Illuminating Collie’s future

Conversations about the creative arts, tech, and entrepreneurship rippled well beyond Collie’s Central Park on Saturday, 10 November, as part of Operation Next Gen’s Arts Tech Fest to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Workshops, think tanks and live performances attracted a modest but extremely curious crowd, with some people travelling from surrounding towns and as far away as Margaret River. The biggest surprise to organisers, however, was the size of the online audience with more than 6,500 views following the first 24 hours of live streaming via social media.
‘This is amazing! Watching from Roxby Downs, South Australia,’ commented Tammi Maihstone as dark fell and Frankensound premiered a tribute to Collie’s past and future on the old Goods Shed building.’
Ian Bushell, Chair of Collie Heritage & Menshed Group Inc. echoed the audience’s appreciation of the video art projection, clarifying with a wry smile, ‘I don’t understand it, but it is interesting in the way it has been done.’
Free workshops and think tanks on music, film and art were also conducted throughout the day.
Ellen Corbin from Our Community Garden, Collie attended a Short Film Production workshop with Richard Todd in the morning and the Think Tank discussion in the afternoon. “I learnt how to promote Collie. It was fantastic. Thank you Bendigo Bank. We are going to get out in the community and share the knowledge.”
Jacqui Roberts from Margaret River attended the Art & Business workshop with Andrew Frazer. “It was a great opportunity to learn about how creative industries can be profitable and how to position yourself. Collie is doing so well offering events like this.”
At the Bendigo Bank Sound Shell, 13 year old Shae Digney and 14 year old Serra McCallum bravely participated in the Open Mic segment. “It was awesome to have people watching and all the proper sound gear. It was a great experience,” said Shae who later got some one-on-one advice from Vinnie Crea who is the coordinator of Music Artist Stream at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
Their tutor, Kate Hindle, was also on hand to participate in the Music Entrepreneurship Think Tank and later took the stage with a backing band from Perth, demonstrating that home grown talent can rock it with the best. “I don’t want to be the next Taylor Swift,” Kate commented during the Think Tank. “I want to be the very best Kate Hindle.”
Director of Perfect Pitch Publishing, Clive Hodson, explained why he has embedded his business in Western Australia and the importance of supporting and promoting new music.
Operation Next Gen Ambassador, Wil Massara, didn’t let his youth stand in the way of hosting the Film Entrepreneurship Think Tank. Responding to Wil’s strategic questions, the panel comprising of Richard Todd, Roly Skender and Dean Lomax, debated what latest trends would survive the test of time and what the future may hold for budding filmmakers.
With Central Park the main setting for the Art Tech Fest activities, the Collie Senior High School ANZAC Tour fundraisers and Leo (Lion’s) Club assisted local traders to feed patrons. Visitors were also delighted to partake in some craft beers, ciders and wine courtesy of the Thorny Devils Pop Up Bar.
At the end of a long day serving customers, Emma Spencer from Wagon 537 gave it a big thumbs up of approval. “The music was incredible, and the light show was way out of this world and very creative with this town’s history. We need more events like this.”
On behalf of the organisers, Tyron Massara, expressed his delight with the outcome. “We set out to create a new conversation for Collie and what better way than through the creative arts and technology. Thank you to the Collie & District Community Bank for their support of Operation Next Gen and this event, and to the many other people and organisations who helped make it happen. Let’s keep this conversation going!”
Recordings of the main activities can be viewed via the Future Conversations – ONG @operationnextgen Facebook page.

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