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BAD is really good for Brisbane Artists

Eight creative installations and activations by local artists were showcased in unexpected neighbourhood places across Brisbane as part of the Brisbane Art Design (BAD) 2021.



Brisbane Art Design (BAD) 2021, an initiative of the Museum of Brisbane (MoB), profiles the city’s collective creativity through its places, histories and climate. 

Across four weekends throughout May 2021, BAD hosted over 160 events at more than 60 venues, including the eight outdoor installations by Queensland artists and designers, supported through Arts Queensland’s Open Air funding program and interspersed throughout Brisbane communities.

BAD collaborated with eight of Brisbane's leading independent arts organisations and business for the Open Air funded program. 

11 of the 13 creative outcomes were delivered by 8 venue partners and included:

  1. Spectator Jonze: Large-scale vinyl artwork, facade Hyatt Regency 
  2. Kirralee Robinson: Kinetic sculpture and video artwork, Brisbane Quarter 
  3. Artisan: Independent fashion design expose at Building 8, King St precinct 
  4. Sandra Selig: Large scale lawn drawing installation, St Patrick's Church grounds 
  5. Sandra Selig: Light and sound performance, St Patrick's Church 
  6. Visaya Hoffie Inflatable artworks, James Street Precinct 
  7. Callum McGrath: Video projection, Living Edge facade 
  8. Jordache: Live outdoor mural painting, Albion 
  9. Inkahoots: Interactive design projection, QPAC facade 
  10. Elisa Jane Carmichael: Projections on railway bridge abutments, Town Square 
  11. BlakLash (various): Performance, Town Square 
  12. Torin Francis: Artwork installation in Public Plaza - West Village 
  13. Lilian Whitaker: Artwork installation in thoroughfare - Metro Arts Dates and locations of funded activities

These partners were asked to place the temporary public artworks off-site and somewhere other than their existing place of business, such as the Institute of Modern Art (IMA) located at the Judith Wright Arts Centre (JWAC), placing the artwork at St Patrick's Church grounds. 

This artistic experience allowed audiences an immersive experience in the creative process via an open-air exploration of art and design. 

BAD aimed to break down barriers to the art and design sector by providing a navigable program that was accessible, diverse and invigilated.



When and where

BAD 2021 ran from 7 – 30 May across Brisbane 

Hoisted / Inkahoots at QPAC. Image: Atmosphere Photography.

Key stats

  • 2 performances with 700 attendees
  • 11 exhibitions with 27,800 visitors 
  • A total of 28,500 people participating in the 13 different activities
  • 81 Queensland artists and arts and cultural workers employed
  • 14 First Nations people employed 
  • 92 Queensland based companies, suppliers and service firms supported 
  • 88 Volunteers provided 774 hours of support. 
  • BAD showcased the work of over 500 artist and designers, through over 160 events across 78 venues.


Arts Queensland investment 

Funding of $80,000 through Open Air. Open Air supported the activation of outdoor and non-traditional settings and the production and delivery of a program of works by artists and arts organisations in these spaces.

Open Air is part of the $22.5 million two-year Arts and Cultural Recovery Package, focused on stabilising Queensland’s arts companies, securing jobs for artists and arts workers, and delivering COVID-safe cultural experiences to Queensland audiences. 

Infinite Space, Sandra Selig. Image: Bryan Spensor.


Activate Queensland local places 

  • BAD strengthened connections between landowners, local creative venues and galleries in Brisbane’s creative precincts:
  • All 8 venues partnered with either property owners, businesses, or organisations with successful results. 
  • The project provided artists with an opportunity to advance their ideas about working in a public space. 

Key to the success of BAD 2021 was its ability to mobilise existing venues, like galleries and design houses, to look outside of their venue and consider where else they might activate and partner with, resulting in several pop-up, or temporary, interventions beyond the installations supported by Open Air.


Share stories

  • The inclusion of Inkahoots, and artists Sandra Selig and Alisa Jane Carmichael, demonstrated to the audiences what was possible in public space.
  • ‘Inkahoots’ were able to realise the work "Hoisted" at an enormous scale as it was projected onto the outside wall of QPAC.  


