Our purpose is to inspire new ideas in arts and media practice and support a creative and diverse arts sector. We aim to provide the Hunter region with a variety of resources to enable a participatory, innovative and sustainable artistic culture.
We have a vision of a robust and sustainable creative sector, which contributes to the economic and cultural development of the region.
To act as a resource base for creative projects in the Hunter region, inspire new ideas in arts and media practice, and support a vibrant and diverse arts sector.
Octapod’s core business activities are underpinned by our values:
· Creativity; Innovation
· Diversity; Inclusion
· Participation; Relevance
Octapod was founded as an informal collective in 1996 by 'a group of artists and students who liked the idea of a public access media space - where people could create and browse interesting and unusual, non-mainstream media' (Healy, 2005). It was formally incorporated in 1997. Founders included Damien Frost, Sean Healy, Aaron Bristow and Marcus Westbury. Initially known as The POD (and officially registered as 'The Platypus Of Deliverance Association' - which won the debate against 'the Prince of Darkness Association'), Octapod was conceived as an incubator and a common infrastructure for a variety of independent projects.
Octapod’s main project, the This Is Not Art Festival began life in 1998 as the National Young Writers Festival and the National Student Media Conference. These two events took place in the week after the Newcastle Fringe Festival. With the addition of Electrofringe in 1999, and Sound Summit in 2000, the term This Is Not Art was coined to explain the five very different but interconnected events.
Other early projects included:
Octapod operated as a volunteer run and project based organization until 2003 when it took on two part-time paid staff as the result of increased funding.
Over the past few years Octapod has focused on supporting artist development through the This Is Not Art Festival, culturehunter.org and PODspace Gallery as well as supporting cultural development through various community arts projects including Art Counts (art exhibition and workshop series for artists with a disability) and digital storytelling projects produced through our Media Space.
Our current and future plans include hosting creative industry forums, monthly short film nights, creative incubator nights, advocating for an accessible arts network for the Hunter region and working outside of Newcastle to support participation in arts and cultural activities.
As an incorporated association, Octapod is governed by a Board that is elected annually by its membership. This governance function plays a key role in supporting management practices. The Board includes members from a variety of community, educational and business backgrounds.
CURRENT OCTAPOD BOARD MEMBERS ARE:
Deputy Chairperson: Jaye Hardy
Jaye works at a not for profit women's accommodation and support service and has a Masters in Social Science. She recently moved back to Newcastle from Melbourne where she worked at RMIT University in student advocacy and as a producer on Women On The Line, a current affairs programme on 3CR community radio. She loves the fact Newcastle is neutral territory for artistic types because it makes for brilliant festivals and projects.
Treasurer: Dwuan LaTrobe
Dwuan has been an advocate of various community projects in the past and the present. He got involved with the Octapod through one of their residency programs and has been a supporter ever since. Dwuan is a freelance film professional and works through out Australia but likes to base himself in Newcastle. Dwuan has a strong affinity with gherkins and likes to review things, but refuses to call himself a critic.
Secretary: Mitch Davies
Mitch has an Honours degree in Computer Science, and has continued to update skills by completing postgraduate studies on Project Management (PMBOK), Business Intelligence, Research Methodology, Interactive Arts and TAFE courses on Film Production and Digital Storytelling.
General Member: David Horkan
David is the Convenor of the ‘Friends of the Regal’ and Treasurer and former Chairman of Newcastle City Council’s Jesmond Neighbourhood Centres.355 committee. He is currently organising a film-based series of cultural events as convenor of ‘Friends of the Regal’ in partnership with Screen Hunter Central Coast and Lake Macquarie City Council. He has been the joint organiser of numerous film-related events, panel discussion events, exhibitions, etc, on behalf of Friends of the Regal and the National Trust Heritage Festival.
General Member: Martin McKenzie
Martin is currently an Assistant Regional Manager for AusIndustry in the Federal Department of Industry & Innovation and holds a Bachelor of Arts/Visual Arts. His background includes tenures as Installation Officer of the Newcastle Contemporary Artists, Education Officer at the Newcastle Region Art Gallery and project roles in environmental/sustainability, visual arts, and capital works funding programs. Martin has been involved in many levels of creative arts in the Hunter including keeping his hand in as a exhibiting artist.
