How to create an Australasian city

Arts organisations committed to long-term cultural engagement with the Asia-Pacific have transformed Brisbane; Bjelke-Petersen would barely recognise his old fiefdom.

Yang Liping Contemporary Dance’s Under Siege at Brisbane Festival. Photo credit: Xiao Quan.

Cities, like people, tell different stories about themselves at different times of their lives. In earlier decades Brisbane’s story revolved around corruption and cultural isolation; more recently it has shifted to a different story, in which independent artists are forced to relocate to larger, southern cities in order to continue practising their craft.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts