BFU presents: Race, colonialism & the politics of representation

When? 6pm – 7.30pm, Wednesday 23 May

Where? Bunyapa Park, West End

What? Critical conversation and public discussion

Join us to hear Dr. Chelsea Bond and Dr. Paige West in conversation about racism, colonialism, representation and violence in Australia and PNG.

About the speakers
Dr. Chelsea Bond is an Aboriginal (Munanjahli) and South Sea Islander Australian and a Senior Lecturer with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit. Dr Bond has worked as an Aboriginal Health Worker and researcher in communities across south-east Queensland for the past 20 years and has a strong interest in urban Indigenous health promotion, culture, identity and community development. Dr Bond is also a board member of Inala Wangarra (an Indigenous community development association), and Screen Queensland, an affiliate member of UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health Research and regular guest host of 98.9FM’s Let’s Talk program.

Dr. Paige West is the Claire Tow Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University in New York. Her broad scholarly interest is the relationship between societies and their environments. More specifically, she has written about the linkages between environmental conservation and international development, the material and symbolic ways in which the natural world is understood and produced, the aesthetics and poetics of human social relations with nature, and the creation of commodities and practices of consumption. Since the mid 1990s she has worked with indigenous people in Papua New Guinea. In addition to her academic work, Dr. West is the co-founder of the PNG Institute of Biological Research, a small organisation dedicated to building academic opportunities for research in PNG by Papua New Guineans. She is also the co-founder of the Roviana Solwara Skul, a school in PNG dedicated to teaching at the nexus of indigenous knowledge and western scientific knowledge.

As usual, the event is free and open to everyone.

We acknowledge that we gather on unceded Aboriginal land, on the territories of Jagera and Turrbal peoples. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. Sovereignty was never ceded.
Accessibility information for this event:

  • The venue is a park. The event is child-friendly, and we welcome families to attend. However the park is not fenced and there will not be a separate space for children. We can provide some engagement materials (drawing supplies etc) on request.
  • This venue is wheelchair accessible, although much of the park is grassed
  • There is an accessible ambulant toilet with a change-table.
  • Some comfortable seating is provided, and priority will be given to those with mobility difficulties.
  • Online notes are not available for our speakers, though copies of other materials they have written can be provided on request.
  • An Auslan interpreter will not be present.
  • Very limited First Aid will be available on site.
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BFU presents: Art, politics & public space in the New World City

When? 6pm – 7.30pm, Wednesday 25 April

Where? Bunyapa Park, West End

What? Brisbane Free University kicks off the year with a juicy public conversation on the politics and practices of participatory public art. And alliteration.

Shane Sugrue is one-fifth of Unqualified Design Studio, a collective of partially-employed architects, artists, and designers based in Brisbane. His work examines the potential for unsolicited and participatory spatial practices to trigger altered relationships with public space. He lives in East Brisbane with three chickens and four people.

Aleea Monsour is a community theatre-maker and facilitator. She is interested in thinking about the role of theatre in engaging and empowering communities to share and hear their stories.

Shelley Cheng is sometimes an artist and lives on the stolen Aboriginal land of the Jagera and Turrbal peoples. Shelley is currently completing her undergraduate studies in law/ journalism and is interested in critical race theory, decoloniality, transformative justice and community building. She’ll be speaking about her experiences of presenting interactive art pieces/ installations which allowed audiences to write and draw responses to her work, choose the direction of incomplete work, and interact with other members of the audience.

Each speaker will present for 10 minutes or so, and then we’ll open up for questions and broad community conversation.


BFU acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we gather, the Jagera and Turrbal peoples, and their Elders past, present and future. Sovereignty over these lands was never ceded.

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BFU presents: “Don’t be Evil” – Data Activism and Digital Rights

When? 6.30pm – 8pm, Wednesday 8 November, 2017

Where? Bunyapa Park, cnr Thomas St and Vulture St, West End

What? Public panel discussion and community conversation

What is “big data”? Who is collecting it? And how are processes of data gathering impacting on our lives?

