Creativity and Flexibility:
The Nexus between Infrastructure, Space and Art

The 2009 Rex Cramphorn Lecture by Fiona Winning
2 March, 2009

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Why you should listen

Contemporary artists are committed to developing new ideas and practices and presenting their artworks to diverse audiences. Variously reflecting, contesting, interrogating and transforming social and cultural conditions – artists work in contexts of accelerated change.

And the infrastructures that support them? Infrastructures that often pre-exist and remain long after the artists and their work have disappeared. How are they adapting to the ever-changing world of new technologies, shrinking investment from public and private investors, increased competition for audience leisure time and higher expectations of participation?

Using the example of CarriageWorks, Sydney's newest contemporary arts facility and looking at Performance Space's programs presented there, this lecture discusses the often problematic relationship between the hard and soft infrastructure – of arts buildings and the artists and organisations that work in them. How does the physical space impact on the practice and on the art produced? What are the economies of scale? What environments enable artists to create their best work and audiences to actively participate?

Fiona Winning is a writer and producer, newly independent after nearly a decade at the helm of Performance Space – an international contemporary arts hub based in Sydney. Fiona has conceived and produced events in theatres, galleries and public spaces – collaborating with artists and communities. She was instrumental in negotiating the development of the new CarriageWorks contemporary arts space in Redfern.

The Rex Cramphorn Lecture

The late Nick Enright described Rex Cramphorn as "that rare and important figure, a philosopher and visionary of the arts." Rex Cramphorn was one of the leading figures in the renaissance of Australian theatre in the 1960's and '70s. His oeuvre was characterised by his commitment to the idea of artists working together, sharing and developing their skills.

Following his untimely death in 1991, the Rex Cramphorn Lecture was established to encourage honest and provocative discourse about Australian theatre and culture and to offer our theatre artists the opportunity to speak about their practice in a way that reflects Rex's own passion for ideas. The lecture alternates between Sydney and Melbourne and previous speakers have included Jim Sharman, John Romeril, Rhoda Roberts, Wesley Enoch, Lindy Davies, Nick Enright, Neil Armfield with Geoffrey Rush and Nigel Jamieson.