Innovation

ACMI to open co-working space to bring the startup and art worlds together

Dinushi Dias /

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image has announced plans to open a large co-working space for 60 creative professionals and entrepreneurs.

Located in Melbourne, ACMI X will be one of the first co-working spaces to be provided by a major cultural institution in Australia, CEO Katrina Sedgwick says.

“We want to put cultural entrepreneurship right next to art-making and see what comes out of those conversations,” Sedgwick tells StartupSmart.

ACMI X is expected to house tenants from early April 2016.

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It has been designed to promote collaboration, innovation, creativity and sharing of ideas, Sedgwick says.

“This space is about enabling that in a really unusual way through the prism of a museum like ACMI,” she says.

Growing the cultural economy

Victorian minister for creative industries Martin Foley says ACMI X will provide an excellent opportunity for Victoria’s cultural economy.

“It’s this sort of creative approach and new way of working that will enable us to innovate and grow Victoria’s $23 billion creative and cultural economy into the future,” Foley says in a statement.

Sedgwick says ACMI X is a 2000 square metre co-working space designed to foster organic growth of its creative community through inventive common spaces, bleacher seating, meeting rooms and brainstorming boards.

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Co-located with ACMI’s operational offices, ACMI X will house tech and creative professionals who will get access to an ACMI library onsite, events and mentors.

“We’re able to provide expertise around exhibitions, commissioning work, copyright, legals, business models, accounting, all of those things that are really important as you’re starting up a business,” Sedgwick says.

Additionally, residents will have access to artists and experts from various fields like virtual reality, CGI and animation.

Sedgwick says they are currently recruiting a studio producer to manage tenants and a monthly events program including pitch nights, expert presentations and networking.

ACMI will also be partnering with REMIX Academy to bring down speakers to Melbourne.

REMIX hosts quarterly summits in Sydney, London, New York and Dubai.

Getting into ACMI X

Professionals from a wide range of creative industries are invited to apply for desk membership.

“We’d like to have filmmakers talking to game and web developers, we’d like to have visual artists speaking to tech startups,” she says.

There are 60 short and long-term places available by application only with full-time membership priced at $600 per month.

Copyright Agency has sponsored a desk for a startup or local artist commencing in the new financial year.

In selecting tenants, Sedgwick says are looking for professionals with some relationship to the moving image but will be “cherry-picking” them to ensure there is a genuine mix.

The debut tenant will be Sandpit, a creative studio with a background in theatre and film that creates apps and interfaces to provide audiences with immersive experiences.

“We want people who are creative, nimble, entrepreneurial in their ideas,” she says.

Sedgwick says she is excited about ACMI X because it will spark a culture of lateral working where entrepreneurs can bump into each other, solve problems and grow ideas together organically.

“There’s huge opportunity in gaining inspiration from all sorts of disciplines to make a business work, to make a project work, to make an art piece work,” she says.

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Dinushi Dias

Dinushi Dias is a freelance journalist and a former StartupSmart reporter and multimedia content producer. She is the co-founder of Melbourne-based production house Dinushi & Power.

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