Innovation

Meet the first residents of ACMI’s huge new co-working space

Dinushi Dias /

Since early May this year, ACMI has welcomed an eclectic mix of creators, inventors and entrepreneurs into its brand new 2000m2 co-working space.

ACMI X is one of the first co-working spaces offered by an established cultural institution in Australia, and it’s already spinning out some inventive ideas by deliberately colliding the arts with startups.

Among the mix of residents are animators, web developers, educators, UX designers and video producers, as well as media and communications students and researchers from RMIT.

Dan Koerner, founder of digital studio specialising in immersive technology Sandpit, is one of the space’s first residents.

“The fact that it’s curated brings an interesting culture to the environment,” Koerner tells StartupSmart.

“Relationships bubble away slowly.

“My company is interested in interactivity and the world.”

One of Koerner’s recent projects, built in collaboration with Google Creative Lab, showcased to audiences a performance powered by mobile audio technology.

“It involves audience members placing a ghost sheet on their head and they can hear a performance,” he says.

The company is now working to add a virtual reality component so guests can immerse themselves in the performance through VR and audio tech.

These are the type of innovative creations ACMI X is hoping to nurture and grow in the space, ACMI CEO Katrina Segwick says.

“It’s still early days,” Sedgwick tells StartupSmart.

“It’s already developing partnerships among people in there which wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”

Inside ACMI X

At ACMI X, Segwick says they have social gatherings, expert talks, show-and-tell presentations and workshops like lean filmmaking to educate, empower and connect its co-working communities.

Inside ACMI x

“There’s a lot of activity coming through,” she says.

“We’re already working with a couple of the [residents] here and are developing projects with them.

“There’s a huge amount of promise.”

With only 12 desks left, Segwick’s key goal is to maintain the “great diversity of practitioners” making ACMI X their home.

“We need to have a spread across creative industries,” she says.

“We’re really interested in diversity from tech startups to artist-based practice.”

ACMI X is now taking expressions of interest from avid creative entrepreneurs wanting to work together.

“We’re interested in a range of people looking to do hot-desking through to full-time capacity,” Segwick says.

The other ACMI X residents:

  • Yukfoo Animation director Alan Dickson has been working in animation for two decades and is directing his first animated feature film Shirley and the Hungary Bear;
  • Andre Lima from Inkubator, a digital creative studio that produces everything from apps and video content to augmented theatre experiences;
  • Philanthropist Andrea Heffernan is the Victorian director of The Funding Network, which has raised more than $3.7 million to support 100 grassroots charities around Australia;
  • Renowned photographer and creative director Andrew Maccoll whose global creative agency LDB boasts clients like Bulgari and Quicksilver;
  • Contemporary art community Aphids and cross-disciplinary artist collective Field Theory;
  • Festival director Ben Laden who heads Australia’s international film festival for kids Little Big Shots;
  • Creative director of Freeform Creative Cameron Macmillan whose production services range from TV and cinema commercials to motion design, 360 degree videos and augmented reality;
  • Deeper Richer co-founder and executive director Duncan Imberger whose company mixes storytelling and technology to create more imaginative learning experiences for children;
  • Dr Greg Turner who is the CEO of Interaction Consortium, which develops web and digital platforms and offers services like hosting, user research and strategic consulting;
  • Katy Morrison and Oscar Raby tell stories in virtual reality with their company VRTOV;
  • Jumpgate VR’s head of production Piers Mussared works with filmmakers, musicians, artists and performers to create narrative VR productions;
  • Freelance motion creative Simon Burgin’s company Responsve creates interactive digital ad and art experiences like Foxtel’s Rubix Cube at Melbourne Arts Festival and iiNet’s projected kicking game during a Hawks game at the MCG;
  • Multimedia content publisher and distributor Valleyarm Digital which helps monetise content including video and audio across platforms and has partner relationships with YouTube.

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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.