Creative futures assured in trying times

Expansion of industry support confirmed for creative industries practitioners, with announcement of Powerhouse Ultimo creative industries residencies.

The Powerhouse has today announced Amanda Williams, First Nations Fashion and Design, Iordanes Spyridon Gogos and Studio KaaKi as new Creative Industries Residents for 2022.

While the real gain is subsidised workspaces for each of the creatives, the collective creative precinct at Powerhouse Ultimo is a boon for collaboration with those leading their field.

The timing this year follows the announcement of the renewal of Powerhouse Ultimo as a world-class museum and creative industries precinct. 

Powerhouse Museum Chief Executive, Lisa Havilah told ArtsHub: ‘We are thrilled to welcome Iordanes Spyridon Gogos and First Nations Fashion and Design, two innovative labels who are paving a new direction for Australian fashion today. We look forward to working alongside Studio KaaKi, an emerging practice founded by a highly experienced duo and the experimental photographer Amanda Williams, both at exciting and pivotal phases of their careers.’

Who are this year’s residents?

Founded in Cairns by Meriam Mer designer Grace Lillian Lee, First Nations Fashion and Design had their inaugural presentation at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2021, and as the saying goes, ‘the rest is history’, with the label quickly escalating to national runway success.

Its attention cements a growing rise over the past decade in the First Nations Fashion space, with this collective representing a national voice and shining in an upward trend.

The Residency will provide a space for the label to launch a national community membership program of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives; build a Knowledge Bank of best practices for working with First Nations creatives; and expand their Fashion School, a series of grassroots, on-Country skills development workshops to grow a self-sustaining fashion ecosystem.

Also drawing from the creative forces of fashion, and joining the residency program, is the label Iordanes Spyridon Gogos (ISG), founded by Jordan Gogos. After staging their first runway show at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2021, they’ve continued to grow a strong label identity around sustainability and wearable art, paired with a celebration of gender fluidity and accessibility across their design lines.

The Powerhouse explained: ‘Jordon’s practice embodies the Powerhouse Ultimo renewal with Iordane Spyridon Gogos presenting a hyper-experimental, speculative design-based approach to installations, design development, and presentations. The Residency will create space for collaborations with more than 50 other designers on runway shows, product collaborations, publications and NFTs. It will also serve as a photo studio, show room and work room.’

Shifting gears, the third residency has been awarded to architecture and Industrial Design practice Studio KaaKi, which was established in 2020 by Kristian Kaufmehl and Caroline Kite.

Their vision is centred on the belief that each project – large or small – can create positive change for people and the environment through design.

For their residency they endeavour to turn to public art and exhibition design in particular, wanting to deepen their connections with the local and international architecture community and set themselves up for future collaborations.

Completing the list is Sydney artist Amanda Williams, who works with analogue photographic techniques, she intends to engage with the residency access to the Powerhouse’s vast collection, and directly work with the camera collection and archive.

Seated within an institution that celebrates the stories of design and collection objects, the residency amplifies her practice, which has long had a focus on research and material-based experimentation – especially when it comes to interpreting and understanding built spaces and our bodily engagement with it and history. 

She was the recipient of the 2018 Murray Art Museum Albury Art Foundation National Photography Prize, and this opportunity will allow her to further expand her practice.

More about the Creative Industries Residencies

Launched in 2019, more than 20 Creative Industries Residents have been part of the program at Powerhouse Ultimo, including internationally renowned Australian fashion house Romance Was Born; independent youth broadcaster FBi Radio; multidisciplinary artist Nell; Electronic Music Conference; and The Australian Graphic Design Association.

The Creatives Residents at the Powerhouse possess a diversity of practice across a range of creative disciplines, reflecting the expansive Powerhouse Collection and program,’ added Havilah.

Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina