PechaKucha Volume 57 was well attended on Tuesday night (11th June 2019) and coincided with the current ‘Architecture and Art Week’ hosted by the UQ School of Architecture. In keeping with the growing focus in recent years on the merger of art and design within the building industry, this PechaKucha explored ‘The Art of Designing Drama’.  How this new focus is blending and blurring the lines between these disciplines through theatre, production, and the creation of spaces that capture the imaginations of their audiences.


Kris Stewart, the Artistic Director of the Brisbane Powerhouse, focused his talk on the practical ways in which the arts are incorporated into the Powerhouse and what he has learned through his own directing carrier in theatre towards facilitating this.  Audience participation and activating the built environment were key features of this discussion.  Paul Adams of Small Crown Productions spoke of his growth as an artist towards a pragmatic and business minded approach in carving out his niche as a Shakespearean performer.  Both talks highlighted the need for taking an active role in business as part of an arts practice. I particularly enjoyed Kris’ discussion having followed his career and been interested in his approach to managing the Powerhouse.

Cameron Goerg discussing his role as a Technical Director.

Cameron Goerg followed up with a fast-paced romp through the trials and tribulations of the Queensland Ballet’s touring program in his role as Technical Director.  Having assisted in set design early in my own career and also having worked with the Queensland Ballet on a project, I could empathise completely with the logistics involved with this.  Creating spaces on stage that must be resizable to accommodate their extensive tours to whilst maintaining quality of the performance is a tricky but rewarding process!

Belloo Creative’s Co-Artistic Director, Caroline Dunphy, is a force to be reckoned with as an actor, director, theatre maker, and educator.  Her determination to pursue and maintain her creative career and extend this to other working mothers in her field was inspirational.  Having met Emily Devers of The Third Quarter only recently, it was a wonderful surprise to also have her talk about her role as a Gallery Director.  This new art gallery has been stirring up the Brisbane art scene recently with it’s socially focused business strategy to bring inclusivity back to the arts with a quarter of it’s premises reserved for emerging and marginalised artists free of hire cost in order to break down barriers for commercial opportunities.


There was strong juxtaposition between the talks given by Samir Hamaiel and Christopher Inwood, as both artists explored very different approaches to their work.  Samir is both an architect and artist, and this was quite evident in the formal aesthetic approach he gives to his subjects in the built environment.  Christopher, in contrast, is interested in what lies beneath the veneer of our social and political realms – exploring the notion of supernormal stimuli (an exaggerated form of a stimuli used specifically to engender increased response).  Christopher’s work will be showing at The Third Quarter from the 5th to 11th of July, if you wish to see it for yourself.


Michael Rayner discussing the new building addition planned at QPAC.

PHAB Architects have a reputation for their involvement in the arts in Brisbane and it was no surprise to see director, Brant Harris, speak of the recent project they assisted the Gallery of Modern Art to complete for the installation of the unmissable James Turrell work, Night Life 2018.  This piece literally cloaks the GoMA building with colour of an evening and it was an amusing aside into the typical ingenuity exhibited by architect’s to successfully bring a work like this to life.


Blight Rayner also came under the spotlight recently when they won the competition for the new addition to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane.  Being a fan of the new design which incorporates elements of the theatre, movement and flow in its proposed glazed façade, it was a great opportunity to hear Michael Rayner elaborate on this and the collaboration with Snøhetta to achieve the design concept.

– – –

Having worked in the arts and construction industries for just on 20 years now, it is wonderful to see Brisbane really coming into it’s own as a creative centre.  As mentioned by all the speakers – creativity, innovation and good business acumen are the keys to differentiating yourself and creating a sustainable business model.  It looks like Brisbane’s art and design scene is maturing into this.


Article by Jay Dee Dearness, our Sustainability Leader at SEED Engineers and a practicing artist.