Pro Prac Symposium – Making and Working Outside of the Gallery

Making and Working Outside of the Gallery

Pro Prac Symposium

Instagram handle @Arie_rain_glorie
Instagram handle @fihillary

National Association of Visual Arts
Boon Wurrung Foundation
Wurundjeri Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation
Islamic Council of Victoria
Testing Grounds
Project Anywhere
The Unconformity
Gertrude Street Projection Festival
Gap Filler
Decolonizing Solidarity


Kiera Brew Kurec 00:02
Hi everyone and welcome to Pro Prac Symposium.

Pro Prac Symposium is a professional practice webinar where artists share their knowledge on topics which were identified over seasons one and two of that podcast. Pro Prac Symposium has been generously funded and supported by the City of Melbourne and would also like to thank Site Works and the Center for Dramaturgy and Curation for hosting us today.

We respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation and pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging, and the elders of the land of which this podcast and symposium reach you on today. We extend that respect to all First Nations people listening today and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

Nick Breedon 00:47
This is our first session for the day “Making and Working Outside Of The Gallery”, we are joined by Arie Rain Glorie and Fiona Hillary , who will be having a conversation with each other discussing all things working outside of traditional gallery systems. The session will go for about an hour and we’ll have 15 minutes for q&a at the end. We’ll be taking questions via the q&a function on zoom. So feel free to type your questions in throughout the session, and we’ll get to them at the end. We’d also love to hear where you’re listening from. So, yeah, please feel free to type in the chat or the q&a function, where you’re listening in from today. Just a reminder that the symposium is being recorded that will be released as podcast episodes. So if you haven’t already, please subscribe to us on Apple podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Kiera Brew Kurec 01:41
I will introduce our panelists today.

Arie Rain Glorie is a curator and artist based in Naarm Melbourne in 2015 he graduated with an honors degree in fine arts from RMIT. His video live art, and installation based practice is exhibited predominantly in a festival context. His practice is often collaborative and responsive. As a curator he experiments with exhibition making, events and audience engagement. Arie is the program director and curator of Testing Grounds, and the curator and co founder of the Center for Dramaturgy and Curation. Welcome Arie.

Fiona Hilary is a Melbourne based artist working in the public realm. Her passion lies in site specific practice and the human non human relationships that reveal themselves across time. Fiona has made and curated permanent, temporary collaborative, performative works for a range of commissioning organizations. Fiona is a program manager of the Master of Arts Art in Public Space at RMIT University. She is a research lead in the School of Art research group Contemporary Art and Social Transformation. Fiona currently sits on the curatorial advisory committee for the Gertrude Atreet Projection Festival. She is a member of the Algee society, a global collective of interdisciplinary researchers. Fiona is completing her PhD at Deakin University. Welcome, Fiona.

Thank you so much for both joining us today and you’re going to be having a conversation over the next 45 minutes or so. So I’m just going to hand it straight over to both of you. Thanks.

Arie Rain Glorie 03:26
Thank you. Um, I’m going to kick it off, just to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people as the traditional owners of the land, from where I’m calling from, which is in Northcote as well, Fiona, where are you coming from?

Fiona Hillary 03:40
I’m coming from Wurundjeri land too.

Arie Rain Glorie 03:46
Which is, you know, obviously, it’s important to do these acknowledgments, and to pay our respects to elder’s past and present and future. But it’s also a really pertinent leaping off point to also think about a lot of what we’re going to discuss today, which is making and working outside of the gallery, which is going to inevitably lend itself to a pretty large conversation about public art and working in in public. Some people say I guess never say public say Publics and to acknowledge that there’s lots of different contexts and mixes and things like that. And to do that, I think, to really foreground today’s discussion, Fiona, I thought it would be a really good idea to first set the scene. And then we can use that as a bit of a leaping off point. I was thinking about this a bit yesterday after I chat yesterday, and I went to the city for the first time in probably about six weeks, because I had to go and do something at work. And I was at Flinders Street Station, and do you know the old automap photo booth that’s there?

Fiona Hillary 04:57

Arie Rain Glorie 04:58
I went past that and it had it was boarded up. But like, you know, there’s a lot of things with tape on them at the moment or like, No Go zones. But this was like cartoonish like, like an old Plank with nails in it. And you know, it really for me, I thought it was like quite a symbol of what’s going on right now. And how much public space has changed in you know, recent weeks that there is no room for entertainment right now there’s no room for attractions. And there’s a real fear of enclosed spaces, you know, and obviously, an automatic photo booth is like the kind of look into it and you know I used to love it’s scummy charm, but now I’m looking at going erghhh that looks terrifying.

But, and of course, we’re going to talk about COVID a bit today. But if you could also, you know, from what we talked about yesterday, it’s really important that we also think about what else has changed public space for us, and so much in the last three years, because there’s a lot of talk about what’s you know, how much has changed in the last six weeks, but like, I’m gonna, I’m gonna kind of go through a few things that’s happened in in the last three years. And I think we’ll say how much space is constantly changing. And of course, I’m going to talk mostly from from the perspective of Melbourne. So to acknowledge that as well that we’re going to where I think both of us will probably talk a lot about working in Victoria and Melbourne, but that’s going to change if you’re an like this, the advice and things we’re going to talk about is definitely going to be a bit different if you’re another city.

Things that have changed only in the last three years. Some really big things, I think. One is the Bourke Street massacre, and the shootings that happened a year later, that has profoundly changed the way that we move through the city and the different types of infrastructure that’s in there. The most obvious example being bollards, temporary bollards that are then replaced by permanent bollards. Earlier this year, if this city being you know, a haze of smoke from the bush fires, and feeling like kind of ecological disaster seeping into the city, which I think is really interesting, because often in the city, you can feel a little bit untouched by these other things.

