Creative Spaces Summit 2023


Debbie Higgison

Debbie Higgison

Solid Ground Program

Debbie is a proud Wangal descendant from the area is now known as the Homebush, Canada Bay, Strathfield area in Sydney NSW which is part of the Dharug Language Nation. Debbie is the Education Project Officer for the Solid Ground Program: an initiative between Carriageworks and Blacktown Arts. Prior to this Debbie was the Project Manager at Mt Druitt Learning Ground, a behavioural change program in Bidwill in Western Sydney (2005 to 2018). Debbie is a qualified social worker/community worker and behavioural therapist with qualifications from Sydney University, Blacktown and Mt Druitt TAFE. She was named Chifley Woman of the Year in 2014 and 2021 and NSW Women of the Year Community Hero in 2017.

All Sessions by Debbie Higgison

Day 2
11:45 am - 1:15 pm

Breakout Session One

Elders In Residence at Blacktown Arts
Presenters: Alicia Talbot, Manager Blacktown Arts, Debbie Higgison, Solid Ground Education Project Officer + Uncle Wes Marne

Blacktown Arts Elders in Residence program places Elders and the community at the heart of our artistic program. Every Friday our senior men sit together in the public galleries of The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre to share knowledge, stories and making connections. This free, drop-in program is a place for the community to connect, do business and find family connections. This session outlines how the Elders program has invigorated the activation and curation of Blacktown Arts program and operations and shares cultural and practical details for organisations who are interested in setting up their own programs.

Kwop Wirin Aboriginal Art Exhibition
Presenter: Julie Barratt, DADAA, Richenda Prall, Rottnest Island Authority.

The aim of this presentation is to showcase an innovative arts project that took place at the Heritage Museum on Wadjemup (Rottnest Island), WA. The project was a first-time partnership between DADAA and Rottnest Island Authority. We worked with Aboriginal Artists with a disability to showcase their work in an inaugural exhibition a the Heritage Museum on Wadjemup. This brought arts and culture back to the island and was a significant step towards reconciliation.

First Nations Voices
Presenter: Thomas Readett

Join Thomas Readett, Ngarrindjeri man and Lead Artist & Director of TR Visual Arts for a session on First Nations voices. As an Aboriginal man, Thomas has led a life and career around deepening his identity through his Culture and Visual Arts. This presentation will educate audiences on best practice when it comes to either delivering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content or engaging an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artist for a project from a First Nations lens. In 2023 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are still living with problematic stereotypes and challenges, this talk aims to unpack, educate and change problematic perspectives. Thomas will also talk to his career in the arts and where he is at now.

Other Spaces
Presenter: Megan Rowland, Team Leader Creative Development, Creative Arts, Sunshine Coast Council
A conversation about the potential of independent, experimental and alternative spaces for activation, place-making and regional development. Hear the unlikely story of a bus terminal, old lock up and abandoned TAFE site in transforming arts infrastructure on the Sunshine Coast. Consider the challenges, unique possibilities and significance of reimagined spaces and collaborative approaches in building cultural capital for communities and places in a fast-growing regional setting. Can we imagine new models and find more space for making, experiencing and talking about art?”

Post Office Projects
Presenter: Eleanor Scicchitano, Director, Post Office Projects

Introducing Post Office Projects, a new, curator-run, volunteer arts organisation in Port Adelaide. Launched in 2021, POP comprises artist studios, residencies, workshops and two exhibitions space. This presentation discusses the goals and programming frameworks that guide our work, and our flexible, artist-led approach to our activity.

Celebrating Community Run Spaces in Campbelltown
Presenters: Helen Bock, Community Development Officer, Campbelltown Council and James Parker, Chairperson, Campbelltown ArtHouse.

Why have a Gallery run by Community? Why have a Gallery run by Artists? What difference does it make? What sort of space/s can be turned into a Gallery? What do Artists need from a Gallery Space? Is selling Art important?
James and Helen will share and discuss the journey that has been taken by The Campbelltown ArtHouse in bringing art into the local community’s lives. They will share the challenges & celebrations, the relationship with Council, and why Community based, and artists run spaces are important and how to keep the vision going.

Making Good – A Coalition for Change
Presenters: Dr Karen Annett-Thomas, Assistant Director and Amelia Wallin, Curator, both from the La Trobe Art Institute.
What follows the collective challenges of the global pandemic? What practices might we shed, and what will be their replacement?
Making Good: A Coalition for Change was a year long project, led by La Trobe Art Institute, which mobilised the potential for change within institutions globally. Bringing together seven Australian and three international artists and curators, alongside the La Trobe Art team, Making Good manifested as a series of residencies and conversations online and in person that addressed the changed environment in which we live and work.
In this presentation, Karen and Amelia will share the knowledge, lessons and learnings gleaned from this project.

“Flipping the Gaze”: Centring First Nations knowledge, perspectives and experiences with arts-led learning.
Presenter: Fiona Salmon, Director, Flinders University Museum of Art

Flinders University Museum of Art (FUMA) is custodian to one of the largest public art collections in South Australia. It spans the 15th to 21st centuries and comprises over 8,000 Australian and international works of art including many by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. In this session hear about FUMA’s efforts to activate these works in higher education contexts. Focusing on projects co-designed with First Nations colleagues and others, it presents art-led learning as an approach that is meaningfully engaging students with First Nations knowledges, perspectives and experiences and supporting educators in this process.

Harbingers: A mentorship and commissioning initiative as a signal for success.
Presenters: Lauren Mustillo, Visual Arts Manager, Country Arts SA and Fulvia Mantelli, Team Leader Arts Development + Director, Murray Bridge Regional Gallery

The SPUR: Regional Curatorial Mentorship and culminating exhibition HARBINGERS: Care or Catastrophe evolved over two years, giving two regional arts workers the opportunity to participate in the creation of an exhibition through the process of direct curatorial engagement. Commissioning all new works by five South Australian artists, the initiative’s framework centred on relationships and professional development outcomes, aiming to nurture networks between artists, curators and galleries that reached further than Adelaide and beyond any one region. This presentation will position SPUR as an innovative professional development and commissioning model and share the learnings, strengths, challenges as well as processes and practical considerations.

Podcasting for Galleries
Presenter: Jane Curtis, Podcast Producer

Discover the podcasts that galleries are making in Australia and overseas. Tackle tricky questions like What’s the podcast only our gallery can make? and Who’s our podcast audience? This workshop is a combination of listening, slideshows, and worksheets. You’ll leave with a podcast brief for your gallery, a resource guide, and a gallery playlist to listen to on the way home. Suitable if you're new to podcasts through to being a regular podcast listener. Strictly Limited Numbers for this session open only to those delegates who book in.