Update: The Grand Section's National Exhibition, 'Girthy; with Slim Edges'
That's right... we are 'On Tour'; our mighty steed, the beaten up Kelly family subaru with 360,000kms is riding low but getting us around the country.... groupie applications open.
We've Just finished delivering Australia's innards to our fifth stop on the exhibition tour, Perth, and are already a third of the way through roving around the country. We have been overwhelmed with the response and interest from the public of Australia! We have had people spend hours in the tent learning about the country, kids run through, around & up and down and have had many people thank us for sharing our learning about the country with them, after realising there is a great deal unknown once we step outside of the edge of Australia. Some people are confused, some are amazed, most LOVE the tent, some are overwhelmed and others want to intern or sign up for the next journey!
Stop 01: Newcastle
Three Locations (01st - 3rd June) - Stuart Pinkerton's workshop, The Olive Tree Markets & Newcastle Farmers Market
Launching out of a makers workshop on Friday June 01, the horrific weather continued over the Saturday and Sunday whilst we were at The Olive Tree & Newcastle Farmers Market. The tent ripped at the first public showing at The Olive Tree Markets, where despite our nerves and the weather, visitors were lured into the salvaged tent art gallery and kept streaming in.... (IT WORKS!!) Saturday's fear swayed us to 'pop up' in the sheds alongside stallholders at the Newcastle Farmers Markets on the Sunday where we had a great deal of interest and engagement - mostly from our uni pals!
* LEARNT - 1. 25km/h wind gusts don't mix well with an unprofessionally sewn franken-tent 2. Turn content to face passerby's so they can see the entire show (otherwise they think you're selling something & suspiciously walk by)
Stop 02: Sydney
Four Locations (7th-12th June) - University of Technology Sydney (UTS), The Goods Line, The Blacktown Markets, a roof top talk at Neeson Murcutt & a podcast recording with The NSW Architects Registration Board (click on image of the purple booth above to listen)
Bad weather still following us....
We recruited our former uni Lecturer, John Roberts and awarded him the honorary position, Professor de la Grand Section. He joined us for a student workshop at UTS where no students showed up... but still he hung around all day and night, packing down and up, all whilst reassuring us it was still good stuff (thanks JR!). Setting up on The Goods Line on Friday, lots of people were far too busy zipping from Central Station to work and back to stop. Though, we did notice a few stale faces were lit up briefly cracking a grin at the ridiculousness of a big-arse tent in the city. Those that did stop were pumped, including an engineer who couldn't believe the work we had done and was all set to start riding the next section. Black town markets saw us fit into an incredibly varied crowd with kids who were meant to be running their family stalls too distracted by our exhibition & comparing our drawings with theirs... we saw some serious drawings of Lamborghini's. A rooftop talk at Neeson Murcutt was accompanied by the brilliant Ben Peake about his work with The Sirius building and Rick Leplastrier and Karen Lambert starting vital discussions concerning water. Thanks all!
We've had the fantastic product company Cemintel jump on board as our major sponsor to get us around the country. Kim the National Marketing Manager actually turned up to our Neeson Murcutt talk and had this to say;
Companies, like Cemintel and other building product businesses, have an obligation to support grass root architects and initiatives such as the Grand Section. Bobbie and Owen’s first-hand and raw account of how diverse our country is, is a refreshing view of how much we are connected to the land and its people, and that design is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. They have also reminded us that there is much to learn from our ancestors regarding design and building. Young professionals like Bobbie and Owen will be responsible to help take us into the next design generation.... We will rely on them to produce well considered, well designed buildings to work within the landscape, and it is terrific to see them seek a deep understanding of what has been, to be able to draw out what could be. From a supplier perspective, they will ultimately ensure our products are relevant so that design evolves. Thank you both for sharing your amazing insight - the future is looking bright.
The NSW Architects Registration also did a little segment on The Grand Section whilst we were kicking around. We can certainly say we're not made for radio, the presenter Di Snape did a brilliant job dicing & slicing our recording, where OK looked quite comfortable in the sea of purple in the purple podcast room.
* LEARNT - 1. Don't rely on a word of mouth booking system for a workshop 2. If you're on a major thoroughfare in the city with a time intensive exhibition 'busyness' is rife & people mostly don't have enough time to stop 3. Practise before radio interviews
Stop 03: Melbourne
Two Locations (15th - 17th June) - Dimase Architects and The Queen Victoria Markets (QVM)
Bad weather still following us... Over that weekend a 39 year recorded was broken for the highest daily rainfall received (our pleasure Melbs)
Antony of Dimase Architects met us back in March at the Deerubbin conference in Sydney and invited us to exhibit in his window display, so launching that and bringing bits from the tent to join it we had a quaint little gathering of a great deal of lycra & black... but mostly black (standard architect's dress regulations) where we awarded Antony some maintenance merch. The QVM hosted us over the Saturday and Sunday (thankfully we were in the shed), where we were located in the General Merchandise section... much to our amusement many people came up feeling the quality of the tent thinking we were in the line of selling tents. Despite this confusion, we had a great show of interest & some faceless names from social media came along to meet us in person which was brilliant. Staying with Bobbie's amazing family Micheal & Deb, they spread the word amongst their mates to come along, thanks you two!