Fiona Hillary 07:17
Absolutely. And major venues being sites for offering shelter to people who, whose homes were destroyed around the bush fires as well.

Arie Rain Glorie 07:28
Hmm, yeah, definitely. Yeah, something like that. So I mean, all of these, I guess, really change the atmosphere of the city, the kind of tension that you can feel in there. Of course, in the last few years, we have seen the city change so drastically with so many buildings being knocked down. And we’re seeing the subway being built, which is also not, you know, as a huge reflection of changing infrastructure to keep up the demands of a population that’s swelling at an incredible rate. We don’t often think about this but Melbourne, during the Gold Rush was the second biggest Metropolis in the world after LA I think it was. And we’re now entering another time of unprecedented growth, which is pretty interesting. Like remember when Mc Donald’s and Hungry Jacks used to be on the corner?

Fiona Hillary 08:18
And I think that the issue with things around construction and growth is that it, It literally physically change the way we move around the city and the access that we have to the city.

Arie Rain Glorie 08:31
Yeah, I feel like the city’s gotten a lot more dense, not just because of population growth. But also because construction is taking up so much space where we would normally be. And public programming is really interesting as well. I remember having a conversation with someone from Federation Square, and they were talking about the way there’s so much construction now you have to start programming for construction workers, because they become your immediate community. And that’s, that’s quite interesting as well. Um, other things that have changed, you know, we are just feeling an increase in ecological crisis and change in the climate. The trees the City of Melbourne planted 100 years ago are starting to fall down and they’re reaching the end of their life. We’ve got pollen storms now, you know, the Plane trees have always been a long as I’ve lived here a real annoyance, but it seems to be that it’s getting beyond an annoyance now and actually becoming a real health risk for people. Other things to change, gay marriage, you know, that was on an all the different protests for many reasons. And significant changes in the way we socialize with each other. There’s been a rising support in First Nations sovereignty and discussions in Treaty. There’s been fear and hate crimes perpetuated by the media around African gangs. And you know, when I think about these things, this is three years we’re talking about, you know, some of these things have been going on a little bit longer, but, but these things are the things I can think of the really occupy the city in the last few years, have you got anything?

Fiona Hillary 10:04
I think one of the things that is interesting about all of those things is to be mindful that the cities, the context of the city is constantly changing. The way we use the city is constantly changing. One of the things that we were talking about Arie yesterday was how, how rapidly artists will pivot and engage in ways that are accessible for them. And I would, I was fortunate enough to go to the international public art awards in Auckland in 2015 fairly close to the Christchurch earthquakes. And there was an urban planner presenting and he was just showing images of the different creative incursions that had occurred post earthquake. And one of those being Dance-O-Mat from and the team from Gap Filler were presenting also. And I think the really interesting thing about that is when we’re in crisis, creatives find ways to express themselves. And suddenly, communities are wanting to articulate how they’re feeling and, and creative mechanisms start to emerge through public space, I think. It’s really fascinating to see how given a blank canvas, people will respond, artists will respond to repurpose a space and to reinvigorate their own practice, perhaps.

Arie Rain Glorie 11:42
Yeah, definitely. I, you know, the interesting thing about this, I guess, of working, making work, and working outside the gallery is a gallery, of course, and the white cube in particular is made to be an unchanging environment. So I think that’s what we’re really kind of going to touch on here today that, yeah, that it may be that, you know, what, what are the takeaways of that? One is definitely that things are constantly changing. When you’re working outside of the gallery, I have a kind of cheeky a tongue in cheek thing, which is, I think galleries are like the PDF of the art world. (Laughter) But if you think about it, they are made to be buried, it means you can make the art and ship it anywhere in the world, and you know that it’s going to work. And you know, that, you know, in the same way that you send a PDF across the world, and you know that they’re going to be able to print that document, it operates on a pretty similar basis. But of course, working outside of the gallery, if you’re going to tour work to a festival or something like that, it’s, it’s going to be drastically different, you don’t know if it’s gonna work in a different location.

Fiona Hillary 12:49
We recently hosted an artist talk with Maddie Flynn and Tim Humphrey. And looking at the work that they make and how each, each city that they take their public artworks to they change significantly, whether it’s through the scripting of their A.I, whether it’s through the language that they pick up and use, whether it’s from observations of how people engage differently with the physical structures. And I think that’s a constant in public practice. And there are some really key and important elements to, to being successful in working in the public realm that you and I have had extensive conversations about. One of them is around relationships, the relationships you build, in the process of making work the relationships you have with a building owner, or with the commissioning body, or with an audience, there are relationships present constantly. But in order to be successful in your practice, you need to be really conscious of your critical friends of your critical relationships. We were speaking about the importance of buildings, distinctly building relationships with people that have skill sets that will complement your practice as an artist is not alone if it can be alone activity in terms of unsanctioned practice, perhaps, but any kind of commission work requires you to have this kind of network of humans working with you. We talked about the importance of producers Arie you might want to speak to that from a perspective of Test Sites too.

Arie Rain Glorie 14:37
Yeah, I mean, yeah, I guess Maybe working inside of a gallery, people don’t, you might come across a producer maybe less, working in festival contacts you, you know producers will be the main people that you talk to, and working for councils and stuff you will come across producers as well. I think from you know, in my experience, the main difference between a producer and a curator is that the producer will take on a lot more logistical work. And you know often with a curator I think you’re operating under a kind of curatorial vision you know that they are definitely should be there to support you and make your your vision come to life. But um, producers have a slightly different skill set. That is definitely lends itself to a lot more organization, and a lot more logistical knowledge, I think, particularly out in public have like permits, how to wrangle an entire team on your behalf. And really just take a lot of that stuff out of your hands so that you can try, as you know, it’s quite hard to do but try and just concentrate on being the artist and not and not wrangling absolutely everything else. Yeah. How do you see producers supporting?

