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Cara Johnson – Walking Distance

Northcity4 Window Project: Feb 8th – April 5th

Cara Johnson installation NC4

Cara Johnson is currently a second year Gold and Silversmithing student at RMIT.  Northcity4 invited Cara to present a new installation piece to coincide with our seminar: Renew Restore Respect, to be held at Northcity4 on Thursday 20 February 2014, from 6-8pm.

Both the seminar and Cara’s window & gate installation Walking Distance are being staged as part of the Sustainable Living Festival 2014.

Cara was invited to be involved in this project as her work and practice show great respect and consideration for the natural world. Found and collected leaves, pods, shells, are often the starting point for Cara’s jewellery practice, best realized in sensitive drawings and paintings found in her sketchbooks. From this initial recorded investigation, Cara then makes often, unexpected departures, creating unique and dynamic works.




Cara’s Artist Statement for this project, reflects this approach:

Nothing in nature is still, it changes and adapts from moment to moment.

I wanted to explore the intricacies of the Australian Bush that I observe when walking near my place. The movement, the shapes, the colours, the light, the sounds and the irregular wonky beauty. Its the unexpected parts of nature that I find the most interesting, the ugly bits. 

In this work I hope to evoke the connection we have to nature and and how precious this is. 



Using found wire from within walking distance of where she lives, Cara has transformed discarded wax coated cardboard boxes (which are difficult to recycle at the best of times), into an installation, composed of multiple parts which will adorn both the front window at Northcity4 as well as the side entrance gate. Because of the construction, card suspended on wire, the individual parts will move and change according to the wind and the day.




We invite you to experience this exciting installation by Cara Johnson,

Walking Distance, will be on display from February 8th 2014 – April 5th 2014 and can be viewed at all times of the day.

Visit NC4 or SLF websites for more information.


Studio Space Available!!!

One of our much coveted permanent studio spaces will become available from 1st December and applications are now OPEN!


Northcity4 is in a great location in Brunswick between Sydney Road and Lygon st and just opposite Barkly Square. We are close to the #1, #8 & #19 trams and the Upfield Line train. The Northcity4 community is a friendly one and we share expertise, equipment, meals together, social events and lots of laughter. Have a look at our Studio Space artists page to see who you could potentially be sharing your working space with, and all the necessary details are below:

Size 10 m2

Rent $330 per month ($330 bond required)

Studio space tenants have the following facilities available to them:

  • 24 hour access
  • Security system
  • Use of shared equipment
  • Art resource library
  • Communal area for research, meals & conversation
  • Kitchen
  • Workshop wet are
  • Private office space for client consultations & meetings

Download and submit your application by Oct 31st.

open day at Northcity4

open day at Northcity4


Northcity4 launch in March 2012

lunch time entertaining!

lunch time entertaining!

Key of Sea Journal

Northcity4 is proud to support the launch of the First Key of Sea Journal.

Northcity4′s Romani Benjamin shares with you the story of the journal in anticipation of our Exchanges Seminar on October 31:

The Key of Sea musical collaborations, which you can hear on 2 CD’s released in 2010 and again in 2012, were a powerful illustration of the joy and enthusiasm that can be generated when artists and musicians from other countries are given the chance to showcase their talents and tell stories. Not only did the music celebrate our heritage in all its diversity, it gave a personal face to the refugee experience – something that is missing all too often from the representation of the issue in the media and the political arena. The critical acclaim, sales and warm public reception of the Key of Sea CDs proved that there is a hunger in the community to embrace and explore the stories and cultural inheritance of our recent migrants. Check out the music on the Key of Sea website

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Romani Benjamin

Earlier this year we decided to take these goals and outcomes into the artistic and literary communities and the Key of Sea Journal was commenced.  Its now printed and ready to be released to all of you who are interested.

Our vision was to create the Key of Sea Journal: a beautifully designed, full-colour publication that provides people with refugee background and artists of all sorts with the chance to creatively respond to each other’s work, as well as to the wider themes around displaced people. We were inundated by a diverse and vibrant collection of essays, fiction, graphic novel strips, musings, art, poetry, film reviews and photography, inspired and informed by the experiences of refugees and migrants in Australia. The guiding principle was the use of collaboration to give a personal insight into the social and cultural issues of the refugee experience.

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Katherine Bowman

The Journal beautifully displays the art work of Shaun Tan, Oslo Davis, Lucy James, First Dog and Northcity4′s own Romani Benjamin and Katherine Bowman.  We have thought provoking articles from Julian Burnside, Michael Gordon and Waleed Aly, humour from Danny Katz, poems, cartoons and a graphic novel within the pages.

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We also worked closely with Ondru and the Refugee Art Project to include amazing stories and artwork from those people who join us in Australia after experiencing first hand refugee policy, detention centres and torment in their own countries.

The collection is diverse and wonderful!

We hope to influence the debate about refugees in Australia in a number of ways which include:

  • Provide members of the refugee community with the chance to have their talents and stories celebrated.
  • To counterbalance the fear, negativity and sense of hopelessness that often accompanies discussions of refugees and asylum seekers by illuminating the experiences, abilities and personalities of individuals who have come to our country as refugees and migrants.
  • To give local artists and writers the chance to connect with, work alongside and respond creatively to refugees to enrich both their understanding of other cultures and their artistic practice.
  • To educate the general public by providing them with a meaningful gateway into the refugee issue through a beautiful collection of art and literature.
  • To illustrate to refugees and recent migrants that they are not invisible to the wider community – that their experiences and stories form an important part of the patchwork of our history and heritage, and are worthy of preserving and disseminating.
Lucy James

Lucy James

The Key of Sea Journal team is Romani Benjamin (KOS), Hugh Crosthwaite (KOS), Davina Bell (Editor), Caroline Williams (Publisher), Rachel Davis (Refugee liaison) and Imogen Stubbs (Designer).

As with all Key of Sea projects, any profits from the sale of the Journal will go directly to the charities we support.  They are the ASRC, HRAFF and SAIL.


What better way for Northcity4 to help promote the Journal than to initiate discussion?  We invite you to join us for an evening of conversation with the Key of Sea founders, alongside Courtney Green, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Social and Community Development Coordinator and artist Marian Talia Pau, a maker and aspiring ‘Matuauu’, (Samoan matai chief language for Super Weaver).

The evening will highlight and discuss the importance of cultural exchanges.

Each of these three groups believe that at the heart of nurturing and celebrating diversity within our communities is openness and giving people the opportunity for partnerships to develop and creative expression to flourish.

This seminar will explore local examples of how various forms of creative exchange have been used to celebrate and support difference, whilst at the same time offering an opportunity for individuals to feel safe, inspired and supported

Romani Benjamin and Hugh Crosthwaite will talk about the Key of Sea, an initiative that aims to create a lasting celebration of Australia’s cultural diversity through music.

Maryann Talia Pau is a maker who will share how she explores the language of weaving to celebrate her Samoan ancestry, while at the same time using it to inform her identity as an Australian.

Courtney Green from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre will discuss how Australia’s leading asylum seeker organization is using community engagement and mentorship to assist some of the most disadvantaged people in our community

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Oslo Davis

 To buy a copy of the Key of Sea Journal please contact Romani Benjamin via email to place an order.

$25 per Journal or $35 which the Journal and a copy of Key of Sea Vol 2

Copies of the Journal and Vol 2 CD will be for sale at Northcity4 on Thursday 31st October.


Making Conversation with SisterWorks and Northcityt4

Come and celebrate with us the launch of SisterWorks’ first window display this Saturday 12th October, 11am-3pm at Northcity4. We invited Sisterworks’s Minna Loft to let you know about this great project.

An exciting new partnership between Northcity4 and SisterWorks began in the workshop space of NC4 on 18th September.

As part of Northcity4’s ongoing window project SisterWorks has been invited to create an installation for the façade of NC4’s warehouse in Weston Street Brunswick. The collaborative artwork will be installed on Sat October 12 and will be on display until mid November.

SisterWorks is a social enterprise that provides practical support to women refugees and asylum seekers, assisting them to achieve economic independence as the makers of handcrafted products.