* LEARNT: 1. Exhibit under a shed if there is a serious rain forecast 2. Don't be located amongst general merchandise stalls (people get too confused) 3. Get a sign that explicitly states this is an Australian architecture exhibition not just 'Girthy' (again, people are confused)
Stop 04: Adelaide
Four Locations (30th June - 2nd July) - Greenlight Organic Market Willunga, Willunga Environment Centre, Adelaide Showground Farmers Market, University of Adelaide (UofA) central Hub
Willunga, probably the best audience we've had - full of people concerned and thinking about the environment, land and water; we had a great amount of genuine engagement. The incredible Bruce & Kristin Munday hosted us and told all of their mates to check out the exhibition (thankfully). Bruce hung around all of Saturday with us at the market, calling over friends and slowly going through all of the content, with spurts of encouragement in between. Sunday at the Adelaide Farmers market was brilliant where many people stumbled across it & even intentionally came! One Architecture student spend hours in the tent while his girlfriend came & left several times, so, we offered him a camp stool for comfort. UofA was fantastic to us, thanks to Phil Harris of Adelaide Troppo - although out of semester time, their hub central was bustling! A few walked past confused, though we still had a fair amount that came in, and much to our surprise show up for our talk that evening! A shout out to Joe Russell-Clarke for telling all of her mates to come by too, and coming back for a third helping!
* LEARNT: 1. Have friends come along and hang out all day telling their friends to come & have a look 2. Set up your exhibition next to a busy food stall so when people wait for their orders you conveniently catch their interest
Stop 05: Perth
Three Locations (13th - 15th July) - Mosman Park Men's Shed, Subi Markets & Grower's Green Farmers Market
We joined forces with UWA Architecture Faculty, Mt. Eyk (Architecture firm) and Mosman Park Men's Shed to throw an exhibition launch and talk night Friday 13th July. It's a funny how the connection came about... Brett (Mayor of Mosman Park & Men's Shed member) is the father of Dave from Wooleen Station, Stop #18 on The Grand Section Journey and was quick to help us out with the shed. Thankfully, two fantastic local Perth practitioners; Kate Hislop (UWA Dean of Architecture) and Paul Verity (Senior Landscape Architect & Urban Designer with Syrinx Environmental) agreed to to join us for the evening and talk about their work and discuss what we think is a much neglected topic, "How do you design for Australia" . It was a great evening from the feedback we've received with a lot of excitement around the joining of Architecture, Landscape and a public audience! All profits from the night went straight back to the Men's Shed, a whopping $208!! Saturday at the Subi Markets saw us undercover (thankfully - the weather still seems to be following us) with a great deal of people taken by the tent and coming in to learn more. A WA Museum Team Leader called past with what we think is a compliment... "It's a shame you're not from WA, i'd put you in my new museum". Sunday at The Growers Green Farmers Market again was thankfully undercover and by far has the biggest amount of children run through, in and around. Most were more interested by the tent, some loved the bits of things to touch, shake and pull, but most importantly they pulled their parents through which then by default had them looking deeply into each box. A couple (The Costers) whom we met cycling The Great Central road in October last year called past to say hello, they've been following us ever since sending remarks of encouragement!
*LEARNT - 1. Get some amazing & talented locals a part of your event 2. Social media is powerful 3. The Men's Shed is an invaluable facility to the community & an underutilised resource 4. Have a fully stocked table of good food 5. Ensure light beer for oldies 5. BE UNDERCOVER! 6. If designing something interactive for children, don't use paper (it's not durable enough...)
Enroute Stop 06: Meekatharra - Wooleen Station
We couldn't help ourselves but to call back in and say hello to Dave & Frances from Wooleen Station (Stop #18 on The Grand Section) on our way to Meekatharra. We took over the billiard table to show part of the exhibition and jumped on the sunset tour to learn about what they've been up to since we saw them last. Dave is always up for a chat about grass and ideas around landscape which is great by us, we even accompanied Dave to collect native grass seeds to spread in the nursery. It was fantastic to see our documentation of the station's buildings in use. 400 copies are now a part of what's on offer for visitors!!!
Get out there if you have not done so already!
Stop 06: Meekatharra
Three Locations (20th - 23rd July) - Open Air Cinema, Next to The Food Trucks & Meeka Primary
We arrived last night and are ready to hit the town with the Girthy tent! That's right, for old times sake we are hitting the same three locations as on The Grand Section exhibition. Friday night we are taking over the dis-used Open Air Cinema again and having our Meeka exhibition launch amongst the great locals we met. Teaming up with Meeka primary to showcase the work to the kids on Monday 23rd July, will be our first school exhibition showing.... stay tuned!
Following Meekatharra we will be heading Northwards! Next stop Darwin, the furthest north yet.
Cheers, Chatty & Croaky (formerly Dusty & Thirsty)