Fiona Hillary 15:54
I think I’m a huge advocate for ensuring that there’s a project manager or producer engaged in a public work. If a commissioning organization isn’t offering already someone to perform that role, often, for example, with a local government, public or temporary commission, there will be a project manager who will do the work around permissions for installation, they will direct the information through the media and communication team so that there’s it’s been amplified, they’ll sort of provide the interface between the commissioning body and the artist precisely for the reasons you’ve articulated Arie, to allow the artist to try and hold that creative realm in that creative space and be working to their optimum. I think those kind of if those roles aren’t being offered by a commissioning organization, I would encourage any artists to question why and if they aren’t being provided, then to budget that into your budget, in preparation. So that’s going in that’s a really big question to ask, how will this project be managed to understand what you can then budget into your budget so that you have the support, you need to realize the work to the extent that you want to realize it.

Arie Rain Glorie 17:19
Yeah, definitely. And I and, I mean, the interesting thing is, you know, that doesn’t always happen. And the interesting thing, I think, as well, especially when you’re starting out, and you might be making work outside of the gallery, without other people’s permission, a lot of people that work in this kind of, I guess, public art community / festival community, a lot of these artists are quite good producers, because you’ve often had to fill that role, yourself. So anyone that’s interested in, I guess, breaking out of the gallery or something like that, and it hasn’t yet done it, I think, you know, it’s such an easy place to start is to start asking other artists that had done it, and they will inevitably have templates and ideas that I’m sure that most people are happy to share about how to how to go about it, which is, you know, build, I mean, what the number one, were trying to find a site to do it.

Fiona Hillary 18:18
And you know, sometimes it’s a case of just doing it, get out there and creatively engage with the public realm in a way that it sticks with your practice and get a feel for it experienced what it feels like, understand the interface that you have constantly with the general public, in terms of your relationship to the general public or an audience. Some of your some of the responses you receive is so immediate, and so raw, and unedited and un redacted. So you’re open to experiencing the way people experience your work firsthand, one of the most beautiful moments in a work that I made was when two teenage boys suggested that my work was romantic. And that blew me away because I hadn’t. We’ve been so busy in the making and installation of this work, that we hadn’t had a chance to step back and imagine how other people are reading the work. And for two 15 year old boys to say that is romantic was just such a beautiful experience. Equally you have people who might not enjoy the work and, and that interface is there as well. That’s when you have the chance to remain anonymous and perhaps join them in critiquing the work. (Laughter)

Arie Rain Glorie 19:43
Yeah, that sucks. (Laughter)

Fiona Hillary 19:46
Right. But just to understand the experience of the artwork, listening, eavesdropping is just a fabulous part of working in the public realm. It is challenging the challenges though too can be if there’s a negative response to the work, it’s very obvious. And that’s when I think, equally having a network of humans around you who support what you’re doing, even just other artists that are working in the public realm are really important. We talked about the importance to of remembering to care for each other, that care for each other care for your practice care for the community are really critical. It’s really critical to the way you operate and the success of your work as well.

Arie Rain Glorie 20:39
Success is a really interesting work. So it’s like, how do you, you know, if you’re making a work out of the public and you are getting a negative reaction. How are you actually measuring the success of the project? Because you can, a lot of people go well, it’s whether the audience liked it or not. And yes, that is one measurement. But absolutely, another measurement is the value of the experience. And and I think what you’re talking about here, taking care of each other, and forming a community around the work is like, you know, it might be a little bit of a flop in terms of the general public, but you might have an entire team and community of people that think it’s amazing. And that means it’s worth doing.

Fiona Hillary 21:19
We’ve both been fortunate enough to work on the Gertrude Street Projection festival, and that, among many things, but that’s been a really, that’s a really great example of a there is a platform of there’s a group of people on hand to support the delivery of a suite of temporary public artworks across 10 days. And there’s a there’s a real community around the festival, from the people who live in the street, who live in who live in Fitzroy, right through to council who support what through funding support the festival. I also think the fact that you have world renowned projection artists exhibiting with emerging artists, that’s a beautiful, generous space to be exploring. So I think that’s a great example. And festivals often provide those kinds of frameworks that allow the artists to achieve great outcomes.

Arie Rain Glorie 22:25
Yeah, I 100% agree with that. I think festivals, are such an interesting are a rare space or maybe a contrast to galleries where you can get emerging artists working next door to really established artists, it doesn’t happen in galleries as much.

Fiona Hillary 22:43
I think I’m also thinking about artists led initiatives or creatively driven initiatives. I think about Project Anywhere Sean Lowry’s project, Unconformity in Tasmania. So I think artist, led and artist driven have really interesting spaces to be working in. I think the City of Melbourne’s Biennial Lab at Queen Vic market was a huge testament to how that kind of collective process of working together allows incredible outcomes. And that’s, that’s part of that too, is around, We’ve talked around preparation and contingency planning, but in your preparation, it’s not just preparing to make a work and put it in a space. It’s all the research that happens around your interests as an artist in that public space. And you can have incredible deep dives into a public space like the Queen Vic market. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on Treatment with David Cross and Cam Bishop, and having three years at the treatment plant is phenomenal. The things that you learn about sewage that you never imagined would be something you’d be considering is pretty amazing. So there’s something about prep, research, preparation, planning, thinking through and what you first think you might be putting into the public realm is going to change significantly to what you actually realize in my situations, I think because you feel the space you understand the space differently through your research. And I think public artists or perhaps people that think are open to adapting their practice to different spaces and different conditions in different contexts. So I think contingency contingency contingency is what I say. And look at it, approach it, take it as an exciting opportunity to shift your creative practice in ways that you might not have thought about shifting or moving.