Always eager for new projects and partnerships, Sisterworks participants had a colourful day of creatively transforming recycled materials by cutting, sewing and weaving. It was a pleasure engaging with Northcity4 and feeling so welcomed into their creative space. It was an inspiring day of new relationships, sharing stories, food and the pleasure of creating something all together.

SisterWorks will present you with a colourful array of skillfully handcrafted products for sale and music to feast your ears. A tasty sausage sizzle will be on offer around midday.

Congratulations and many thanks to all participants involved.


And don’t forget our seminar about just these types of cultural exchanges. EXCHANGES on Thursday 31st October 6-8pm.


SisterWorks had a great day in the NC4 studio creating the pieces for the installation from left to right: Lhakpa, Minna, Luz, Maria, Jane, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Mikaela, Andrea, Alina, Batoul, Saida and Ronya

SisterWorks had a great day in the NC4 studio creating the pieces for the installation
from left to right: Lhakpa, Minna, Luz, Maria, Jane, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Mikaela, Andrea, Alina, Batoul, Saida and Ronya

Minna and Lhakpa Chodon making an H

Minna and Lhakpa Chodon making an H

A taste of what is to come...

A taste of what is to come…


Emma Grace Launch


Congratulations to Emma Grace for a fantastic event on Thursday July 25th to launch the outcome of her EG + NC4 sustainable jewellery Pozible project. Lots of wonderful people attended the evening and sipped mulled wine, admired and engaged with Emma’s new works.

Emma gave an excellent presentation about the processes and decisions she made while designing her new range of sustainable contemporary jewellery. She walked us through the steps that have lead to a group of work with a heavily reduced environmental impact/footprint. The outcome is a collection of clean, crisp designs in earrings and pendants based on a hand cut disc in varying sizes and embellished with small off-cuts and delicate impressions in a palate of soft colours.


Tomorrow’s Harvest – Emma Grace

The central piece is a conceptual art work incorporating hand-cut sections from fallen Silver Birch branches collected on her walks to her studio at NC4. A large silver disc is bound by recycled pink florist’s wire to a reticulated branch combining an organic branch with a clean simple form. The branch is then dripping with smaller discs cut from laminex and secured to the branch but still able to move and shimmer. Tiny marquisates are recessed directly into the surface of the branch giving occasional winks as you move past the piece.

Through creating this collection Emma has resolved many production and material solutions and is in a great position to present her new collection to galleries, with the potential to expand the collection further once it hits the shelf.

Thank you Emma for the opportunity to work together and we wish you all the best with your collection and future endeavours.








Photosynthesis – Jess Kelly

We miss Jess Kelly. Jess is one of our ex-studio buddies and we were very sad to see her go. However, we are very excited to see that she has an exhibition coming up. It’s on at the Brunswick Art Space from 3 – 18 August 2013. Opening night is Friday 2 August, from 6pm. Brunswick Arts Space is at 2a Little Breese St, Brunswick VIC 3056

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Jess Kelly exhibition image

“This body of work examines the phenomena of photosynthesis through visual metaphor rather than accepted scientific doctrine. Kelly illustrates her findings with a series of large as life paper models that chronologically depict the slow metamorphosis of a light turning in to a tree.

Photosynthesis is the process in which green plants use light and chlorophyll to convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen. Photosynthesis is argued to have been the catalyst for the evolution of complex life on earth.”

Go Jess!

ReProject – ReStitch

Remember when we did this at Northcity4 back in April?

Well Mayssam Latif has made a short doco about the project. It’s a beautiful film and it was all shot at the Northcity4 studio in Brunswick!


ReProject – Re Stitch from re project on Vimeo.

filmed and edited by Jordan James from Citizen X Productions


Emma Grace and Northcity4 Sustainable Jewellery Project


Emma Grace and Ali Limb have recently completed their six month mentor exchange at Northcity4 and on Thursday July 25 Emma and Ali will report back to all their wonderful supporters on the outcomes of this collaboration.

We invite you to join us to learn more about the process, and to preview Emma’s elegant new jewellery collection.

During the exchange, Emma and Ali met weekly to discuss and implement changes to both Emma’s jewellery practise and NC4’s environmental initiatives.

It has been an exciting process and the results have been rewarding. Thank you to everyone who supported the Pozible campaign that made this experience possible.

Please rsvp if you’d like to come along, remember to dress warmly and there will be delicious mulled wine to keep us warm.

NC4 Project Space applications NOW OPEN!

Northcity4’s newly spivved up Project Space is ready for someone to come and warm up the seat.


There is one space available as the other is currently occupied by the lovely Jin-Ah Jo.

The Project Space is designed to give contemporary jewellers and small object makers the opportunity to work from an established studio for 3-6 months.  So if you identify as one of the following please check out the details on our website.

  • Recent graduate
  • Post graduate
  • Completing a special project
  • Working on a grant outcome
  • Undertaking a mentorship

Deadline for applications is 5pm Monday 17th June 2013. Successful applicant will be notified by June 30th.

If you have any queries please contact Romani.





New Faces at Northcity4

They moved in a while ago, we know, but we’re finally getting around to introducing you to the two new artists working from the Northcity4 studio spaces; Andrew Phillips and Michael Wong. We first caught up with Andrew Phillips and asked him a few questions about his practice and might we say that anyone who thinks jewellers are sexy and cool is welcome any time at Northcity4 (Humphrey really likes him too!)

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still from ‘Self-Loathing and Ambition Drink Together’

You are currently a lecturer at NMIT. What do you hope to get out of working in a shared studio?

I don’t fit very neatly into any specific discipline so the fluidity of an open studio suits the way I think about and make work. Teaching over the years has reinforced my belief that creative practice is first and foremost a learning opportunity for me, and this is more dynamic in a shared collaborative environment. Jewellers are also very sexy people to hang out with. All those skills and tools and their innate reverence for physicality. Actually I’m at Northcity4 hoping that some of their coolness will rub off on me.

Can you describe your practice to us?

I have been steadily developing my practice in a committed way since 2003. In this ten year period the focus has shifted from traditional mixed media objects to performative works and the documentation of their processes and materiality. My ideas seem to be comfortable in low relief spaces and film is a natural domain for this kind of physical and temporal compression. Essentially I make small objects and maquettes and use them as theatrical constituents for films and performances.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Connections inspire me. Whilst I haven’t actually read The Dice Man, George Cockcroft’s 1971 cult classic about a psychiatrist who begins making life decisions based on the casting of dice basically sums things up as far as the idea of being in the moment goes, although I think he had more sinister overtones. To be unencumbered by obsessions with the past or the future, so that you are able to look for clues as to what might happen next in the present. It makes life a game that can be subtle or off the charts.  Give up control. Go on.

What are some of the themes you like to explore in your video work?

I guess to follow on from that I’m broadly concerned with the impacts of identification. Specifically my work looks at public and private exchanges predominantly through role-play. I’m trying to constantly develop characters, scenarios, and narratives that will explore the idea of a variegated identity as a strategy to attack homogeneity. Down with sameness, although stereotypes can be such fun can’t they!

Can you tell us what you’re working on?

In 2011 I took a video of myself making ephemeral sculpture with curb-side junk at a public bus station in Kuala Lumpur. As an idea it’s been on the shelf for a while due to life getting in the way but it excites me. This is why I wanted to get in with the Northcity4 crew, to get back into creating and making the things that are going on for me. Watch this space.

What is your favourite tool or piece of equipment and why?

I have a lovely piece of copper pipe that I use to read compost temperature.  Keeps the muck off the thermometer but is obviously great for transferring heat evenly.  Something I learnt playing around with biodynamic agriculture.  In fact I think many of my favourite tools are garden related.  Long handled fork/shovel, post driver, sieves to name a few. It’s all about the growing.

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still from a work in progress filmed in Kuala Lumpur 2011

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film still

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prop from one of Andrew’s films

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still from ‘Self-Loathing and Ambition Drink Together’


NC4 signage projection from Andrew Phillips on Vimeo where you can see more of Andrew’s films