Putting Culture at the Heart of Sydney's Growth

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Sydney Culture Network implements collective strategies to connect Sydney’s cultural offer, grow audience participation, and encourage greater engagement across the cultural life of the city.

The Network creates opportunities for joint efforts in research, programming and marketing: drawing on technological, cultural, academic and business networks to better position Sydney’s cultural life in a global context.


We’re exploring our relationships to make the invisible more tangible, and to strengthen the dynamic connections that draw our cultural organisations together.
— Alexie Glass-Kantor, Executive Director, Artspace

Who we are

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Sydney Culture Network is a core group of cultural institutions and creative sector organisations working together to make Sydney a global leader in valuing culture.

Meet our members here.


This is so unique, perhaps the first time in the world — that such a group of arts organisations, cultural institutions and academics are coming to work together.
— Mark Davy, FutureCity Founder
 
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Our members:

  • are joint custodians of over 25 million collection objects

  • provide 100+ spaces for creative production across the city

  • directly employ over 2700 people in Sydney

  • engage with a large, diverse audience

  • have a combined audience attendance of 12.7m and over 195,000 school visits

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Our Mission

Sydney Culture Network creates the conditions for a new collaborative ecology. As a group, we are committed to fostering creativity and driving innovation. We want to build on Sydney’s great cultural institutions, our diversity, business and technology networks, and the state’s dynamic research, higher education and innovation sectors.

The Network includes leading arts, educational and cultural institutions, businesses and technology enterprises of all sizes. We want to play a key role in defining the value of culture, and to enhance the international profile of Sydney as a place of creativity and ideas.
 


 
We hope to create deep and productive connections with other Network members to create events and projects that would be impossible to resource otherwise. We have already had actual project outcomes, including a South East Asian cultural event and a series of relationships established that will enable us to launch our retail/gift shop arm.
— Craig Donarksi, Director, Casula, Powerhouse Arts Centre

Members of the interim Council of the Sydney Culture Network:

  • Chair: Ross Harley, Dean, UNSW Art & Design

  • Deputy Chair: Maud Page, Deputy Director and Director Collections, Art Gallery of NSW

  • Treasurer: Kim Ellis, Executive Director, Sydney's Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands

  • Lisa Cahill, Director, Australian Design Centre

  • Alexie Glass-Kantor, Executive Director, Artspace

  • Liz Hughes, Director of Partnerships & Development, Australian Film Television and Radio School

  • Jacqui Strecker, Head of Curatorial, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences

  • Sharni Jones, Manager - Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island Collection, Australian Museum

  • John Kirkman, Executive Director, Information & Cultural Exchange

  • Michael Dagostino, Director, Campbelltown Arts Centre

The Council elected as Secretary of the Council

  • Sarah Gardner, Advisor to Sydney Culture Network

Why are we working together?

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Globally, cities are harnessing the role of culture and creativity to define themselves as vibrant, tolerant and attractive places to live and work. Sydney has demonstrated its capacity for and ability to host large-scale festivals and cultural events in the city.

These have attracted huge visitor numbers and cemented the profile of the city as one associated with spectacle and wonder. Meanwhile its wealth of collections, archives, cultural institutions and arts academies are less visible on the global stage. Through the power of open, cross-sector collaboration, Sydney Culture Network can change that.


Creating a better understanding of the true depth of cultural diversity that exists across the whole of Sydney is an important outcome for Sydney Culture Network. It will allow audiences to break through known worlds to experience the real Sydney. Understanding the challenges, opportunities and potential of the Sydney arts and cultural ecosystem has revealed many possibilities for collaboration.
— Michael Dagostino, Director, Campbelltown Arts Centre

How will we do this?

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Sydney Culture Network members have developed a collaborative working methodology through monthly meetings over the last 18 months, and have agreed on a constitution and organisational form which will allow a flexible, non-hierarchical structure for a variety of projects. Working groups include Program and Audience Development, Education and Innovation, and Communications.


Sydney Culture Network is bigger than just the GLAM sector. It should also emphasise the cultural and intellectual life of Sydney.
— Richard Neville, Mitchell Librarian and Director, Education and Scholarship, State Library of NSW
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our activities to date

One of the first activities enabled by the Sydney Culture Network brought successive cohorts of Masters of Curating and Cultural Leadership students from UNSW Art and Design into a number of Network member organisations, including Casula Powerhouse, Art Gallery of NSW and Artspace, spending one semester embedded in the organisation to deliver their Capstone project. The Capstone is designed to build research, project design and management into the students’ skill base and offerings as professionals in the field, and to offer the participating organisations the resources and perspectives of a diverse range of emerging sector workers.

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we work together to:

  • Develop opportunities for joint strategic appointments and conjoint Fellows
  • Share data and events tech strategy
  • Tackle identified challenges and seize opportunities across galleries, libraries, archives and museums, and wider arts and creative sectors, with a focus on Sydney in a global context
  • Build initiatives to strategically build audiences, increase engagement and interaction and enable members to access transformative leaders and powerful transferable research and great ideas from around the globe
  • Generate innovation and breakthrough disruption
  • Act as an interdisciplinary think and action tank
  • Support expert policy development and advocacy
  • Contribute to national and global development
  • Build awareness of and engagement with grand challenges

Part of our drive to be a part of this group is the collaboration between members. The Asia Society thinks about locating itself not in one physical space, but within a network of physical spaces and in partnerships.
— Phillip Ivanov, CEO, Asia Society Australia
 

Sydney Culture Network: Constitution


Image credits

From top

Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. Photo: Anna Kucera. 

Superposition of three types, 2017, launch, Artspace, Sydney. Photo: Jessica Maurer.

Art After Hours talk with Dr Michael Brand and SANAA architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue, discussing the ideas behind the Sydney Modern Project, 2016 © Art Gallery of NSW.

In The Blood – NIDA Final Year Student Production, 2014. Photo: Mark Nolan.

Exhibition: Martin Parr – Life’s a Beach at The Bondi Pavilion 2016 © ACP. Photo: Michael Waite.

EXIT (installation view at UNSW Galleries), 2008-2015. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris © Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Mark Hansen, Laura Kurgan & Ben Rubin, in collaboration with Robert Gerard Pietrusko & Stewart Smith. Photo: silversalt.

Courtesy Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.

Up Late with the Greats, Art Gallery of NSW. Photo: Jacquie Manning.

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Penrith Regional Art Gallery; Photo silversalt. Campbelltown Arts Centre; Photo Nikki To. National Institute of Dramatic Art, Eurydike+Orpheus, 2017; Photo Lisa Tomasetti © NIDA 2017. External shot of Carriageworks; Photo: courtesy Carriageworks. UNSW Art and Design, The Galleries; Photo Britta Campion. Australian Design Centre, Chili Philly. Sydney Living Museums, Christmas Fare; Photo James Horan. Australian Museum; Photo Michael Nicholson. Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences; Photo Anna Kucera. ArtSpace, An Imprecise Science, 2015; Photo Zan Wimberley. Art Gallery of NSW, Archibald Prize 2017; Photo Felicity Jenkins. 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Jogja Calling; Photo Document Photography. The Royal Botanic Gardens Domain Trust; Photo Jaime Plaza. Museum of Contemporary Art Australia; Photo Daniel Boud. Australian National Maritime Museum, Endeavour. Mosman Art Gallery, Mr Squiggle exhibition. Other images provided courtesy of respective locations. 

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Danica Chappell, Distances #2, 2014, unique duratran, photograph, 189 x 450 cm. Installation: Australian Centre for Photography. Photo: Michael Waite.