Arie Rain Glorie 25:11
In any, any producers or curators that you’re working with, in that context, I think a good one should be there to absolutely facilitate those changes. And never and never be there to say, No, but you said it was gonna be like this in the first, you know, like they need, they need to be equally as open, to allow you to adapt and change and just be as creative as you possibly can.

Fiona Hillary 25:36
And in terms of, I think we’ve, at Testing Grounds you would see, you provide this amazing infrastructure. And I think, just going back to talking about the things that emerged through Gap Filler in New Zealand, I think, I think there’s a period of time when a city’s under transition and change that opportunities like Testing Grounds emerge where Joe and Millie saw the site as an opportunity. The time was right, with state government to take that opportunity and, and create a space that that holds the space for art in the city for making art in the public realm.

Arie Rain Glorie 26:18
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, timing is so important. And I guess, you know, we took you I mean, what is time marked was marked by change. So again, we’re back to this, that we’re in constantly changing conditions, but also, sometimes, you know, not all projects get off the ground. And I’ve had the personal experience of kind of flooding a project and, and being disappointed that I couldn’t actually get it to where I needed to go. But I think that’s about having kind of like a lot of projects under your belt. And going you know what, I’m just going to put that one aside for now. And actually, that’s fine, that can sit there in the city with the right moment, you have to just think about timing, and the right moment might come up in a few more years. And then you go, Oh, my God, this is the perfect moment, you know? Yeah. Which is a bit different as well, if you’re working in a gallery, I guess, cuz, because you know, you know, the conditions you’re working for.

Fiona Hillary 27:09
And I think currently, we’re seeing lots of artists pivot their skill set to be working in a digital context. The internet has become our public space in in these kind of isolation conditions. So it’s incredible to I think we are incredibly connected through the internet anyway. But the offerings that are emerging through artists and curators around the world opening up, to have conversations in ways that we weren’t having conversations, there is this universal kind of experience. We’re all in it. We’re not the same. But we’re all in it. And that can open up a whole range of possibilities. So again, we’re seeing artists adapt creative skill sets to be able to articulate their work in a digital context.

Arie Rain Glorie 28:02
Yeah, absolutely. I was thinking about this yesterday of that, maybe. I mean, when like these amazing shifts, we’re now thinking, go look at our self awareness becomes more global. And maybe, you know, one of the prime examples of this is when we looked when we first went to the moon and looked back on Earth, and the One Earth movement and things like that, and it’s like, we’re in a kind of similar period now, where we have to, you know, you all of a sudden, what somebody is doing over in England can can make us feel vulnerable, which is a really interesting place to be and that, yeah, that, to me, I like Personally, I, obviously, have always been on the internet for a long time that, that yeah, it’s the interconnectedness is really being highlighted right now. Absolutely. Yeah Yeah.

Fiona Hillary 28:54
And I think through art, we gain insights to how other people are experiencing isolation and the cities they’ve been living in. I was talking to someone in Italy the other night, and they need to have a form filled in to be able to leave the house and they have to carry the form with them. And they’re only allowed to go 200 meters from their house. So they’re locked down conditions are really different to ours. And their work is just prolific. It’s prolifically expanded across countries and time zones using the internet using exactly these kind of forums that Kiera and Nick have established, amplifying. And I guess that in terms of amplifying your work, Arie, what would you recommend to artists that are wanting to dive into the public realm? What are the mechanisms you suggest to amplify practice?

Arie Rain Glorie 30:02
Yeah, I mean, in terms of like, once you’ve got an actual project, how to get your word out about the project?

Fiona Hillary 30:07
I think that going forward risk taking, we always take risks as artists, whether it’s an emotional risk in investing in what we’re doing, through to, through to the will at won’t at work kind of risk through to the material that you’re working with. More than ever, I think in the in the coming period of time risk is going to, we’re going to have to we need to nurture and encourage risk taking. Because it’s really easy to become, to step back and to shut down and to be fearful of conditions. But more than ever, I think coming out of this, we’re going to have to push, push the kind of envelope, and because the controls in public space are more than we’ve ever experienced in our lifetimes at the moment. Even just about your own practice and your interests, you create an interest in the world.

Arie Rain Glorie 30:15
Yeah, sure. I mean be bold. You know, what do we want out of the arts, we want people to be interesting. And they want people to say interesting things. And I think definitely a part of that, which is not asking for permission initially, and just going to do it anyway. And you kind of do need to put your arms up and make some noise, you have to make noise. And you and you need to experiment with what what’s possible, I think. Yeah, definitely. And I think to be really critical of the selection criteria of festivals and public art frameworks and things like that, because that’s often, you know, organizations or councils or whatever will say that they value risk, but then you are having to comply to their selection criteria’s in order to get ahead. So to be really mindful of how much risk one year can become the norm the next year. You know, one and, and to always be pushing against that and, and question. Yeah,

Fiona Hillary 32:13
Absolutely, absolutely. One of the things I think is really critical and if I could say it to any artist is having a really good website, it sounds like a no brainer, but actually, when you’re seeking artists to engage with and work with, you really want to be able to land somewhere, look at what their work looks like experience, their work through that their sort of documentary and, and, and storytelling of their practice. A good website is really critical, I think, because social media platforms change really rapidly. And so it’s great, it’s really important to have a social media presence. But if there’s a landing site that holds that’s a vessel that’s holding everything about your practice in your work, and you’re thinking, that’s really important.

