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A New Home For MAKEit MADEit

The Newcastle Conservatorium will host this year's conference in spectacular style.

A New Home For MAKEit MADEit Image
Partnering with The University of Newcastle for the first time, The Newcastle Conservatorium will this year play host to Newcastle’s premier creative, art and makers Conference, MAKEit MADEit.
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Built in 1952 the Art Deco style interior is one of the city’s most spectacular, and perhaps, most underestimated buildings and will make for an impressive back drop to what will be MAKEit MADEit’s biggest conference to date.

We recently met with MAKEit MADEit founder and director Brett Piva and Dr Una Rey, convenor of the University of Newcastle’s new Bachelor of Creative Industries Degree, in the School of Creative Industries. Taking our seats in the Harold Lobb Concert Hall, we chat to Una and Brett about this magnificent building, the University of Newcastle’s partnership with MAKEit MADEit and what guests/audiences can expect from MAKEit MADEit this year.


Brett Piva, founder and director of MAKEit MADEit and Dr Una Rey, convenor of the University of Newcastle's new Bachelor of Creative Industries Degree.


Is this the first year that MAKEit MADEit has partnered with the UON?

Brett - Yes it’s the first time, so it’s a great step forward for the conference. Each year I get invited to speak as an industry professional in the University’s Creative Industries program so it’s really nice to now have that extended link to the university.

And what is the UON’s involvement in MAKEit MADEit in 2018?

Una - The University of Newcastle has come on board as a key sponsor of MAKEit MADEit, and in addition to providing the Newcastle Conservatorium as the venue for the conference, MAKEit MADEit is offering twenty of our students a free pass to expand their knowledge of the creative industries. Other students will be involved both on the day and in the lead up to the conference on a voluntary basis.

We see this as a fantastic opportunity for the School of Creative Industries to partner directly with local creatives across the city, in what we hope will be a great ongoing collaborative relationship. For the students it will provide some practical experience and we see the conference as providing greater awareness around the creative industries in Newcastle as we build our presence and expand the campus in the heart of the city’s cultural precinct. 





This year’s venue is much bigger from previous year’s, it’s a great indication that the event is growing.

Brett – The venue definitely lends to exactly what we need, and the kind of atmosphere we are wanting to create for the conference. It’s a major step up in how we deliver the event – the audio and visual, additional rooms for breakouts plus the increased seating capacity. Last year tickets sold out 2 – 3 weeks prior, which was a positive sign that the conference is starting to grow and it was time to step up our game.

I am really excited about being able to host the event in such a cool space. It’s a great setting worthy of the incredible speakers I’m inviting to talk this year. To be able to share this with them and an audience visiting Newcastle will be amazing.

Una - The building seats 428 people which means it’s wonderful when it’s at capacity, and the acoustics are excellent. When Brett and Professor Paul Egglestone, Head of School, Creative Industries first discussed how we might work together, the Conservatorium venue was an obvious choice.

The concert hall has had some major university events take place in it over the years so it’s great to see it being used in a different way and for a different audience.

What kind of audience do you expect to see attend MAKEit MADEit this year?

Brett – Artists, Designers and Makers are the most obvious, as are those working in the creative industries more broadly, but I also see the audience as being much more varied this year as we have a really diverse line up of speakers. Katie Brown, for example, who is a glass artist from New Zealand who makes beautiful glass lampshades. It’s people like Katie, Hugh Altschwager of Inkster, and Newcastle based artist Lucas Grogan, who would appeal to those in interior design and styling or architecture , as well as anyone with a general interest in making.



For those who have been to MAKEit MADEit previously, what differences can they expect from this year’s conference?

Brett - One of the new additions to the schedule is boosting conversation around difficult discussions on creative mental health. This year I have organised a panel who will tackle this topic with discussions centring around professional or creative burnout, not getting paid fairly and how to quote on jobs or price your work without self doubt. Also topical industry issues such as not overloading yourself, what is success is to you and how not to conform to social environments.

One really positive aspect, particularly in regards to the students involvement is each year I try to educate the audience and have the speakers share, not necessarily failures, but tricky spots they’ve experienced throughout their career and how they’ve overcome them, or more generally how they have faced their fears.

I’ve learnt from previous conferences this can really inspire an audience, particularly a young crowd. In years to come the aim of MAKEit MADEit is to get more students through the door as it’s only going to better the creative future of Newcastle.


For a limited time only MAKEit MADEit has an Early Bird Ticket offer available, to purchase Click Here

Cnr Laman Street and Auckland St
Newcastle 2300
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