“Strengthen the Bonds Between Art and Daily Life”: Why You Should Get Involved With BAD Festival

As we come up for air and begin to return to a semblance of normality in terms of events here in Australia, there’s no better time to get out and support your local creative community. 

Next month, the Brisbane Art Design (BAD) Festival will see Brisbane transformed in a month-long program of exhibitions, open-studios, outdoor interventions, talks, tours, workshops and more, led by Museum of Brisbane.

Taking place from Friday 7 May to Sunday 30 May and featuring more than 60 venues across the city, the festival aims to shine a light on the best of Brisbane’s art and design.

“BAD is a city-wide place-making program allowing us to tell the stories of the city and we are delighted to see that it has gone from 27 to over 60 venues in its second iteration, allowing the community to celebrate the incredible talent within our city,” Renai Grace, Museum of Brisbane Director, says. “BAD is emerging as an important platform for the creative arts sector in Brisbane that has thrived for decades.” 

Ahead of the festival, we caught up with Daniel Templeman, the event’s executive producer, to find out why we should be supporting the arts now more than ever and all the things not to miss! 


image (left to right) JAMES HORNSBY, MAS & MIEK CERAMIC HOUSE.

Tell us about the original inspiration for Brisbane Art Design?

As the name implies, BAD is a bit fun – a bit cheeky. By taking a playful approach to the sector, BAD allows us to break down some of the barriers to art and design. We want to build a city of art and design ambassadors, who know where the great galleries, artist-run initiatives and design houses are, and where to grab a good bite or drink along the way. The hope is to strengthen the bonds between art and daily life, we want future BADs to announce a city-wide creative splash. We want to celebrate our creative sector while facilitating collaboration – everyone can be BAD.

Why do you think it’s important to showcase the thriving Brisbane arts sector – particularly in a post-COVID world?

Now more than ever, audiences are hungry to understand more about their local creatives and support them. Artists and designers are our storytellers, they connect people with the past, with ideas, with place and, of course, with each other. That is the power of the arts – connection –  and it has been sorely missed.

What makes the Brisbane creative scene so special?

To my mind Brisbane is a great place to work, and creative people live to work. You need your own space while still being connected and Brisbane offers that. Brisbane does, however, suffer a little from modesty; we are not the best at blowing our own horn. Perhaps it is deliberate, perhaps we are trying to keep this place a secret, but I think it is more about a work ethic that means we are happier in the studio than in the limelight. The collective creative output is phenomenal, and understated.



Why should people get involved?

BAD will be laying on a feast of art and design in the most user-friendly of ways. We have tours, we have a brilliant website, we have talks, workshops exhibitions, up-lates and performances all designed to inspire and connect. Our schedules are based on proximity, making it easy for audiences to move from venue to venue. The city becomes a ‘player’ in BAD, as we draw out the unique character of our BAD neighbourhoods with tours that speak beyond the in-venue programming to reveal the role they play in the creative ecology.

What are your ‘must-see’ things in this year’s stacked festival program? 

Weekend one will see BAD focus on the CBD and I can’t wait to see RMXTV at Museum of Brisbane. We wanted to create something that spoke to the essence of BAD, a new initiative that celebrates collaboration and tests ideas. What better way than engaging ex-Brisbane, now LA-based creative Steve Alexander to guide a group of local artists through an improvised workshop all from video prompts.

Botanica in the City Botanic Gardens will no doubt be brilliant. Now in its third year it is quickly becoming Australia’s leading site-specific public art event. Moving Botanica to an after-dark event will give it a different feel in 2021, and I am really looking forward to seeing the gardens lit with art.

Weekend two we are in the Valley and 15 May is jam packed. We start the day with Radical Localism, one enormous fashion exhibit on King Street. In the afternoon there are exhibitions and artist talks galore, but it is the evening I am looking forward to most with three local artists creating one-off outdoor events – Sandra Selig at the St Patrick’s Church, Visaya Hoffie in James Street and Callum McGrath at Living Edge.

Amongst our brilliant weekend three, or Northside offering, there is a fantastic day of open-studios across Ross and Wickham streets in Newstead. With artist-embellished Ivy Niu dresses on display at Newstead Studios, and Stephen Hart and Michael Eather opening their studios, you are bound to be inspired.

Our final weekend has so much to offer, but if I had to choose, I would head to Fish Lane in South Brisbane for an all-Indigenous lineup of projections, performances, markets, and talks. Curated by BlakLash, it is sure to send BAD off on the right note.

BAD Festival takes over Brisbane 7 May – 30 May. Follow the link here to see the full program.