Brunswick has long been recognised as a hub for creative culture in Melbourne. And while it’s all well and good to receive this recognition, very rarely does it translate into true, concrete support for our artists and creators, emerging or established.
For most of our creatives it’s really quite simple: They need more spaces. They need more creative resources. They need more connections. They need more.
That’s why the Brunswick Design District (BDD for short), a brainchild of RMIT University, Moreland City Council and Creative Victoria, may become a significant resource in the future of Brunswick’s creative industries.
The BDD website as it currently stands defines the partnership as “A creative precinct supporting businesses, start-ups, designers, artists, makers, musicians, venues, and world-class education.”But what will the BDD actually do for our local creatives?
There are two BDD projects that jump off the page as immediately helpful, and they may be a good starting point for interested Brunswickians to check out. These are the sequel to last year’s Making Space initiative, and RMIT PlaceLab.
Making Space will build upon last year’s success, where twenty short-term residencies were afforded to creatives at Siteworks, Blak Dot Gallery and the Brunswick Town Hall with a cash stipend of $1,000 each. The new, upgraded Making Space has been awarded over $100,000 of funding through Creative Victoria’s program ‘Creative Neighbourhoods’, which will allow it to more than double the number of residencies on offer, with new venues and offering longer stays than the month-long ones provided to participants of the first Making Space. The BDD intends to get this new Making Space program up and running later this year, so keep your eyes peeled for more info.
RMIT PlaceLab will essentially be a collaborative research program (based at a yet-to be-confirmed location in Brunswick), where members of the community can provide ideas and share concerns to RMIT research teams, informing practical application of research insights into how the local urban environment can be improved through community-based projects. Though exact project themes will be developed as part of the PlaceLab engagement activity, focus areas could include job creation, student pathways, urban renewal, and sustainability. PlaceLab will help to start conversations that could positively affect Brunswick’s creative scene in years to come, and we look forward to keeping up with its progress.
Even though the BDD was officially launched over two years ago, it still has lots of room to grow. Its Working Group – made up of representatives from each of the three partners-has been working with local actors to ensure the BDD’s aims and objectives align with that of the community and forge the best path forward. From its inception, the BDD has focused on growing local relationships to support creative businesses and artists wanting affordable workspaces, to strengthen the creative connective tissue between various Brunswick players, and to make clearer, easier-to-traverse routes into formal education.
Even though it’s called a district, the BDD has no hard borders. Technology and multipresence in Brunswick will allow it to reach more people and places. An nbn upgrade with fast and reliable broadband will help connect enterprises and fasten creative processes and various central Brunswick buildings such as Siteworks at 33 Saxon Street, the Brunswick Town Hall and Library, will serve as creative hubs to connect creatives.
Also, local entrepreneurs will be able to explore, network and join new ideas at Brunswick Design and Innovation (or BRUDI) at the soon-to-be renovated complex located at 420 Victoria Street. BRUDI is a joint Ethical Property Australia and Moreland City Council initiative.
Brunswick Daily will continue to cover the BDD on its mission to support our creatives, so stay tuned for further news. You can also head to the BDD website to see more of what’s on offer and can email any queries to [email protected].