General Member: Simone Sheridan
Simone Sheridan graduated from Fine Art at the University of Newcastle only a few years ago, but has been instrumental in organising a number of effective artistic interventions in Newcastle. Simone is a committed member of the Newcastle community whom has established herself as an independent community arts organiser, creating a professional bridge between business' and the creative industry, offering a unique service to assist on brokering a variety of creative projects.
The Octapod board is interested in what members would like Octapod to do in the future and what members love about Octapod now. You can contact the board via board[at]octapod.org.
NEW BOARD MEMBERS WANTED:
Octapod is seeking new board members to assist with the growth of the organisation. If you have a passion for arts and culture in the Hunter region, then find out more about joining the Octapod board! For more information: Contact Alli Hammett, Octapod Chairperson via board[at]octapod.org
Octapod is run by a small and dedicated team of part-time staff who work with an indispensable bunch of volunteers to create and support community driven arts and media projects.
Christina Robberds (Director) is Octapod’s jill-of-all-trades – she spends her days dreaming up ideas of what Octapod could be, and enjoys getting the right systems in place, creating a welcoming environment, and listening to the heartbeat of communities in action. Christina has a background in mental health and disability, and has generally held roles that involved her organising and advocating whilst also getting her hands dirty with community cultural activities. Outside of the office she hangs out a lot with her 38 animals and likes pretending that she lives on a farm.
Sarah Thrift (This is Not Art (TiNA) Festival Director) - Working for the Bundanon Trust for many years has provided Sarah with a strong background in arts administration, across areas of public programming and marketing - making her the perfect fit as TiNA Festival Coordinator. Sarah has the task of making the many wonderful, strange and exciting elements of TiNA come together across five days, full of everything you would expect to see...and always something you didn't! That's the beauty of TiNA, giving artists the space and time to collaborate and experiment and oh so much more. Having studied creative arts at Wollongong University and working as a visual artist and graphic designer on the side, gives Sarah great insight for working with the many talented artists and performers who make TiNA what it is.
Greer Allen (Culturehunter.org Coordinator) is interested in the development of strong and robust local communities. She is currently working at the Octapod on culturehunter.org, to deliver a free online tool that delivers strength and capacity at the Hunter arts and culture scene. Greer is inspired by human curiosity and ingenuity and cannot wait to see how people might use culturehunter.org creatively to share their projects and stories. Greer splits her time between arts and environmental projects. One days she hopes to combine the two directly and create a Magnificent Revolution. She has a degree in Development Studies, a degree in Human Geography and has been working as a project manager/ environmental auditor and event organiser for a number of years.
Jo Plummer (Accounts/Admin Officer) is Octapod's numbers lady - she keeps the books tidy, and has an eye for detail so that Octapod can make the biggest bang for its buck, in its mission to support community arts and media projects. Always an active participant in community and culture building activities, when not in the Octapod office, Jo can be found in the garden picking homegrown vegies for the kitchen or playing with her kids.
Andrea Pugh (Marketing Coordinator) joins Octapod as a marketing and public relations professional with experience in not-for-profit, government and SME sectors. Andrea devises and delivers plans to promote Octapod keeping everyone abreast on all the latest happenings and help facilitate delivery of the organisation’s key programs. Andrea has a background in visual arts and holds qualifications in marketing, public relations and is currently undertaking a Master of Arts and Entertainment Management combining her passions for the arts and marketing.
In addition to these paid staff, Octapod just could not exist without the support of its volunteers.
Octapod respects your right to privacy and although not bound by, chooses to adopt the Australian National Privacy Principles when handling information about you. From time to time we conduct online surveys to assist us with planning our activities. We may ask if you want to add your email address to our blog or enewsletter database. We do not pass this information on to third parties and do not sell or rent personal information to anyone and we take steps to ensure that it is stored securely.
Octapod appreciates the support of its major supporter: