Eddie Berg to explore the creative citizen 

Eddie Berg, Artistic Director, National Centre for the Moving Image, British Film Institute, London, UK

Some of the world’s leading thinkers and researchers about creativity and the arts will gather in Alice Springs this month for Charles Darwin University’s first Creative Citizenship symposium.

Among them will be Britain’s Eddie Berg, whose Liverpool centre FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) is credited with widening the base of what it means to be creative in a world where new tools of expression are becoming available every year.

Mr Berg will explore the benefits of a remarkable community project called Tenantspin, which involves the elderly residents of Liverpool’s once-decaying tower blocks.

Enlisting the aid of Superflex, a group of Danish artists who use new technology, Mr Berg introduced the tenants to the delights of webcasting, setting up facilities within the tower blocks so they could create and stream their own programs.

Artists from Superflex then worked closely with the residents to manage the webcasting, which included chatrooms and information programs on social and health issues, personal works of art and various forums.

“Tenantspin is about what happens when residents, most of them in their 60s and 70s, from more than 30 tower blocks, join forces to forge a unique cultural voice,” says Mr Berg.

“It’s about how the histories and perceptions of the city of Liverpool have shaped and defined this project. It’s about what happens when its objectives are achieved, and what might happen next.”

Mr Berg has now taken up the position of artistic director at the National Centre for the Moving Image, British Film Institute, London.

Mr Berg’s keynote presentation will be followed by panel discussions led by leading Australian exponents of what have become known as the creative industries.

A key theme of the symposium will be the way local communities are being encouraged to become involved in artistic activities.

Charles Darwin University associate professor Martin Jarvis will explore the journey of the Darwin Symphony Orchestra from its origins as a small chamber orchestra to a full-sized symphony drawn mostly from community members.

He will also explain how taking the orchestra out of the confines of the concert hall and into some of the Top End’s most picturesque tourist sites such as Kakadu national park has broadened its appeal.

Creative Citizenship: Community, Creative Industries and the Future runs September 27-28 at the Araluen Centre in Alice Springs. Registration for the public is free. For more information or to register log onto www.cdu.edu.au/cdss, or email cdss@cdu.edu.au or phone 08 8946 6529.