Launch review: Who is Creative Sydney for?

We know now, after going to the launch, that we have at least two readers. (Hello to both.)

Now, about the writers.. One of us has been to visit Creative Sydney last year, the other hasn’t. We both are learning about Community Cultural Development (CCD), which means that a lot of the people presenting at Creative Sydney feel a bit above our pay bracket. CCD is about developing community by using arts/culture.

Oh – and one of us is a little more positive than the other. Which means these reviews will read a little bit like ‘good cop/ bad cop’. Enjoy the ride.

Is there anyone reading this blog who doesn’t already know what Creative Sydney is? It’s like an open conference for creative people in Sydney, hosted in the function room of the MCA.

Which leads to the first issue of the night – WHO IS CREATIVE SYDNEY FOR???

We should note here that the launch for Creative Sydney is by invitation only. OOH-wee! Luckily we know someone who passed on the invite. She said she was told to pass it on to her own networks of “creatively inclined people”. Which bring us to the next question: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE CREATIVE?

Although the whole festival is public, this launch seems to be geared towards the CREATIVE INDUSTRIES. This is an obvious enough connection, but let me break it down for you. This is about making creativity work FOR MONEY. The website itself states: “Creative Sydney invites you to join outstanding entrepreneurs, creative practitioners and community campaigners to make Sydney a better place for creativity and commerce.”

That’s right. COMMERCE.

In the next breath you are invited to “help shape the future of our city’s creative culture.”

This has already set the scene. It is saying our city’s creative culture is defined by ITS COMMERCIAL creativity. Then you look at the partners who sponsor the event -mostly government and commercial organisations. Creativity is sponsored by government when it is commercially appealing.

Now don’t get me wrong.

Events like this define Australia internationally, it is increasingly one of our more innovative industries, it contributes significantly to Australia’s economy, etc etc.

It should be called, How To Be Creative WHEN YOU HAVE MONEY. I need to go to an event called How to be Creative When You Have NO Money. Am I judging this event too harshly for being what it is? You bet I am.

I think it was Zacha who told me not to judge it for what it didn’t want to be, but to judge it by what it wants to be – creative. How creative is it actually? As a launch, there were some things that I thought were creative, things a bit different to your average launch. There were interactive booths where people could get their picture taken. You can be as expressive as you like. If I think about things too much, I tend to get a little shy. Shy is boring. Away with shy!

So I proceeded to be as much of an ass as possible without getting kicked out. I made the goofiest faces for both the 3D photos and the twitter-stickering photos. I lunged into people’s paths to ‘interact’ and ‘engage’, and come up with something interesting for this blog. The photographic opportunities were joyous delights and I wished that there were more things like it. The ‘networking’ was harder. Gee- some people really bring the ‘work’ vibe into it.

Fantine (centre)

I blame the awesome people we met at the beginning of the night for setting me up with high expectations. Good luck to the lovely Fantine, who amazed the crowd with her beautiful voice and still had the energy to talk to us. And thanks also to Hayley and Lisa from New Planes, Hayley for just being lovely and enthusiastic, Lisa for doing her easiest sales pitch and getting me to buy some zines. I’m starting to get quite a collection. The girls with the stickers on their hat and shoes – I’m hopeless with names, but you were groovy cats. Hope your night went well and no-one pestered you for legal or medical advice..

Lisa and Hayley

I should come again to that question of “Was it creative?”

Being creative should not just be defined by how you dress, how you talk to people, what kind of food you eat. It is mostly defined by work (and I don’t just mean the paid kind).

Starting from today (Saturday) there will be panels with people from all fields of creative industries, with a couple of non-commercial enterprises too. This is what excites me. Even if it has got money silently underneath it all, it’s still part of my world, and one I need to engage in.

Maybe this is what will bring the masses to be creative?


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