Docklands’ Waterfront City is slowly coming to life, driven in great part by the young creatives who have built a professional home in the otherwise vacant office spaces.
A second floor commercial tenancy is occupied by a group of independent editors, writers, magazine publishers and music record distributors. The creative office share is led by the tremendous talent behind Archer Magazine and The Lifted Brow.
The subsidised rental agreement between the loosely termed Umbrella Publishing Collective and the Dockland’s landlord provides great support for the various arts groups that work and meet in the space. It is the reciprocal benefit to Docklands, however which cannot be underestimated.
For the past two years Archer and The Lifted Brow has drawn countless groups to the often desolate precinct with monthly drinks nights, magazine launches and music gigs in association with Melbourne Music Week. They have been instrumental in galvanising a Dockland’s creative community that has grown between their office and Clare Design’s Library at the Dock.
Home to Archer Magazine and The Lifted Brow.
Amy Middleton, the tour de force behind Archer Magazine bases her business out of the space. The benefits of coming into Docklands for work go beyond having somewhere to store her excess magazines. For Amy, the space provides a tangible projection of where her business is at. An office space physically and mentally provides the room for growth that didn’t exist when the magazine was just a idea on a laptop. Archer magazine has grown to support a number of writers, photographers and artists. The office space is a place for the team to meet beyond emails and dropbox, providing hot desk space for interstate contributors and a neutral space to meet professional suppliers.
Getting a business off the ground can be enormously isolating. When your workplace is your bedroom laptop, the inability to switch off and separate yourself can be very unhealthy. Room to move, to meet, to collaborate and to think is crucial for the brainstorming and perspective required to navigate the significant challenges of a startup.
Sam Cooney is the publisher of The Lifted Brow, an arts group that produces a body of work supporting creative writers, performers and artists. For Sam, having a room of one’s own is the rock in the often rootless life of a freelancer.
Without the security and the space to call your professional home, freelance life can be plagued with a lack of belonging. Coupled with the stress of not knowing when you’ll next be paid, the financial and social instability poses significant mental health risks. It’s spaces like the Docklands office that are so important to bring people together, giving room for the creative community to meet and grow.
Having a number of groups in one space has bred cross collaboration. Archer and The Lifted Brow use the same printer and distributor and often share contributors. The fluctuating pool of hot deskers bring a group of likeminded people to share a cup of tea and vent with.
To secure the space the group went through a 10 month application process, securing one of a handful of spaces from a pool of 90 applicants. The office furniture was given new life from film set props and Savers. The group covers the bond of the space and basic insurance on the basis of a monthly rental renewal, the space coming with the risk that they could be given 30 days notice to vacate at any point.
That point has now regrettably come and the four magazines that occupy the creative office share are in need of a new home. If there is office space available to support these groups that you may know of, please get in contact with Amy at archermagazine.com.au or samatthebrow at gmail.com.
The office provides more than just water views and ferns.