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Australian Short Story Festival Exhibition 2019

I curated an exhibition of comic art titled ‘Indie Comic Voices of Australia’ for The Australian Short Story Festival. This is the story of how it happened

The 10th September was a sunny day in Melbourne. Being a Tuesday I was on campus for a guest lecture and two tutorials in Producing and Production Management for Animation. I had received an email to meet with fellow Swinburne University academic, and collaborator in upcoming projects, Dr. Julia Prendergast.

Julia is the 2019 Festival Director of The Australian Short Story Festival #ASSF19. ASSF is a festival of spoken word performance, talks, workshops, and much more, celebrating Australian short stories. Visit the link below to find out more.

The Australian Short Story Festival

Exhibition Proposal

I caught up with Julia over a cup of coffee at Zanes next to Glenferrie train station, relaxed into a state of pliable agreeableness by a combination of the pleasant weather and caffeine. It was a perfect time for her to ask me to do extra work. And so the idea for an exhibition at The Australian Short Story Festival was launched into reality.

I approached eight comic artist/creators working in Australia to take part in a group exhibition titled Indie Comic Voices of Australia. I was lucky enough to have all the people I contacted agree to take part, and after just over a month the exhibition launched at ASSF19.

Indie Comic Voices of Australia

Problems and Solutions

The Festival was to take place at Hawthorn’s Town Hall, a beautiful old building where we most definitely could not go sticking things to the wall. The idea of hiring pin boards from Student Union at Swinburne was floated by Dr Liam Burke and worked out a nice cheap option. Problem two. We were only able to bump in an hour before the festival started. Solution. Work out display and set up the day before.

The half-baked plan to ‘save time’ on the morning of the festival was to walk the boards over to the Town Hall with the prints attached. Now, the distance is only about 100 metres and across the road. However, these boards get heavy fast. And a small breeze, when holding what is effectively a massive wind sail, becomes noticeable more powerful. Lastly, if said wind sail is covered in loosely affixed sheets of paper, a casual walk across the street quickly became a stressful ordeal.

After the first run, stopping every ten metres to pick up fallen pins and affix fluttering pages, we decided to remove the remaining pictures before transporting the boards. As a sane person would decide to do in the first place.

Exhibition works in-situ

ASSF Panel photos and drawing

As usually happens at conferences, I spent a lot of time taking notes and drawing the panelists and presenters. Here are some examples of this. Check out The Australian Short Story Festival program for more information on presenters.

The Zable Effect

I was fortunate to stumble into a discussion with Arnold Zable. I wasn’t familiar with his work before, but his natural skill at verbal storytelling had me in rapture. I really enjoyed drawing him and listening to him speak. Festival highlight.