Elevate First Nations arts

  • BlakLash: BAD Block Party was a successful closing celebration for BAD, which highlighted Indigenous art and design in Brisbane. 
  • It brought new audiences to ARIA Town Square as well as increasing public awareness of Blaklash and the stall holders presented at the event.
  • It allowed Brisbane First Nations artists to talk about their works, Brisbane designers to promote and sell their wares and Brisbane performance artists to showcase their talents


Professional development 

  • BAD invested in and retained Queensland artists by providing opportunities and commissions during uncertain artistic times.
  • BAD 2021 took a ground-up approach to building the program, allowing BAD to showcase the breadth of talent in Brisbane and the diversity of art and design on offer. 
  • Commissioning successful outcomes helped build an artist’s portfolio and demonstrate their capacity to work in different ways and this was transformative for many artists. 
  • BAD found that commissioning successful outcomes that build an artist’s portfolio and demonstrate their capacity to work in different ways, can be transformative. 
  • For some artists, the prospect of making work in public space can be daunting. BAD recognised that artists may struggle transitioning to public space, and so provided extra support to the artists.

Strengthen communities  

  • Driving audience visitation and engagement with Brisbane’s cultural precincts was another successful outcome from BAD.  
  • BAD 2021 provided audiences with a user-friendly website, neighbourhood maps and guided tours.
  • The inclusion of the temporary outdoor works captured new audiences and incentivised engagement through temporary activation. 
  • Each artwork became a destination on a trail, adding temporary outcomes to BAD’s exhibitions, tours and talks. 
  • Artworks such as these will form a key part of BAD going forward, placing BAD at the intersection of art, design and daily-life.

The impact of these temporary public artworks was tremendous, it gave the BAD program on-street visibility, it allowed BAD to commission new work and engage with venue partners and business. 

This approach encouraged audience ‘overlap’ – art and design lovers were encouraged to explore beyond their familiar venues and engage with lesser-known art forms. 


Learnings and reflections

Radical Localism artisan + Practice Studio + QUT Fashion: 

Makers from Brisbane's fashion community expressed their gratitude at having their practice celebrated in a public forum. 

Audiences expressed their gratitude at having access to the inner workings of the independent Brisbane fashion scene through communicating with the makers and getting an insight into their practice. 

Sharka Bosakova said:

“It was a great day! I am always on board with events that push fashion in Brisbane. It was great to collaborate with Artisan again.” 

Sandra Selig and Primitive Motion: Infinite Space: Light and sound performance

Infinite Space was the result of a successful collaboration with an unconventional venue in the IMA’s immediate vicinity, St Patrick’s Church, which allowed visitors to have an immersive art experience in a beautiful and under-utilised place.

Sandra was grateful for the opportunity to develop a site-specific project that spanned different mediums of interest within her practice. She saw it as a significant installation and event within the context of her practice. 

Sandra said:

“Infinite Space at St Patricks Church has been an important project for myself and Primitive Motion (with Leighton Craig). It was a unique opportunity to create site specific works within a community and a space that does not usually interact with contemporary art or art audiences. 

“The event itself was one of the most cohesive and memorable one-night events I have been involved in and will inform developments my practice and music in future projects. The audience response was overwhelmingly positive.”

Audiences remarked about how special it was to be able to experience an artist’s project in an unconventional site and many stayed for the full three-hour period despite the durational nature of the piece, suggesting deep engagement with the work. 

Naomi Evans, Curator at Griffith University Art Museum said,

“Infinite Space offered such a memorable moment, and sense that we were all witnessing something special, carved out and hidden from the rest of The Valley on a Friday night. 

“Arcs of coloured light over the neglected church architecture brought out its sombre beauty, and this provided an otherworldly complement to the sound performance, which the artists sequenced so expertly, offering to us the chance to appreciate instruments as a way of calling to our inner realms and to our personal experiences of time."

Hyatt Regency #109, Megan: Colour Will Change on the Rabbit by Spectator-Jonze. Image: Anwyn Howarth.

Tips for others

Use Volunteers - for the first time BAD enlisted volunteers. Stationed at the BAD Hub (an inflatable information point), and at BAD venues, BAD’s volunteers offered face-to-face engagement with audiences, facilitating direct insight into both the BAD program and artworks or venues specific. 


What next?

It is ‘our vision’ that future BAD events will strengthen relationships through a continued neighbourhood-based model premised on place-making and partnerships.

This was the first major event BlakLash has hosted at ARIA Town Square and the prefect chance to present what BlakLash is to ARIA and to ensure an ongoing partnership.


Find out more

BAD website


Banner image: Extract of  Kirralee Robinson: Move Together, Brisbane Quarter. Image:  Anwyn Howarth