TiNA's taking over: This is Not Art festival returns to Newcastle on October long weekend for 22nd instalment

A record number of creatives will come together in Newcastle next month to showcase their passions and art forms as part of the This is Not Art festival.

Produced by arts and cultural organisation Octapod in partnership with National Young Writers' Festival (NYWF), Crack Festival and Critical Animals, the 2019 TiNA program will see 179 events light up nine Newcastle CBD venues between October 3 and 6.

"The festival supports artists to take risks, experiment, and extend the boundaries of their art forms and practices," festival producer Christina Robberds said.

"TiNA is often the first public presentation by emerging artists and we work hard to provide a supportive environment for them to test out new ideas and new work.

"In this way the festival acts as the launching pad for artists to develop their careers."

Two hundred Newcastle creatives will be involved in the 22nd annual festival as artists and also behind the scenes as festival artistic directors.

Ms Robberds said the festival offers creatives an "incredible opportunity" to be involved with the organisation of the festival as an artistic director for one of its co-presenters - National Young Writers' Festival, Crack Festival and Critical Animals or Special Guest WE DON'T DANCE.

This year seven out of the 11 artistic directors are from Newcastle or the broader Hunter region.

"As presenting artists, Newcastle creatives have the opportunity to test out new ideas. Because there is no fee to present at TINA and events are free to attend, there is no financial imperative to present polished work," Ms Robberds said.

"TiNA is a space where artists can safely test out new ideas. This is critical to the development of a robust and diverse creative sector. As attendees, Newcastle creatives can be inspired by the people they meet and the creativity they experience.

"The festival attracts diverse artists and attendees and I'm proud that we create an inclusive space for different voices to be heard. There's such a warm and friendly community surrounding the festival - I love to see Newcastle artists mixing with artists from around Australia."

The TiNA launch will be held at Watt Space Gallery, one of the key festival venues, from 5pm on October 3.

Highlights of the 2019 festival include:

  • TiNA TAKEOVER at Newcastle Art Gallery WE DON'T DANCE, Heart Open and Crack Festival are collaborating on this evening event featuring live music, live art, radical electronic DJs and projections by local and regionally based artists from around the universe.
  • Hunter Poetry Slam Regional Final Watch 12 finalists from Hunter regional heats battle it out for a chance to compete in the NSW state final of the Australian Poetry Slam. Hosted by Jesse Oliver, Australian Poetry Slam Champion 2017, and with judges selected randomly from the audience, poets will have 2 minutes to impress with their rapid fire delivery.
  • W(h)ine with Writers A chance to meet editors and writers and chat with them about all the writer-y things. But make sure you register, as sessions are limited to three people.
  • Are you over Newcastle tonight? Presented by Crack Festival, this garden party event in a grand home in Merewether will feature live music, roving characters and a tonight show filmed live on the balcony.
  • NYWF Zine Fair One of the longest running zine fairs in the world, the NYWF Zine Fair is a festival favourite. Browse the stalls of hand made publications, badges and more at Newcastle City Library.
  • Mega Art Party It's a ball. It's an art party. It's all happening. A collaboration between National Young Writers' Festival and Crack Festival, this is the place to be on the Saturday night.

For the full TiNA program go to thisisnotart.org.

To volunteer at TiNA contact Ms Robberds: thisisnotart@octapod.org or 0415 699 227.

CREATIVE: This is Not Art festival director Christina Robberds speaking at TiNA Takeover in 2018. The 2019 program is now live at thisisnotart.org. Picture: One Stop Productions

CREATIVE: This is Not Art festival director Christina Robberds speaking at TiNA Takeover in 2018. The 2019 program is now live at thisisnotart.org. Picture: One Stop Productions

Q&A with TiNA festival producer Christina Robberds:

How long have you been involved in the festival?

This is my fourth year as TiNA producer although I have been behind the scenes since 2003, initially as a volunteer and then as Octapod director from 2006-March 2019.

Has this year's program expanded?

This year's program is pretty similar in size to last year's, being responsive to artist submissions and the budget of individual co-presenters. Generally, the program ranges between 150-200 events each year.

The arts are often a barometer for what's going on in the world and the TiNA program themes certainly reflect emerging ideas or undercurrents of what's coming next.

For example, the NYWF program this year will highlight the talents of Australia's more marginalised writers and will place emphasis on the experiences and issues faced by LGBT writers, Indigenous writers, sex worker writers and other marginalised voices in the writing community.

New initiatives this year include the launch the NYWF inaugural The Write Business program. From branding to pitching and partnerships, this panel and workshop series will equip young writers with the skills they need to start their own writing-based business.

The Critical Animals Creative research symposium will present an eclectic mix of panels, performances, installations and workshops, all designed to provoke thought, encourage collaboration and develop artistic practices.

In 2019 Crack Festival is presenting the best in emergent and divergent performance in two streams:

GENERATE presents a series of original works with the support of Create NSW, and through partnerships with Tantrum Youth Arts, Shopfront Arts Co-Op, Merrigong Theatre Company, PACT and PYT Fairfield. The program is specifically tailored to support young and emerging artists to create work within the framework and support of a key arts organisation, along with mentorship, creative development, and production support from Crack.

PROTOTYPE invites artists to create and perform work over the course of the Festival, in response to the city and surrounds. It's our most ambitious project ever, challenging our artists to reflect on the sensory offerings, flora and fauna, and fusion of urban and natural that is the Novocastrian landscape. Performances will take place at the very top and bottom of the city - a subterranean art lab and hillside mansion, guaranteeing some of the wildest nights Newcastle has to offer.

Last year we brought music back to TiNA thanks to support from the City of Newcastle through the inclusion of WE DON'T DANCE as special guest. This year they are curating the TINA TAKEOVER at Newcastle Art Gallery with an expanded program including a collaboration with locals Heart Open.

What do you, personally, love about the festival?

I love that the festival responds to an open artist call out every year. This keeps the festival fresh, tapping into emergent art forms and issues within the creative community. The festival attracts diverse artists and attendees and I'm proud that we create an inclusive space for different voices to be heard. There's such a warm and friendly community surrounding the festival - I love to see Newcastle artists mixing with artists from around Australia.

What would you say to get people interested in being part of the festival, or checking it out?

It's the four days of the year where you get to collaborate, share your ideas, passions and skills, showcase your work, and reinvigorate your practice at the nation's most inspiring party

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