Case Study

Boyd School Studios

Artists contribute to the city's urban regeneration, quality of life, celebration of place, community well-being, cultural tourism, social inclusion, community building and creativity... The presence of artists making work within the inner city is a major component in the enhancement of the city's vitality and attractiveness. - 'Housing the Arts' report, City of Melbourne, September 2007

The City of Melbourne
207 - 229 City Rd Southbank

How was the space first identified and who was contacted to secure it?

The former J.H Boyd Girls' High School was bought by the City of Melbourne from the State Government in December 2007 with the express intention of developing a community centre and open space supported by commercial development with an integrated affordable housing component. The Arts and Culture Branch of the City of Melbourne put forward a proposal to Council in 2008 to use the 1970s building on the property as artist studios until Council needed it for redevelopment.

What was required to secure the space?

Council needed to endorse the project before any work could be undertaken to transform the building into artist studios. Council also needed to be reassured that artists were prepared to accept a month to month licence for the spaces and would vacate the building when Council needed it for redevelopment.

Funding was required for building works. This was obtained through the City's 'Housing the Arts' fund.

What needed to be provided by you as hirer or user of the space?

A building permit was required to undertake the works necessary to make the building compliant as well as a report and budget prepared to show how the space would have a successful outcome.

What were the costs?

Approximately $30 000 was expended to make the building compliant with building codes. This included a building permit (approximately $700), cleaning, fire extinguishers and emergency lighting, an electronic key system, external gates and internal structural work.

What were the resources available to you?

The Creative Spaces website was the resource used to promote the studios to artists. Artists that had registered their interest in temporary spaces on the website were contacted and shown the spaces before a formal application for a specific space was lodged.

The City of Melbourne's legal team prepared the licences for the studios but all other aspects were managed by the Creative Spaces Manager. This included contracting tradesmen and overseeing the work of the building, drawing up the licences for the artists, liaising with various departments within Council, and ensuring artists were accommodated in suitable spaces for their practice.

Who helped you to fit it out?

Artists are responsible for fitting out their studios.

What were/are the obstacles?

The initial set up costs were daunting. Compliancy works were originally estimated at $65,000 but were fortunately achieved at a lesser amount. There was also competition from other teams in Council that wanted to use the building for other purposes.

What were/are the risks?

There are always security and financial risks attached to property. Failure to recoup set up costs, damage to property and injury to occupants are the main risks. Fortunately there are systems in place to help minimise risk. A risk assessment is mandatory to ensure the right measures have been taken to address any risk identified by the report.