dismiss something as ‘just volunteer work’ because they didn’t get paid, but from my perspective volunteering was an incredibly positive thing. I was actually a bit distrusting of people that had not volunteered. While there aren’t always paid jobs in the arts there a lot of unpaid opportunities and if you want to get a job in the arts you should take advantage of these.

http://home.alaskaprojects.com/

These responses were recorded as part of the panel discussion Who You Know: Building Networks in the Arts at The Museum of Contemporary Art on June 9th 2012 .An event in partnership with arts interview and VIVID Sydney.

Original panel discussion chaired and transcribed by Eliza Muldoon

Sebastian Goldspink is a Sydney based arts producer, gallerist and artist. In 2011 he opened Alaska Projects in an abandoned mechanics office in a Kings Cross car park and has since held numerous exhibitions in the space. Sebastian’s art practice is street based with a focus on advertising manipulation, he has shown at numerous artist run spaces and internationally. As an arts producer Sebastian has worked for various art organisations including the MCA, MONA and his current role as producer of Art Month Sydney.

You work across a lot of projects and roles, do you bring people with you to work across your various roles? If so, why?

It’s great to work with people that you like, to work with people that have a great work ethic and it’s also good to work with people that are into things that you’re into. Similarly, if you have a problem then you are naturally going to reach for people that have solved problems with you or for you in the past.

You know a lot of people- a lot. How did you meet them all?

I think for me personally it is a number of factors. I’m 40 years old, so I’ve been around for a while. I grew up in Sydney, I’ve never left Sydney and so Sydney is kind of my territory. I’ve worked both in the arts and in the film and TV industry and so I know people form both of those industries.

I think it’s also about being an active participant in the environment that you live in. I make an effort to go and be involved, instead of staying home and watching Game of Thrones I’m out and meeting people.

Has the development of your network been quite natural and organic or have you at times had quite a strategic approach?

I feel like I’m giving away a lot!

I think it’s both. I think sometimes it’s organic, say if I meet fellow panelist Julia (Julia Lenton features next week), we might just start talking about shows, if I meet an artist that I don’t know I’ll ask questions about their work. I’m interested, genuinely interested, and that’s an organic process of gathering information.

At the same time I can be strategic as well. If there is someone that I want to meet then I’ll research that person, I’ll learn information about that person, I’ll ask people in my networks about them too. If an opportunity arises I’ll make sure I have something to say to them. I think it’s a combination of strategy and organic development but I think there’s an opportunity to blend the two and consider strategy in a more organic way.

What advice do you have for those that want to start a relationship with an organisation that they need something from.

With all networking, or whenever you want to get something, it’s really great to think about the other side of the fence, who you are talking to, how does their mind work, what do they need? We set up an arts space in the basement of a Kings Cross car park. First we noticed that there was vacant space and we knew that it had been vacant for some time. We called up the City of Sydney and spoke to the parking services department and told them that we wanted to discuss the possibility of setting up this space. So they came down and met us, and part of their agenda was about public safety- they wanted to make it safer to be in the car park. They asked me if I thought having an art space there would make the car park safer. That was a concern I have never considered. I had never intended to open an art space to make Kings Cross safer, so that informed my future discussions and applications. Assume all councils are risk adverse, they aren’t cowboys, so always ensure that you have a response that is compatible with that.

My final advice on that is do your research. Get to know the organisation.

How important is volunteer work in your work in your opinion?

During my time at the MCA I would sit in on a couple of hundred job interviews a year. Sometimes people would dismiss something as ‘just volunteer work’ because they didn’t get paid, but from my perspective volunteering was an incredibly positive thing. I was actually a bit distrusting of people that had not volunteered. While there aren’t always paid jobs in the arts there a lot of unpaid opportunities and if you want to get a job in the arts you should take advantage of these.

http://home.alaskaprojects.com/

Adam Synnott is an independent artist, contemporary dancer and designer. Synnott’s roots are grounded in the contemporary dance world, having previously worked for companies Leigh Warren + Dancers, Australian Dance Theatre, Chunky Move and Sue Healey as well as many independent artists. In 2008 Synnott and Jason Lam, also a fellow artist and dancer started design studios, Kaboom Studios and have designed for theatre, film and installation with notable names such as Graeme Murphy.

Synnott is currently working with Leigh Warren on his new work Touch and collaborating on a new dance and media work Chance with Lisa Griffiths, Craig Bary and Josh Thomson. Later on this year he will spend time in development at the Critical Path (SYD) and Tas Dance (TAS) studios. In addition to all this he is part way through studying a Masters of Interactive Multimedia at UTS in Sydney.

Adam talked to arts interview about collaboration in dance and the projects he is currently working on.

Interview by Alex Bellemore

What are the differences in collaborative methods between dance and design, besides the obvious difference in style?

Being a dancer I’m always designing from a dance perspective so I couldn’t really comment on the differences between the two except that dance is so physical and is invariably developed from an internal and almost unconscious place. Dance can also happen a little more instantly and be created in the moment. Design perhaps is a little more of a conscious and planned thing. The challenge then becomes how to create designs for dance while it’s being created in the studio. When collaborating with Lisa Griffiths and Craig Bary on their work Side to One, this usually resulted in a great many late nights getting stuff ready in time for the next day’s rehearsal. Craig makes a great coffee so it was all OK.

Can you tell us a bit more about your collaboration with your wife and fellow dancer, Lisa Griffiths. What have been the positive and negative aspects of working with your partner?

It’s all good. Lisa and I already have a common understanding and a strong vision for our work together. We work intuitively and at a level that only comes from such a place of trust and involvement, we often don’t need to talk everything through we can just dive into an idea head first. There’s no greater joy than getting in a studio and working with your friends and Lisa is my best friend.

Contemporary choreography today is very much a collaborative practice between choreographers and dancers. Can you articulate the difference between working for a choreographer who ultimately bills the work as their own, compared to a work which is billed as collaborative?

This is definitely something that I’ve come up against a little bit over the years. This type of work spans across the technical, creative and collaborative aspects of working with other artists and organisations. The line is somewhat blurred and the specific role that I fill is dependent on the individual project. Most of the time billing is not a problem, especially with independent artists, they are generally awesome and understanding. Sometimes you have to fight for recognition of your own work (not always successful) and sometimes people just flat out steal your ideas. You have just got to role with the punches I suppose and hope that your work will speak for itself in the end.

At Kaboom Studios you work with fellow artist and dancer Jason Lam, how do you two work together effectively as a business and as artists?

I wonder that same thing myself sometimes. Jason lives in Darwin (he’s a doctor of all things) while I’m between Sydney and Adelaide so it gets a little complicated at times. I don’t think we could sustain a business as well as work creatively together without ‘the cloud’ (cloud computing). We’re lucky our partnership has emerged at roughly the same time as services like drop-box and google docs so we’ve never really had to do without it, though I can’t imagine how we could. We keep or business model as flexible as we can and just try and keep it fun and interesting for ourselves.

What do you think is a key guideline to remember when working with other people?

One of the pitfalls of collaborating with other people, especially with people from different disciplines is communication and finding a common language. If you find a common language between your collaborators early on in the project your off to a great start.

www.kaboomstudios.com

Well that’s it for our original interviews in 2011. We hope you have not only enjoyed, but gained insight from, the wide variety of people we’ve interviewed and subjects we’ve covered in the past nine months.

arts interview is a volunteer run collaborative project, we couldn’t do this without the generous support of a team of wonderful volunteers, who are all passionate about the arts in Australia and overseas. You’ve read their names on the interviews, but we wanted to send a special thanks again to them all.

Thank you:

Shivangi Ambani

Georgina Sandercock

Rebecca Rossman

Emi Forster

Vanessa Anthea Macris

Iris SiYi Shen

Alex Bellemore

Vi Girgis

Nina Mintorn

In addition we want to thank the core team who helped put arts interview together. The wonderful Natalia Ilyukevich and the talented Krista Huebner.

We will be back in 2012 with a new series of interviews and maybe some new forums and formats to learn and share experiences about working in the arts industry. If there is an area that you feel we should cover drop us an email at admin@artsinterview.com.

Over summer we will be reposting some of our favourite interviews, so don’t stop reading us every Monday morning.

Eliza Muldoon – Project Director

Kim Goodwin – Project Manager

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