The Childers Group’s vision for the Kingston Arts Precinct

At the Canberra Glassworks the public can see art being made and make art themselves.

In terms of the Kingston Arts Precinct, what is most important is that all those committed to the arts and cultural life of our region – especially the ACT Government – have a grand vision, a strategic overview, a long-term plan for what’s needed to develop this area as a lively precinct for arts activity and cultural events.  It is a rare opportunity for the ACT to work with the various development authorities and stakeholders to establish an exciting set of cultural facilities and creative spaces in the vicinity of the iconic Kingston Powerhouse, now the home of the Canberra Glassworks, which is already a major national attraction.

The Childers Group’s vision is a vibrant and accessible arts precinct for the visual arts in all its diversity, including film, new media and creative industries such as architecture, graphic design and digital technologies.  In the Childers Group vision, Kingston is a place for live performance to happen but music would not be the focus.

Possibilities include best-practice adaptive reuse of heritage places for appropriate arts activities, together with high-quality purpose-built venues for use by a range of professional and community groups, for example as exhibition spaces and all kinds of events and performance.  All the key visual arts organisations – Megalo Print Studio, Canberra Contemporary Art Space, PhotoAccess, Craft ACT: Canberra Craft and Design Centre – should be assisted to relocate to Kingston.  Other organisations, such as those relating to film, as well as creative-industry businesses, would also co-locate in the precinct.  Artist studios and artist-in-residency facilities should be a key feature of the developments.  The arts component should be enhanced with appropriate commercial infrastructure, such as cafes, bars, and restaurants.

Maximising public access to arts activity should be a core driving principle at the Kingston Arts Precinct.  All those in the community should have the opportunity to see art being made, and make art themselves.


Is this the end of local arts content in The Canberra Times?

Reports are coming in that there have been significant changes to arts journalism at The Canberra Times.  Two sources are the ABC and City News Arts reporter Diana Streak has either been demoted or offered a redundancy, and literary editor Gia Metherall has been told her position is surplus to requirements.  Some questions.  What does this mean for the coverage of local arts coverage in the ACT region?  How will the region know what’s happening in their communities?  How will there be an intelligent and articulate discussion about what it means to be a creative part of Australia?  More specifically, what does it mean for book reviews?  No doubt reviews will still happen, but how will regional writers and publishers get their work into the broader public?  Will these changes result in the urbanisation of Australian literature?

The Childers Group understands that newspapers are businesses and that the print-based newspaper business model is collapsing rapidly.  However, we also believe that newspapers have a role to play in terms of making an active contribition to the local communities in which they are situated, regardless of the mechanism – print or on-line or a combination of both.  The arts and all arts communities deserve professional arts journalism.

The Childers Group is seeking your views on the best way to respond to this situtation.  Email us at  In the meantime, we’ll find out as much as we can.

UPDATE as at 16 July: We’ve been informed that a total of three positions have been axed at The Canberra Times: arts editor, literary editor, and features editor.  Apparently The Canberra Times‘ intention is to focus on digital content, but the question remains: how to provide local arts content without professional and dedicated local arts journalists?

(Image courtesy of ACT Museums and Galleries.)