At the beginning of last year we implemented Quiet Fridays at Regional Arts Victoria. Quiet Fridays allow full-time staff to frontload their Monday-to-Thursday so as to devote Fridays to their creative practice, making for a quieter office space to end the week. It’s just one way that we strive to create an inspiring workplace, in addition to fortnightly Staff Salons, Kitchen Kabinets, this blog, and our annual Creative Professional Development Retreat.
Devoting time to the development of creative work is essential to our wellbeing and identity, so we asked our staff how the initiative is going and what they get up to on their Fridays.
Aimee Fairman, Education & Families Administrator
As a practicing artist and jeweller, working for an organisation that recognises and validates the personal creative practices of its staff makes a world of difference. This difference is felt in the breathing space it provides around your art-making and art-thinking. In the way one works and feels while at work – spurring a desire to give back in response to this gift of acknowledgement. And, in the way one sees oneself. Having my art practice (which is so entwined with my creative, mental and emotional health) outwardly valued, allowed me the space to value it more. I no longer had to fight to justify its worth, or attempt to explain the need for time. It was simply known.
Joanna Gould, Education & Families Coordinator
I use my Quiets Fridays to work as a freelance creative producer and arts manager. I work with galleries and artists across Australia in roles such as Festival Director for the Gertrude Street Projection Festival and General Manager at Going Down Swinging. My creative practice is one of facilitation. I am passionate about making the connections between inspiration and actualisation. I get the greatest sense of achievement from being able to take care of the ‘logistics’ of art making, paving the way for makers to create beautiful and transformative things.
Liz Zito, Cultural Partnerships Manager
My Quiet Fridays are devoted to conducting family history and genealogical research. I began documenting my own personal journey through research in 2011, and I plan to produce a document to share with my family. So, on Fridays, I make the trek to the Genealogical Society of Victoria in the city to look at specific years’ files of births, deaths and marriages that I order from my parents’ villages in Calabria, Italy. I look for files that match our family names or, at home, I translate and sort information, recording stories about my ancestors, transcribing conversations with my relations, and writing about my experiences.
Suzi Cordell, Education & Families Manager
I dedicate time to quietening my spinning thoughts, to reflect, rest and clarify. Dedication is important – it takes practice and commitment. I draw breath, making and tending a garden, playing, being in nature, and letting my thoughts wander – making space. To delve into photography in nature is a small, quiet and very private joy right now. I’m writing, reading and seeing work that inspires and stretches me, which enhances my professional life and in turn leads to balance and calm.
Carolyn Lambert, Cultural Partnerships Coordinator
Since completing my Visual Arts degree, my practice has had peaks and troughs in dedication and output. Quiet Fridays allowed me to reawaken the creative part of my mind, providing an allotted time to think, dream and plan, and the time to start doing. I’ve attended conferences that I wouldn’t ordinarily be available to attend, and I’m rebuilding my passion for song writing. I’m teaching myself new production software and building a recording room as studio. Having a full day, (rather than a couple of hours here and there) has helped enormously in getting my artistic practice up and running.
Esther Anatolitis, Director
It’s been life-changing for me, with INDEX-SYSTEM exhibiting during March, as well as curating Digital Publics in February for UTV/Pause, and exploring my writing practice with new rigour. I’d started out by thinking about my own week structure and my own quiet Friday, and very quickly it turned into the question of how I could make this possible for everyone. I’ve been thrilled with what this has done for the Regional Arts Victoria culture, especially seeing everyone’s practice develop, and also the ways we discuss art more critically as well as more personally and passionately at our Staff Salons. Big love for the Quiet Friday.