In this session, we’ll bring together academics and grassroots activists to talk data activism and digital rights. How can we imagine digital futures that aren’t “evil”? What is the relationship between technology and politics? What might it look like to nationalise social media? Is ethical tech possible? What kind of strategies already exist to reimagine digital technologies for the “common good”? And what are the supply chains that link our everyday digital products to ecological disaster in the global south?

Angela Daly is a socio-legal academic researching the regulation of new technologies. She is also a digital rights activist, currently on the board of Digital Rights Watch Australia.

Amelia Hine is a researcher, writer and graphic designer. She investigates landscape planning for mega-projects like mine closures, and traces their unseen influences and alternatives. She is particularly interested in making visible the supply chains necessary to design, produce and manufacture our contemporary lives.

Caspian Bahramshahi is a community organiser and digital campaigner with the Queensland Conservation Council. They have a passion for decentralised grassroots social movements and the role #hashtag activism has in making that possible.

Liam Pomfret is a consumer privacy researcher and activist, looking into the social factors influencing privacy protection and sharing behaviours. He currently serves on the boards of both the Australian Privacy Foundation and Electronic Frontiers Australia, and has previously stood for Pirate Party Australia.

We’ve invited this collection of excellent folks to participate in a panel discussion for the first 30 – 40 minutes. We’ll then open the conversation up for questions, discussion, collective strategising and a big old chat.

As usual, the event is completely free and open to everyone. A small amount of seating will be available, but please bring a chair or rug if you’re coming from home and want a more comfortable listening-and-talking experience.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we gather. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. Sovereignty was never ceded. 


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BFU presents: Decolonisation, Indigenous sovereignty and ‘the City’

What? Public lecture and discussion

When? 1pm – 2.30pm, Saturday 12th August, 2017

Where? Cnr Russell St and Boundary St, West End, Brisbane.

Who? We are absolutely honoured to present Uncle Sam Watson and Debbi Jones in conversation with facilitator/s Adam Sharah and Jasmyn Shepherd.
This panel discussion will consider the contemporary manifestation of and resistance to colonisation in Brisbane, as well as questions of decolonisation, sovereignty and Indigenous land rights.  The panel will reflect on the idea of decolonising the city: what might that look like? How might it happen? And to paraphrase critical race theorist Franz Fanon, how might Indigenous resistance “restructure the world” to create other solutions, other worlds, and other futures?

For those of you who are interested, this session is in conversation with an earlier BFU event – a conversation called “Decolonising the City” with Melissa Lucaschenko. You can listen to that recording via 4zzz’s Radio Reversal, at

This discussion will be presented as a part of Right to the City Brisbane’s “Break the Boundary III,” a free, public event running from 1pm – 9pm on Saturday 12th August, 2017.  The event as a whole considers the politics and potentials of public space in West End and beyond, and poses broader questions about colonisation, decolonisation, solidarity and resistance.

You can find more details about the Break the Boundary event here:
As usual, these events are completely free and open to everyone.  The space will be family friendly.  The broader Break the Boundary event is a fundraiser for the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy, to raise money to send BASE delegates to a national lore gathering. There will be spaces available to donate, if you wish, and there will be chai available for $2, the proceeds of which will go to BASE.

We acknowledge that Brisbane Free University gathers, meets and organisers on stolen land.  We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. Sovereignty over these lands was never ceded.

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BFU presents: “The artist as facilitator”

Join us tomorrow night from 6.30pm – 8.30pm at Wandering Cooks for the next in a series of talks co-hosted with People-Art-Place, investigating the politics and poetics of public art projects in “The Artist as Facilitator.”

When? Tuesday 16th May, 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Where? Wandering Cooks, Fish Lane, South Brisbane
What? The Swiss Army Knife of Contemporary Art: The Artist as Facilitator

The ‘Facilitator’ is curious new breed of artist. Highly skilled, these creatures are known for mixing artistic mediums, breaking from the institution, and constantly faring the question ‘Is it art?’ due to their lack of “concrete” outcomes and visibility to the general public. A social animal, the ‘Artist as Facilitator’ is easily identifiable for their conceptual stealth, logistical prowess and fierce concern for their community.

