Courthouse ARTS: The Collective

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Courthouse ARTS: The Collective

“We can’t change the past but we can certainly change the environment now to one that people will want to be involved in,” Courthouse ARTS general manger Jamie Smith says.
After joining the team about six months ago, Jamie saw the opportunity in restructuring the organisation to achieve the best in its ability. As a result big things are about to change for the youth arts centre. The venue itself isn’t changing, but the roles within it are. Partially working from a quote by Sir Ken Robinson, English author, international advisor and TED speaker, Jamie managed to create a variety of new roles to form ‘The Collective’.
“The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas, it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued,” Sir Ken says.
Following on from the successful creator program run at the Courthouse, the role will be split into six positions with a strong focus on creating unique content for the venue.
“Having a collective of young people, the creative concepts will come from them. So we’re really placing the creative power and decision making back with young people,” Jamie says.
The six roles will cover programming around the topics of theatre, dance, visual arts, new media, Indigenous culture and writing, with each role running for 12 months and as a paid internship position.
“It’s a cookie-cutter version of our current curator program internship, so it’s a $5,000 a year gig. The idea will be for each of the programmers to produce content, and that will vary,” he says.
While each of these positions is new, something Courthouse ARTS hasn’t really focused on in the past is Indigenous culture. The ‘Bright Futures’ exhibition that ran a few weeks ago is a glimpse into what the new Indigenous culture role will create.
“Geelong is a really culturally diverse city and I think we need to represent all of Geelong. I think any cultural organisation in Australia has a responsibility to embrace and celebrate our Indigenous culture and our heritage. That’s been evident to me that it’s been missing from the organisation,” Jamie says.
Several days before the announcement of these positions, Courthouse ARTS had applications open for four new full-time positions within the organisation. These included the venue coordinator, creative program coordinator, youth engagement coordinator and administration and finance coordinator. Each role plays a part in the venue’s restructure and in supporting The Collective.
“The new staffing restructure is based around creating new framework, so our young collective will be almost like our community pulse of what’s happening in Geelong and what’s happening in the town within the creative sector,” Jamie says.
“There’ll be a constant dialogue and we’ll be able to stay on trend and stay current. And I think the risk for any organisation in any industry is to stay current, and that takes a lot of time, resource, energy and focus, but we will have the creative collective and that will be a day to day focus for us.”
As these positions are open for those aged 18 to 26 years old the venue isn’t expecting applicants to have a wealth of experience. They simply want the best fit for The Collective and the venue.
“It comes down to personality, motivation, dreams, vision and the ability to do the work,” he says.
“The age range is there to mentor and to progress young creative in the arts industry, so they’re not going to have fully-fleshed CV’s, but they need to have shown an interest through their school career or their personal career that that’s what they are there for.”
For anyone wanting a career in the arts these positions are a great start, and are also a great chance of being involved in a major restructure for one of the biggest players in the arts scene for Geelong.
To apply or find out more, visit and follow the links. Applications close November 21.
By Amanda Sherring, Photo by Daniel Longo