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Spewcastle, spelling bee, strangers and fake news on arts festival line-up

First details of This is Not Art 2017 have today been released to the public, with locals and visitors encouraged to save the date for the free October long weekend arts festival.

This year's program features extravagant singalongs, performance lectures, blogging, poetry, gaming, cartooning, a spelling bee, dance, roving artist talks, witchcraft, drama, comedy, song writing and more.

With a focus on engaging with the local community, activating venues across the CBD and blurring the boundaries between writing, performance, visual arts and critical thinking, This is Not Art 2017 will offer an array of workshops, panels, performances and special events for those interested in exploring thought-provoking contemporary arts.

Festival Producer Christina Robberds said This is Not Art (TiNA) will run from Thursday 28 September to Sunday 1 October and will celebrate Newcastle as a first-rate creative city.

"We're celebrating our 20th anniversary this year and we really want people who haven't been to the festival before to come along and be inspired," Ms Robberds said.

"There will be more than 150 sessions as part of This is Not Art 2017 and they're all free. This is such a valuable opportunity for people to experience the joy of the performance, writing and interactive art installations right here in Newcastle," she said.

"The festival has become an integral part of the nation's arts calendar. Artists from around the country converge on Newcastle to share ideas, meet like-minded creative collaborators, and test work in a safe and supportive environment."

Anyone can attend the free festival, and tickets aren't required. For program updates, follow This is Not Art on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TINAFestival/) and on Instagram (@thisisnotart).

"The fact that we have a large-scale experimental arts festival outside a major capital city helps encourage and facilitate increased engagement with the arts and helps build pathways for local artists and those working in the creative industries," Ms Robberds said.

While the full details of the program won't be released until late August, Christina Robberds has revealed some of the program highlights for 2017:

  • What the Spewcastle?! Penis towers, obelisks, lighthouses like chess piece rooks....Poets and writers will scour Newcastle's streets, creating pieces on the urban landscape before our very eyes. Artists: Mitch Tomas Cave, Saorsie Nash and more.

  • Affect Me: After having a coffee with a stranger in a Newcastle cafe during the festival, artist Bonnie Cowan will spend the day devising a performance about their interactions and perform a 'freshly squeezed' work for them in the very same cafe that evening.

  • Spelling Bee for adults: led by Adolfo Aranjuez, this competition will celebrate the silent K and crown a Queen Bee.

  • Fake News game show: With audience participation encouraged, this game show will be held at Vinyl Cafe, with only the fakest news on offer. Artists: Casey Briggs, Osman Faruqi, Rebecca Shaw.

  • Three Page Story Exhibition Opening: Ex-student of Newcastle Art School, Stephanie Gobor, initiates an exhibition involving collaboration between art students and creative writers at TAFE NSW Hunter St.

  • The Shape of Memory: Curated by Talia Smith, this exhibition explores giving a form or shape to the intangible concept of memory and its effects on our past, present and future.

This year the festival will take place across 20 venues, including The Lock-Up, Watt Space Gallery, Civic Park, Vinyl Cafe, The Royal Exchange, Alchemy Cafe and TAFE NSW Hunter St.

"As well as reinforcing Newcastle's reputation as a creative city, This is Not Art is also good for our economy, with around half of all attendees coming from outside of the region last year."

This is Not Art (TiNA) began life in 1998 as the National Young Writers' Festival and the National Student Media Conference. The festival's original founder Mr Marcus Westbury, said, "I find it almost impossible to believe that after two decades TiNA is still going strong."

"The festival has played a vital role in bringing generations of young, talented, creative people to Newcastle, nurturing Newcastle's talent and catalysing a national creative community,"Mr Westbury said.

This is Not Art 2017 is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW, The City of Newcastle, the University of Newcastle, TAFE NSW and Jennings Print.




About This is Not Art (TiNA)
This is Not Art (TiNA) is a four-day arts festival produced by Octapod. The festival will run in 20 venues over the October long weekend from Thursday 28 September to Sunday 1 October. Each year, thousands of people attend the event, which comprises:

  • The National Young Writers' Festival - the country's largest gathering of young and innovative writers working in both new and traditional forms including zines, comics, blogging, screenwriting, poetry, spoken word, hip hop, journalism, autobiography, comedy, song writing and prose.

  • Crack Theatre Festival - for experimental performance artists from all over Australia to unleash their wildest ideas. In 2017, the main Festival program, TestPattern, will showcase 20 works-in-progress by emerging artists - most being presented for the first time at the Festival - with a focus on the artists, their ideas and their approaches to making.

  • Critical Animals - a creative research symposium for students, researchers, writers, artists, thinkers and curious individuals who are engaged with creative and experimental art practices. The event is an opportunity to engage and participate in dynamic discussions of new ideas, present papers and ongoing research, as well as challenge creative practices and work collaboratively with others in the field. 

This is Not Art (TiNA) began life in 1998 as the National Young Writers' Festival and the National Student Media Conference. These two events took place in the week after the Newcastle Fringe Festival. With the addition of Electrofringe in 1999 and Sound Summit in 2000, the name This is Not Art was adopted to reflect the very different but interconnected events.

Octapod is one of NSW's leading regional arts service organisations, providing leadership and cultural development initiatives to enhance the capacity of the region's existing and emerging creative communities.

Media Contact:
Ms Lou Morrissey
Communications Director
This is Not Art 2017
0419 168 940

This is Not Art 2017 contact info:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TINAFestival/
Instagram: @thisisnotart #thisisnotart2017
Twitter: @thisisnotart
Festival Producer: Christina Robberds - 0415 699 227 | admin@octapod.org






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