The second in a series of lectures that aim to challenge public perceptions of art in public space, The Swiss Army Knife of Contemporary Art: The Artist as Facilitator unpacks the concept of ‘The Artist as Facilitator’ through a collection of case studies and informal discussion with artist Zoe Scoglio.

Zoe Scoglio:
In her practice, Zoe unites performance, video, sound and installation to create interdisciplinary, site-specific and participatory work. Playing with notions of time, origin, sentience and morphology, her work engages the varied cultural, political and personal narratives we create about this rock we call home.

Interested in the idea that all forms, both human and non-human, are sites of transformation, Zoe’s practice explores how the narratives we create about our idea of humanness impact the way we commodify, consume, and value the natural world and its resources.

Creating work that draws upon her training in media arts, voice and body-centric practice, Zoe develops participatory projects that explore possibilities for collective engagement, ceremonial encounters and enlivened installations. She takes a non-hierarchical approach to the mediums, subjects and objects I work with, often combining both animate and inanimate bodies in a relational choreography.

As usual: these talks are completely free and open to everyone!

We acknowledge that we gather on Indigenous land. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.  Sovereignty was never ceded.


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BFU presents: Brisbane’s Shrinking Public Realm

Brisbane’s Shrinking Public Realm (revisited):

Gentrification, privatisation and the social impacts of urban enclosures

BFU is proud to present a session in collaboration with the Right to the City Brisbane as part of the 24-hour “Instead of a Casino” occupation on Saturday 22/Sunday 23 April, 2017.

Queens Park, cnr Elizabeth and George St, CBD
When? 4.30pm, Saturday 22 April, 2017
What? Public lecture and discussion

The speakers:
Peter Walters is an urban sociologist from the School of Social Science at UQ. He teaches first year students what sociology is, and graduate students what sociology could be. He researches how we shape cities and how they shape us.

Lena Molnar is an early career researcher at the UQ School of Social Sciences working in urban and emotional sociology. Her honours thesis focused on retail gentrification in Brisbane’s streetscape. Lena has a background in fine arts, plays in a couple of bands and is a previous host of Radio Reversal on 4ZZZ.

Rob Shields’ work spans architecture, urban geography and sociology to bring interdisciplinary and global perspective to research on urban cultures, including the built environments of cities and the virtual social spaces of new media. At the University of Alberta’s City-Region Studies Centre, I teach and direct engaged, participatory research and design projects that leverage public curiosity and practice-based approaches. Notable publications include Places on the Margin; Lefebvre, Love and Struggle; The Virtual and Spatial Questions: Social Spatialization and Cultural Topology. Rob Shields also founded Space and Culture (an international peer-reviewed journal) and Curb (a Canadian planning magazine).

Marissa Dooris is an activist and a lawyer, interested in the fluid and messy spaces between law and justice. She has extensive experience working with marginalised communities in Brisbane, particularly through the Homeless Persons Legal Clinic and Sisters Inside. As a lawyer, activist and researcher, she is interested in the intersections between racism, poverty and violence, and the ways they shape our public realms.

Join us in the heart of the city to think about the future of the public realm, what it means to have a right to the city, and how we work toward building just cities and worthwhile futures.

We acknowledge that we will be gathering on unceded Aboriginal land. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and work to address the legacies and continuations of colonisation in our lives.


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BFU presents: Now you see it, now you don’t


Now you see it, now you don’t: 

The Value of Temporary Art in Public Space

BFU is super excited to present a collaboration with p + a + p, an arts project based in Brisbane that aims to challenge community perceptions of art in public space.

When?  Tuesday 7th March, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Where? Wandering Cooks, 1 Fish Lane, South Brisbane
What?  Public lecture and panel discussion, and community conversation

For many (especially in the art world) the term ‘public art’ conjures disdain and a sense that precious public money is being used to purchase an oversized object that has little or no connection to the community amongst which it sits. While this is not always the case, there is a strong perception that public art is generally bad art.

The first in a series of lectures that aim to challenge that perception, Now You See It, Now You Don’t, will instead explore the value of temporary art in public space. Through examining four case studies and interviewing Brisbane-based artist Caitlin Franzmann who has staged several projects of this nature, this session will unpack the creative, social, and economic benefits of projects that have a limited lifespan in urban context.

Jenna Green Bio:
Artist, curator and arts writer Jenna Green has spent the last decade working within the construction industry and fine art sector. Combining her passion for art with her background in design, Jenna balances a career in public art facilitation with her art practice and art writing. Currently working freelance, Jenna is based in Brisbane.

With an art practice developed over the past six years, Jenna has worked collaboratively with Propriety Limited (Pty Ltd), as well as individually. Involved in several group shows such as the 29th Gold Coast International Ceramic Art Award (2014), Self (2016), and New World City (2014), she continues to increase her exposure nationally. Having just completed her Honours body of work that responds to the concept of the creative industries, Jenna is drawn to the tensions and opportunities that exist at the juncture of art and commerce.

Jenna has had the pleasure of working with public art facilitators, John Stafford and Jodie Cox (CREATIVEMOVE), Urban Art Projects, gallerists Jan Murphy and Sophie Gannon (Contemporary Editions), Spiro Grace Art Rooms, and a collection of other esteemed artists and galleries as a freelance curator, designer and writer. Specific artists she has worked with and continues to work with include, Donna Marcus, Sebastian Di Mauro, Robert Andrews, Laura Jones and Karen Black and many others. She is currently working on a publication for The Laundry Artspace.

Marisa Georgiou Bio:
Marisa Georgiou is an inter-disciplinary artist, critical writer, and student of embodied performance strategies, interested in atmospheric sensation and our relationship to ‘nature’ in connection to wider feminist/postcolonial discourses. Through her performance practice, she explores the space between uncultured and cultured embodiment, alternative ways of Knowing, and their expression in the urban/natural landscape.

Marisa completed her Bachelor of Fine Art (Hons) in 2015, where she researched the potentials of an ethical visual approach to Landscape, in video and installation mediums. This year she has presented and published this research for LEVEL ARI and Critical Animals Creative Research Symposium. She regularly exhibits in galleries, artist-run-initiatives and alternative venues in Brisbane and interstate, and has an upcoming solo exhibition at MOANA Project Space, Perth.

Marisa’s words have been featured in local and national publications including Artlink, Common Ground Journal, and Panoptic Press, and she has written for both commercial and artist-run spaces, such as Spiro Grace Art Rooms, The Hold Artspace, Seventh Gallery and others.

Caitlin Franzmann Bio: 
Caitlin Franzmann explores contemporary art’s potential to instigate change by way of critical listening, dialogue and self-empowerment. In reaction to the fast pace and sensory overstimulation of contemporary urban life, she creates situations to encourage slowness, mindful contemplation, and social interaction in both galleries and public spaces. These situations include conversation-based works and immersive sonic spaces such as wearable listening sculptures, architectural interventions and audiowalks.

Caitlin originally trained as an urban planner and in 2012 completed a BFA at Queensland College of Art. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the Institute of Modern Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Canberra Contemporary Art Space and torna, Istanbul, and has participated in festivals such as OtherFilm and Electrofringe. Caitlin is Co-director of LEVELari, a Brisbane-based collective focused on generating dialogue around gender, feminism and art.

p+a+p Bio: 

people+artist+place is a Brisbane-based arts initiative, designed to challenge community perceptions of art in public space. p+a+p facilitates dynamic contemporary art projects that are accessible and critical in equal measure.

In 2017, p+a+p. will launch with a series of three lectures on art in public space, facilitated by Brisbane Free University. For each lecture, we will look at interstate and international case studies to unpack the creative, social, and economic benefits of such projects in public space, and proceed to invite an artist who has worked in such a way to speak about their practice.

This year will also see a small collection of projects facilitated by p+a+p., that see an artist/artist collective produce work beyond the gallery and in collaboration with a community/business/venue. Our intention is to provide artists mentoring and support to realise their work to a high standard, and in community context.

All welcome!

BFU acknowledges that we live and work on unceded Indigenous land.  We pay our respects to the traditional custodians of the land, and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.
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