News / Events

Re-structure 2014 Conference

Date/time: 20. Nov 2014 - 11am-7pm
Venue: 215 Franklin St, CBD, Melbourne, La Trobe University (City Campus) (opposite Vic Markets)

This is a free event but requires RSVP.
Live stream @

Budget cuts proposed by the Abbott government have instigated a proliferation of restructures across the public sector. These restructures will have far reaching impacts on culture and education. Not only are we witnessing the manifestation of a markedly neo-liberal policy paradigm with its small government and big society rationale, but with so many cultural workers currently sustaining their practice through employment in the public sector, we may also see a failure of a particular kind of Western art professionalism.

How can knowledge sharing and art practice be maintained and organised differently?

This conference looks at the current state of the arts, and considers alternative modes of culture and knowledge production within times of shrinking public expenditures. Featuring participants from performance, fashion, gaming, media and community intervention, the event explores both broader sustainable strategies as well as "clever partial solutions" to cultural and knowledge production in a post-public sector environment.

In seeking alternatives, the Re-structure 2014 Conference looks to the proliferation of smaller scale community economies worldwide, in both on and offline environments, and to the modes of cultural production and knowledge exchange with other sectors such as environmental NGOs.

The conference will include presentations by Dr Stephen Healy (co-author of Take Back the Economy), Dr Joan Staples (researcher / Environment Victoria), Dr Geert Lovink (Institute of Network Cultures) via skype, Angharad Wynne-Jones (artshouse / tippingpoint Australia), Dr Maria Miranda (artist / researcher / ARI experience), Jon Hawkes (policy analyst / co-founder Circus Oz), Dr Grace McQuilten (researcher / curator / founder of Social Studio), Siying Zhou (artist, VCA / Melbourne Uni), Trent Kusters (League of Geeks), Dr Katharine McKinnon (community planer / La Trobe University), Rick Chen (, Fee Plumley (artist, digital activist), Vic McEwan (CAD factory).

Panel 1: Artist run initiatives – How gets art into communities and community into arts?

Here current examples of ARI are being discussed that engage with community economies as well as introduces into modes of cultural production within different communities.
Panelists: Dr Maria Miranda, Siying Zhou and Dr Grace McQuilten

Panel 2: Internet and cultural platforms - The merits and disillusions of the Internet

 Although the Internet offers means for networking and self-organisation, one question remains: if we can come up with alternative platforms to what current crowd-funding websites are already offering and under which framework could we do that?
Panelists: Trent Kusters, Rick Chen and Fee Plumley

Panel 3: Learning from cross-sectorial experiences

This panel compares the environmental and cultural sector. Issues like the environment or sustainability are similar to the arts and culture not at the top of the list when it comes to funding and lobbying but the environmental sector in Australia, though, seems to have a longer tradition of “going independent”.
Panelists: Dr Joan Staples, Angharad Wynne-Jones and Vic McEwan

Panel 4: Culture and civil society

Lastly we are pondering into questions of cultural production as a part of civil society and the role of the state as a facilitator of such. Do we need to refresh our bigger picture view here or do we better just keep picking up the pieces while society is moving on?
Panelists: Jon Hawkes, Dr Grace McQuilten and Dr Katharine McKinnon

Panel 5: My.Creativity Sweatshop: A Reality Check on the Creative Industries

– a skype conversation with Dr Geert Lovink, director of the Institute of Network of Cultures, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and co-organiser of My.Creativity Sweatshop: A Reality Check on the Creative Industries.

Photo credit:
"Fruit Pyramid Lanao" source:

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