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Sweet tones and off notes. The war upon the print makers.

By uplifted - 15 May 2011 14

The ring of impropriety sounds a little too loudly in Don Aitkin’s cries to create yet another space dedicated to an elite art in Canberra (Canberra Times 12 May). Aitkin is chairman of the Cultural Facilities Corporation which manages the Canberra Theatre Centre and which I expect would manage the new ‘Playhouse at the Fitters Workshop’ following a similar model of costly and infrequent activity, with reserved seats of course for the citizens of Yarralumla.

If Aitkin is not too distracted by his ‘war on the printmakers’ perhaps he can let his attentive audience know his views as chairman of the National Capital Authority, with its interest in preserving the story and legacy of Canberra’s historic landmarks, what would it see to be the best and most viable use for the Fitters Workshop?  what also Mr Aitkin does the NCA see for the future use of the Albert Hall? maybe the lousy printers should get a run there?

Much better I think to put the weekday music performances in the Bus depot itself – so dead six days a week it is said you can hear the sharp F of a pin drop. A space suited too to rock, dance, rave and larger crowds, but maybe not quite the level of chic required by the Yarralumla set? But then Aitkin probably has another plan for the Bus depot… watch this space.

What’s Your opinion?


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14 Responses to
Sweet tones and off notes. The war upon the print makers.
knuckles 5:53 pm 21 May 11

Dymphna said :

This article is spot on – and it is not a view that the Canberra Times will publish as the editor’s are in bed with Don Aitkin. About time someone publicly pointed out Aitkin’s conflict of interest in the community.

What article and what conflict of interest?

John Moulis 5:26 pm 21 May 11

Dymphna said :

As an artist I am really looking forward to seeing the Fitters Workshop being brought back to life. It is on Printers Way! Its true, that’s the name of the street.

Presumably Printers Way was given the name because AGPS (Australian Government Publishing Service) was located there before the area was redeveloped. My main memory of AGPS is when they printed the Commonwealth Government Gazette and in mid 1985 I was hanging out to see if someone in our department had been dismissed. The Gazettes had been delayed by RSI, a rort in the 1980s where public servants who did keyboarding were given months off work on full pay.

My other memory of AGPS is when a printer under the PKIU award was seconded to our office and was being paid twice my salary despite me doing nearly all the work simply because he was in the printing union and I was in the fourth division PS union (APSA – FDO) When I complained to the director he was quickly whisked out of the department and back to AGPS.

Dymphna 11:39 am 21 May 11

This article is spot on – and it is not a view that the Canberra Times will publish as the editor’s are in bed with Don Aitkin. About time someone publicly pointed out Aitkin’s conflict of interest in the community. However, reading these comments it appears there is a general lack of knowledge here of what a print studio is. If you don’t know then you should really check out Megalo’s website http://www.megalo.org, or go and have a look at what people are doing in its current location at Watson. It is pretty exciting and busy. Megalo print studio is not elitist and you will find a broad range of people from the community working there – from Indigenous people, graffiti artists, people with disabilities, women returning to work, mothers, fathers, employed people, and all from a huge rang of ages; young and old – rich and poor! Megalo has been going for over 30 years now. I am a professional artist and I work there too and, like many artists in the community Megalo has supported the development of my art practice. It is somewhere I can go and make work for exhibition and for sale. Megalo also has a great artist in residence program that brings in international and national artists, who you get to meet, and they have a very cool gallery and the openings are fun and packed with people. As an artist I am really looking forward to seeing the Fitters Workshop being brought back to life. It is on Printers Way! Its true, that’s the name of the street.
If you want to see ten really good reasons why Megalo should be at the Fitters Workshop and you can view these at the moment on Megalo’s facebook page. Check it out!

taninaus 7:37 am 16 May 11

Question that hasn’t been answered by the musicians is – are they prepared to pay rent for any space that they may get? These spaces don’t come at no cost to the community and the Government would have to maintain them somehow. Megalo are at least used to paying rent (I presume) where they are at Watson. CMC and others try to get space at the lowest cost and don’t currently pay for more than occasional use of space – would they pay for full time occupation or expect the Government to fully subsidise their activities?

For emd – Aitkin used to head up the University of Canberra and has gone onto chair various groups around Canberra – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Aitkin

alaninoz 6:56 am 16 May 11

Don’t know who the winners will be, but it’s damn sure that the taxpayers will be the losers!

LSWCHP 10:15 pm 15 May 11

I’ve read this post several times. Having done that, it still seems like paranoid gibberish. Time to move on.

flyingfox 9:18 pm 15 May 11

It’s not just a question of who wins – the printmakers or the musicians – but also the appropriate management of the Fitters’ Workshop itself, which is a remarkable building and part of Canberra’s industrial heritage. I understand that the Megalo printmakers are intending to install a mezzanine level in the workshop, which would completely destroy the monumental nature of the space. Does anyone know if there’s been a proper heritage assessment?

knuckles 7:54 pm 15 May 11

Well,
If its a choice between music and printmakers, I know which one I’d want to be spending money on and listening to.

I-filed 7:24 pm 15 May 11

I gather from 666 discussion that the workshop has brilliant acoustics – not needed for printmaking. I’m actually with Aitken on this one, even though I don’t care for “new art music”. I find the ACT Government’s attempt to create an artificial creative precinct a bit strange – it’s driven purely by visits to the big cultural institutions. Printmakers who are happy to ply their trade while being gawked at by tourists are surely in the minority. Don’t for a moment think, printmakers, that Katy G will let you occupy valuable foreshore real estate without giving your pound of flesh. The Glassworks creative environment must be awful for glassmakers who aren’t showmen. Or who like to keep their workspace a bit messy … Frankly, if I was a printmaker I would be asking for a nice friendly cooperative space in the inner north, nearer where the writers & artists & musicians actually hang out. Trying to create while in what is actually a vacuous developers’ haunt will do nothing for your art, guys.

Deref 6:36 pm 15 May 11

Music’s elite now?

Do I detect a faint hint of boganinity?

gospeedygo 6:24 pm 15 May 11

Elite art is such a stuffy term. Artier than thou more like it.

NoAddedMSG 5:57 pm 15 May 11

I heard something a few months back about the Megalo Print Studio expanding. While the people I was talking to acknowledged that Megalo desperately needed more space, they felt that it was a pity that the space they were getting was one with particuarly brilliant acoustics which has some current purpose within the community which makes use of those acoustics.

(Disclaimer: I may be wrong.)

Mr Evil 4:45 pm 15 May 11

emd said :

Can a rational person please post some facts of this story here? It’s not on the CT website and I am not going out for the paper today. I have no idea who Aitken is, what elite art he wants a space for, or why there is a war on printers.

Basically, from what I can tell; one group of spoilt arty types wishes to get there hands on the Fitter’s Workshop, whilst another equally spoilt group of arty types wishes to get their hands on it too.

Another one of Stanhope’s ‘little’ stuff ups that no doubt will be resolved by throwing a great deal of taxpayers money at both groups.

It’d be nice if one of these arty groups would just for once arrange their own funding to acquire space to make a living out of their art, rather than expect others (i.e. taxpayers!) to cough up all the time.

emd 3:37 pm 15 May 11

Can a rational person please post some facts of this story here? It’s not on the CT website and I am not going out for the paper today. I have no idea who Aitken is, what elite art he wants a space for, or why there is a war on printers.

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