Local creatives team up at Arts House

A group of creative Melburnians will explore the meaning of ‘place’ in a city evolving through the affects of COVID-19 in a project led by Arts House.

The Makeshift Publics program, which has financial support from the Australia Council, will involve more than 35 creators over two years. Stay tuned for the announcement of the chosen artists in February.

Each participant will receive an honorarium of $18,000 and the support of a team of expert artist facilitators to create work that ‘takes the public pulse’ and seeks to reignite our sense of community post-isolation.

Makeshift Publics is designed to give artists and facilitators the time and space for intensive collaboration and to delve deeply into their creative practice, and what has changed in the relationship between artist, audience and community.

‘Being part of a community of artists really validates my practice,’ said Makeshift Publics facilitator James Nguyen, an award-winning artist and filmmaker.

‘It is through the many conversations and time spent with other artists and their works where I begin to develop my own set of questions and perspectives about my own work.’

James believes that the experience of COVID-19 has sparked creativity in many people and that artists should play an important role as Melbourne recovers.

‘COVID was profoundly disruptive and anxiety inducing for so many people trying to simply survive, let alone focus on their creative practice,’ James said.

‘However, as time passed, many people (even those who never would have called themselves artists) came to the realisation that small and humble forms of compulsive creativity – like observation, making jokes, and doing things with their hands – were actually the most essential forms of survival.

‘Disruption, adaptability, and precarity are nothing new to many artists so, as artists, I hope we have more of a say in the broader collective and holistic recovery of Melbourne as a city.’

Through projects like Makeshift Publics, we place artists at the centre of important civic discussions that help shape the future of our city. To find out more, visit Arts House.