Many have called Woolloomooloo’s historic Gunnery Building ‘home’ over the years, including squatting artists in the ’80s. Appropriately enough, it’s now (legitimately) home to several arts organisations. Artspace moved into the Gunnery way back in 1992 and quickly established it as a hotspot of Sydney’s contemporary art scene. Its annual program includes exhibitions, artist residencies, talks and symposiums, and the publication of artist monographs. The current director of Artspace is Alexie Glass-Kantor.
Pocket City Farms is a not-for-profit, turning disused spaces into sustainable farms in the middle of the city. The project started out six years ago, looking for suitable locations to grow food – focusing on underused spaces like rooftops – but to their surprise the first viable location was a former bowling green. “We didn’t think we would be lucky enough to find somewhere at ground level,” says co-founder and farm manager Michael ‘Zag’ Zagoridis, 34, who tells us the main challenges of transforming the old Camperdown Bowling Green into a working vegetable farm included removing compacted grass and making sure the soil was tested for chemicals and heavy metals usually found on greens. “We’ve done various soil tests and found that the soil is really clean – cleaner than our backyard,” says co-founder and general manager Emma Bowen, 33, also Zag’s partner. “Weeds are little miracle workers.” To combat the lack of nutrition in the soil, the team (which includes Karen Erdos, Adrian Baiada and Luke Heard) built a temporary compost bay, which they used to make green manure that helps to put nutrients back in the ground. Once the site is more established, it’ll operate on a closed loop system with a greenhouse that turns over five cubic metres of compost per week. Food scraps come from the restaurant on site, Acre, plus leftovers can be brought in by locals through a community-composting program. They’ve got chooks on site too, which is fun for kids and handy for composting.
The Roslyn Packer Theatre (formerly Sydney Theatre) is a state-of-the-art home for the best Australian and international performing arts. The space comprises an impressive 896-seat auditorium that houses the larger scale works presented by the Sydney Theatre Company, as well as regular seasons by the Sydney Dance Company, the Sydney Writers' Festival, Sydney Festival and the best in national and international touring works. It's the largest theatre in the Walsh Bay precinct and also houses the intimate Richard Wherrett Studio for small scale performances as well as the Hickson Road Bistro for pre-show dining. Gleebooks run the theatre bookshop prior to each performance.
Artist Bhenji Ra, photographer William Yang and comedian Steven Oliver will be speaking at this year’s Queer Thinking – a mini talks festival as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival taking place at Carriageworks. Focusing on social justice, the nine engaging sessions in Queer Thinking will cover issues that reach beyond the LGBTQIA community, from class and poverty to Sydney’s nightlife and racism. On Saturday February 23, you can hear from non-binary speakers Kaya Wilson, Riley J. Dennis, Māra Māyā Devi and Nevo Zisin in a talk called What It Means to Be Non-Binary. Later on the day, panelists Hannah-Joy Gillard, Nayuka Gorrie and Oscar Monaghan will tackle Queers vs Capitalism: Reform or Revolution?. Saturday is themed ‘young and fearless’ and you can buy an all-day pass for $45, or buy tickets for the individual talks, which all run for around an hour, ticketed at $15. At the end of day one, My Trans Story – the Next Generation, sees 14-year-old Evie Macdonald speak about facing off with the PM on The Project alongside young trans and gender diverse people stepping into the spotlight for the first time. On Sunday, settle in for four talks curated by Queer Thinking curator Maeve Marsden. There’s the Medical Pink Dollar at noon, which will look at the prohibitive costs of medical care for the community, from transition to forced surgeries and expensive IVF. In Death of the Gay Bar, Bhenji Ra, William Yang, Joy Ng, Jonny Seymour and Penny Clifford will
After the anguish of high school, the self-discovery of university and the demands of working life, most adults have encountered battles with vulnerability and authenticity. In this honest discussion, TV personality and author Osher Günsberg will confront his struggles with anxiety and addiction while maintaining his public persona. Günsberg is best known as the presenter for reality shows The Bachelor and Australian Idol, but many fans might not be aware of the star’s traumatic mental health issues. Joining the School of Life, he will share his experiences in the spotlight which overshadowed his declining well being, and the process of openly accepting both aspects of his personality. The talk will include a Q&A session and a book signing of Günsberg's revealing memoir, Back, After the Break.