Arie Rain Glorie 33:09
Yeah, absolutely. And websites are more democratic, because actually, a lot of the time I’m not, I’m a rare bird that that’s not on Facebook, and a lot of the time artists will send me a Facebook link, and I can’t look at it properly. And, you know, and a well designed website, and it doesn’t mean you have to necessarily spend lots of money, you know, or you know, buy well designed I just mean simple. It’s so important to recognize that arts workers are incredibly time poor. And we’re working under huge pressures, low budgets, crazy high K.P.Is. And yeah, like he said, we need to be able to access the artists information really quickly. And we need to and we, you know, really good producing tips that I’ve been given by producers in video documentation, you need to have an under three minute cut of your video, because producers will not look at more than three minutes, they just don’t have the time. Also it’s about keeping people you can just be interested don’t bore people.

Fiona Hillary 34:16
I think also, the way you pitch your work is really important as well. If you are applying for a festival or a public art commission, you really need to look at the instructions that the commissioning organization are giving you because they’ll often be really detailed. And if you think I’m not, I’m not interested in complying to that. There are reasons behind why they’re asking you for the information they’re asking you for. And I think in those instances, you have to really make sure you’ve covered off their criteria without compromising your own practice. But a really good solid pitch is really important in In this sort of landscape, so you might, if for a permanent public art commission, there might be a whole range of a whole series of processes you have to come up with first deliver a concept, then deliver a design that sits that articulates the concept, then you might elaborate that design. But all the way along, you’re you’re being asked to present to selection panels and presenting to selection panels, you really need to be able to give them a succinct understanding of the work that you’re making and why you’re making it. I get I often fall into lots of flowery language. And you know, at the end, someone says, Well, what do you really mean, you have to be able to give that really clear, like an elevator pitch or a barbecue statement about your work.

Arie Rain Glorie 35:54
I’m a huge fan of the elevator pitch. All artists that I work with, I’m always like, go give me an elevator pitch, it’s a really good thing to practice. And whenever I like write up my own project briefs, I’ve always got one prepared a sentence prepared, because you know, standing in a gallery bumping into somebody just you never know, when someone’s gonna go, what are you working on? and that, you know, a lot of artwork and a lot of curators, a lot of festival, creative directors, they’re never not working. So even though it is outside of business times, and it’s seven o’clock at night on a Friday, and you’re standing in a gallery, when they go, What are you? What are you working on? They’re really asking, What are you working on?, I’m looking for things.

Fiona Hillary 36:38
Next time I see you socially, I’m going to be ready. (Laughter) I think in saying that, too, when you are going through a formal public art commissioning process, if you don’t have the skill set to visualize your idea, that’s where a critical friend comes into play as well. Finding someone who does, thinking through basic ways of representing your work could be through a digital drawing, it might be through a series of images, a collage, a montage of images, but think about how you’re representing your work, if that’s really important as well, if a selection panel, like you say, selection panels are seeing multiple submissions, and if a certain panel can look at a pitch for a public artwork or performative work, or however the public art is articulating, if they can look at it and have a really clear sense of what it is the artist is proposing, visually, as well as in a descriptive sense. I think that that’s, that’s a really valuable kind of package to be delivering.

Arie Rain Glorie 37:51
The number, the number one word for me whenever I’m looking at applications is viability. You know, we don’t unlike a gallery where you’ve got a plasterboard wall, you know, you can really, you know, most buildings will have the same weight loading, things like that, that is all out the window, and you’re not working in a gallery. It needs to be the simplest language and the, you know, the assessing that idea, because even without, even without you having to describe the way, you know, include engineering reports, even without needing to go into full detail about all those viability issues, just having a succinct and clear idea makes you go ahh that person knows what they’re doing and they know what they’re talking about. And I feel, I feel a lot of trust from the beginning that even though I know some other things are going to come up that they’re going to be thinking about it.

Fiona Hillary 38:42
And it’s a really good exercise as an artist to be able to be that clear, because actually, it might change the way you create the work. And you did touch on an issue that’s very dear to my heart Arie which is occupational health and safety. If you’re proposing something that could damage a structure or a member of the general public, it’s not going to fly, you really need to be thinking through rain, hail, snow, high winds. I have a strung neon text piece in Noble Park. And I think a month after we installed it, we had those freak 120 kilometer winds. And I think that day I was just on high alert thinking what happened we, we couldn’t have predicted this was going to happen. Fortunately, engineers are really great at their job and often will over engineer works precisely to make sure that they’re safe. And so we were I was fortunate to be working with a great engineer, but I was still really nervous. That was that was heart racing moments of practice. So making sure that your materials robust if you’re using materials, making sure if you’re physically placing itself in a space that you’re not putting yourself at risk or in danger. I know it’s a boring part of practice, but it’s a part of practice, it’s really important.

Arie Rain Glorie 40:17
Or the effects it can have on creativity are really profound. Because it’s, you know, it’s not it’s not just safety as well, like the amount of times that I have, at Testing Grounds, we have a, you know, a lot of outdoor hanging space, a lot of people want to hang fabric works. And it’s, you know, it’s not that that’s necessarily dangerous, but it just gets tangled within two seconds. You know, these considering wind and stuff is also just means the works not good, because it’s not behaving, you haven’t, you know, you’ve got to consider how it’s going to behave in every single different type of weather condition. And a lot of the time, you know, and I’ve done this as well, definitely, because we’re time poor and you know, a lot of the time, it’s not good enough to just cross your fingers and go, I just hope it’s not ever going to be windy for the five days that I’m exhibiting that thing (Laughter). It’s pretty tempting. And I think it’s like this safety as well, Cultural safety as well. And kind of knowing which can be much harder to measure, but with good research, you know, and risk assessment toys always, and not about not doing it, it’s just, it’s about fully understanding the risk that you’re about to embark on. I think particularly around cultural safety and public safety.

Fiona Hillary 41:40
But also thinking through cultural safety. Again, if you are fortunate to be in a situation where you you’ve got a budget, you should think about the cultural organizations that can provide advice to you. It might be the Wurundjeri Council, it might be the Islamic Council of Australia, it might be it might be a local government authority, but you should always make sure you have access to the authorities that can advise on your work. And so that you’re being considerate of all the possibilities.

Arie Rain Glorie 42:17
Yeah, and it’s, you know, it’s something to learn as well, but it’s, you know, it’s, it can be really hard as well, but try not to be scared about asking, like, it is okay to ask, people that actually really nice. I always say you know, a few you know, because not everyone, you know, if you are a bit of a social butterfly, that’s not the right word, if you’d be introverted, or if you do have difficulty. Just always be really nice. Send lots of emails, send 20, you’ll get one reply back, you know, often about a numbers game as well, if you’re, if you’re blindly contacting people, it is a bit of a numbers game, often you’re not going to get a very good result, if you only email one person and then get fed up that you didn’t get a response, like, try many people. And there’s always someone in the community that wants to open the door for you. But it does take a little bit of time to find those people. I was thinking on this kind of you mentioned Unconformity before and I can’t get it out of my brain because it’s such an amazing festival. In a really spectacular part of the world. I had no idea that Australia can even look like that. But Travis who runs that festival is a really good example of kind of understanding the way that public art or festival art can impact a place. And he’s he was born in the town that he makes that festival in. So that kind of like investment in research and deep time with the community is what makes that festival I think it really flows through the festival as well. So, you know, of course, we’ve talked about in public art not doing plonk art, Yeah, in that, that kind of investment.

Fiona Hillary 44:05
So I think one of the interesting things, thinking about going ahead Arie what would be on your wish list as we come out of isolation and back into a public realm that’s now controlled in with a whole heightened sense of security and distancing. What will be in your wish list?

Arie Rain Glorie 44:27
Yeah, I mean, it’s such an interesting question, you know, I think a lot of us have felt you know, in most ways, I just want things to go back to normal but there were definitely some things where, you know, I think a lot of us were feeling a bit stressed and because it was just this like rate of, you know, just living such fast paced lives and, and we are in a lot of other ways as well definitely other things are sped up while some things have slowed down, but it would be to go you know, back into public With a renewed sense of possibilities about what could happen, and I think an appreciation for the aesthetic of infrastructure, which we’re seeing, even with tape like all these things, I, I kind of like it personally as seeing it all out there. I mean, I’m preaching kind of the catch cry of Testing Grounds here, but you know, make infrastructure, not architecture, and make cities that are changeable, and multi versatile. And you can use multiple things from all in multiple ways, and just very adaptable. Yeah, how about you?

Fiona Hillary 45:37
I think, I think coming back into the public realm, I would like art to be art. I think we just what we’ve seen with the disconnect, and closures and the shutdown of the art sector, is its impact on the work on culture, not just on. I mean, obviously, there is artworks and the art sector is in a really terrible position at the moment. But it’s, it’s, it’s tight. Like, if we come back into this realm, art is critical, moving forward for what is going to happen through the culture of our city and our public spaces. So I think I’d really like for art being allowed just to be art. Let’s just start there. Let’s go back in and, and one of my favorite. Whenever I speak publicly, I always think about Donna Haraway is words of leaving marks of care for the future, and staying with the traveler. And I think that’s really, really, that’s what I carry with me as an artist is that I just want to make marks of care for the future.

Arie Rain Glorie 46:52
Yeah, yeah, I think there’s I mean, there’s a lot of programs being rewritten right now, there’s a lot of policies being written right now from, from government, to organizations, you know, to kind of community groups and things like that, and to be really mindful of what is being written right now, is not necessarily easy to un write. So, you know, there’s great people like NAVA out there and other, other organizations that advocacy is so important right now. And I 100% in agree, I’d love for art just to be art, I think that it’s like maybe a bit of a trade off. Like our state government, you know, Creative Victoria is doing pretty, I think pretty well at stepping in and giving money and things like that. And, but there is absolutely an agenda there. For art to not just be art, it needs to answer a lot of other criteria of being the creative industries and, and collaboration between. Yeah, so it’s just that I mean, there’s no answer there. But it’s it’s just trying to be aware of stakeholders, we talked about that, yesterday. Trying to be aware of when you’re making work or trying to grab an opportunity, or put yourself out there of how many stakeholders you have, every single time you do something as an artist. And that can be, you know, working at Testing Grounds as an example, I’ve got stakeholders, which is the company I work for the community of artists that I look after the state government that funds the place, our precinct partner, neighbors, the neighbors who actually just residential, the coffee shop next door, the people the 1000s of people that drive past the side each day, like, it’s really good to just really try and cast your net really wide and understand what’s going on.

Fiona Hillary 48:47
Absolutely the context of how you prep we’re practicing and how you’re practicing is really important.

Arie Rain Glorie 48:53
And those stakeholders as well, it’s not something to be nervous on. It’s also the to be aware of what opportunities are there going Ah,

Fiona Hillary 49:02
And sometimes your biggest… The person who’s giving you the most grief by the end of the project might actually be your closest ally. So don’t dismiss people who are critical, bring them closer, draw them closer understand why they’re being critical. Try and work with them. And you might walk away with a new friend, and you advocate. I think being open. Um, should we be thinking about inviting people that are in the audience to contribute to our wish list?

Kiera Brew Kurec 49:42
Yeah. Thank you both Fiona and Arie, that was really great. And I got a lot from that as well. And I really love the idea of programming for construction workers. Amazing! We do have a few questions so I might hand it over to Nick.

Nick Breedon 50:03
So we had a question from Elly Louise Tyquin, which is what are some of the tips for emerging artists in producing work outside of the gallery? And I had a little bit of a question on that one too, which was, from, you know, my own personal standpoint, when I, you know, left university, I went to VCA did a fine arts degree, it, it seemed really opaque to me about how to kind of break out of that gallery context and into, you were talking about like, creating art in a festival context or in public realm. Like, how do you actually sort of manifest those networks that you were talking about Arie early on from, from scratch, like, literally, you know, you’ve never even you have no idea how to kind of like brake in to public realm or making art outside of the gallery. How would you actually begin?

Arie Rain Glorie 51:06
Yeah, that’s really interesting. I actually moved to Melbourne a bit over 10 years ago now, but had no idea. I remember, I kind of came to Melbourne to pursue art, but I remember ringing my mom and being like, so do you just even with galleries Like, do I just walk into a gallery and show them drawings or something? (Laughter). University, of course, opens up some of these channels for you and finding your cohort of people. But for me, I think one way that I did it was, I put on my own festival, called Love City. And I did that for three years. And I really acknowledged the amazing work that my community did around me because it was unfunded. But we did it as a community, I think it’s about offering people something and going, like, do you want to participate in this? and making sure that if they’re saying yes, and they’re volunteering their time, or that what they’re getting out of it is 100 fold of what you’re asking for them like that exchange, I think is so incredibly important that they are always getting a bigger experience and learning more out of it than you have puts you in a bit of a position of being an enabler. You know, which you can make an entire career out of. Yeah, it’s, I mean, yeah, it’s just it’s a tricky, yeah, you just get but also just, I don’t know, go, as we all say, network, go to as many openings as you can, and never be afraid to share your ideas. Because generally people go, Oh, that sounds fun, I want to do that.

Nick Breedon 52:39
So when you were when you were starting Love City Arie, how did you first approach, How you were actually going to do it? Did you speak to council first, or were you approaching spaces? Like, where? How did you find a space? And like, how did you kind of like manifest that? You know, the chaotic world of trying to get permits and sort of like permission, I suppose. Which can be so tricky, and trying to make work outside of a gallery system.

Arie Rain Glorie 53:10
Yeah, I didn’t (Laughter) Now I think about it and I’m like *shudders.

Fiona Hillary 53:18
Sometimes, that’s the biggest successes are just putting your toe in the water and putting something out there.

Kiera Brew Kurec 53:23
Yeah. What’s at saying, its better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission?

Arie Rain Glorie 53:34
The other great one that’s under promise and over deliver.

Kiera Brew Kurec 53:38
I think adding on what he said, Arie Like, that’s really cool that you were able to do that. But I think some people also might not have those resources already, or the confidence to go out and do something. And what I found really beneficial was the City of Melbourne Test Sites program, which because I have always kind of worked within a gallery context. And that was really incredible for me to literally walk in and get like a tool pack of how to work outside of the gallery. What are things that I had never considered before kind of walked through step by step. And so I would recommend looking I don’t know if that program still exists, but within kind of local council to see if they do have any kind of educational programs available. And additionally, any spaces that do kind of do like Testing Grounds or Gertrude Street Projection Festival that do work with non traditional gallery settings, to just kind of keep an eye on seeing what kind of educational things that they have going on any public programming. I know ACCA is doing a huge like public art kind of session at the moment and going to things like that and kind of showing your face and networking that way. Even if it is just being an audience member for a while, is a great way to start to learn about the different issues that arise from working outside the gallery.

Nick Breedon 55:11
I think Arie you once told me, which I thought was pretty groundbreaking at the time is just actually producers for festivals are actually looking for work all the time. And that if you have something that you’re working on is actually just to email, find out, find out who it is and literally email them whether it’s, you know, Dark MoFo or, you know, Vivid or whatever it is like some of those festivals have a formal E.O.I process, but oftentimes they don’t. And it is still, you know, the producer, it’s their job to hear from artists when they have something to share. So it’s sometimes it’s not even as difficult as you know, sucking it up and going to going up to someone that you’ve never talked to before, but actually sending them an email. And I guess that kind of ties in with what Fiona was saying about having a really great website, because you can just shoot them an email and be like, this is currently what I’m working on. This is the stuff that I have had before.

Kiera Brew Kurec 56:10
I would like to ask then, like if you have never made public work, and you really want to get your like, I know that this is what we are discussing, but like that first step into then making a public work. And then when you don’t have any documentation, how can you pitch to people what your idea is, when you have been working on what could be a very small scale and you want to amp it up? Does anyone have anything, for that?

Fiona Hillary 56:39
I would say find a test audience. Pretty cool friends who can critique what you’re working on asking questions about it? Is it clear? As you mentioned, projects, like Test Sites are fantastic for emerging artists who are wanting or even established artists who are working on a new idea and want to go out and see how it translates into the public realm. Finding those kind of connections. And most local government organizations, certainly in Victoria, and probably throughout Australia have commissioning processes. Sometimes they’re for artists that have been practicing for a long time, sometimes they’re for emerging artists. So keeping your ears to the ground about what’s coming next and and where it’s coming from. We also have a Masters of Art in Public Space at RMIT were the only program in the in the southern hemisphere. And, conveniently, applications have just opened for semester 2. And within that, one of the biggest things for me being a graduate of that program is my alumni group, the people that I came through that program with are still the people that I speak with, talk to go to if I’ve got working through ideas. Cerri Han is one of my colleagues, Linda Roberts is another colleague, we all went through this program, Rowena Martinich, there’s a whole cohort of us that stay connected the people I went through with are really invaluable to both my working life and my artistic practice. So it really is a case of building those networks around you. And Testing Grounds is such a great site for that to occur sitting around the jaffel symposiums sitting around the fire over a toasted sandwich meeting people that maybe you’ve never met before.

Arie Rain Glorie 58:58
I want to give a shout out to Fringe open access festivals. Like that’s where I’ve learned pretty, you know, I did I did an undergrad degree in fine art but in terms of making work outside, I did fringe three or four times. Open access festivals are so friendly. That’s precisely what they’re there for. They have resources, they hook you up, they can literally step you through how to do it, and you have that support network. For me as well looking at the you know, and Fringe is more of a performing arts festival, but actually looking to the performing arts for me and going How do you do? How do you know, because I didn’t even know what a producer was. But I had some friends that in the performing arts that I like I know what a producer is, you know, sometimes it’s also about looking at other art forms, I think and going what could what ideas can I borrow from them to navigate these systems as well. And all performing arts festivals will always be looking for visual artworks for their festival. Hot tip there. They need they need an installation or something. So that’s also a great way to Yeah, yeah.

Fiona Hillary 1:00:16
Next Wave is great festival as well, that that takes artists ideas to the next level.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:00:21
Yeah. And really teaches that relationship between producer and artist as well.

Nick Breedon 1:00:27
I think, you know, there’s so much emphasis on self sufficiency, you know, kind of typical University, you know, Bachelor of Fine Arts experience in Melbourne at least, that it can be really radical working with a producer for the first time. So I definitely recommend I went through Next Wave. And I think, yeah, that was a really critical experience for me to have to have that, you know, relationship and learn how to work with a producer and like, Oh, I don’t, I don’t have to manage this stuff. I have somebody who’s here to help me do that. Who’s better at it than I am? was really very groundbreaking for me. So. Yeah.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:01:12
Do we have any other questions from anyone in the audience?

Nick Breedon 1:01:20
I just wanted to ask Fiona, when you were talking about, you know, deferring to or consulting with like the Wurundjeri council or the Islamic council. I’ve never, I’ve never done that before. But I have wanted to in the past, and I was just wondering if you could kind of walk us through that process of, you know, getting consultation from like a cultural group or community group. In terms of like, yeah, getting some assistance with consultation for work?

Fiona Hillary 1:01:50
Sure. I’ve worked quite significantly with the Boon Wurrung Foundation and the Wurundjeri Council. And really, it’s a phone call, it’s a phone call or an email to ask, Who could I speak to? What’s your recommendation? And they’ll refer you out to the right, the refer you onto the right people who have the time. One of the things I think is, I think, Arie you touched on this is is to be patient, but is to be confident to in making contact. Our Indigenous population are under huge amounts of pressure, in terms of consultation, something that Amy Spears said recently in an artist talk, was It’s difficult work, but sometimes is non Indigenous people, we’ve got to do the hard work we’ve got it’s not the Indigenous communities responsibility to educate all of us. But there are structures that you can work through that will assist you in seeking the cultural support that you need. But equally, it’s about us educating ourselves and looking at resources online as well. Clare Land has a great publication that the title of which escapes me right now. But her work is amazing in terms of where to start.

Arie Rain Glorie 1:03:18
Decolonizing Solidarity

Fiona Hillary 1:03:20
Decolonizing Solidarity. Thank you Arie. So there are people out there doing that kind of work, I would also recommend reading people’s work. Amy’s Spears PhD is fantastic in terms of engaging community and how to. I think it’s it’s asking, it’s just being brave and sending an email or making a phone call, but also being courteous and understanding the pressure that community groups can be under when, when they’re your work might be might have grown out of a particular issue that’s occurring, and everyone’s being affected by it. Patience and caring and being kind is really important in this context as well. So I would I think I’ve sort of gone in a bit of a circuit there, but I think making contact with the recognized authority to start with and they will direct you to who is the best person to speak with?

Nick Breedon 1:04:21
Yeah great.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:04:22
Well we might wrap it up unless anyone else wants to quickly chuck in a question. Did either of you have anything else to add? You have already given us so much!

Fiona Hillary 1:04:32
I think I’d like to encourage our audience today to think about a wish list for how they’d like to see public space. Outside of isolation and lockdown as the lockdown starts to lift what are the things as creatives we can do to reclaim the space and to hold a space?

Arie Rain Glorie 1:04:54
Someone gave me a really good tip. I can say this question. Here are some tips for producing work outside of a gallery and a tip that a producer Josh Wright gave me, which was just a really great one is to help with not feeling overwhelmed about projects is write down everything you want to do achieve with that project, from the most important down to like, and I’d also like to, like buy that but you know, down to the little touches, and then just cross off the bottom five, because you’re not going to get to it. And it can really, you know, you can feel a sense of achievement, but it also just makes you like focus in on what’s actually important.

Nick Breedon 1:05:42
That’s a great one. I feel like I often start from the bottom and go up, unfortunately. So that’s a good tip. All right. Well, I think yeah, I think maybe we’ll leave it at that. Thank you both so much for sharing and presenting today.

Fiona Hillary 1:05:57
Thanks for having us.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:05:59
Thank you all for listening. Thanks for taking time this morning. hope you’re well. And yeah, thank you, Arie and Fiona!

Arie Rain Glorie 1:06:08

Nick Breedon 1:06:11
We respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of the land the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation and pay respect to their elders past, present and emerging and the elders of the lands that this podcast reaches you on today. We extend that respect to all First Nations people listening today and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:06:29
Follow us at @propracpodcast on Instagram or email us at If you haven’t already, please subscribe on whatever you listen to podcasts on.

Nick Breedon 1:06:39
Please stay in touch. We’d love to hear what you’re up to as well.

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Pro Prac acknowledges City of Melbourne’s generous contribution to Pro Prac Symposium through their annual arts grants program