Brisbane curator Lani Pauli interviews Beck Waite from The Edge, SLQ.
Tell us more about how you ended up at The Edge…
In truth I was aiming for GoMA… but towards the end of my time at uni I was offered a six week, part time gig with State Library doing some project support work for a new digital culture centre they were launching. At this stage the building was still a construction site and the team that would open the doors was still to be hired. Even so, the vision that State Library held for this space was compelling and the six weeks turned into three months, which turned into six months and suddenly I had forgotten about my original intentions and found myself happily working at The Edge!
There is no end to the cool stuff that is happening in our industries. For me, working a lot with creativity in the context of public institutions, I get excited about projects like Fayetteville Free Library’s maker space (a concept that we are working on for The Edge), which turns a place of learning into a place of creating. I love it when people decide to use digital for good and not evil, like the Code Year project that is running in 2012 and I love that creativity can be used as an excuse to hang algae from the ceilings!
Cleaning schools. I used to get up of a morning and work out creative ways to get PVA glue out of carpets, permanent marker off whiteboards and that rotten apple smell out of bag racks. I learnt how to make windows shiny and streak free, I learnt how to manoeuvre four scrap-filled wheelie bins up and down hills in tandem and I learned that if I started work at 4am I could cram a lot more into my day!
Learning the language of nerd. Each quarter we change our theme at The Edge, from Gaming, to DIY Tech and Bioscience. These were unchartered territory for me. Languages like Python, C+ and Processing weren’t on my radar, I didn’t know to get excited when a RepRap turned up on our desk and if you had of asked me if ‘Arduino’ was a proper noun I would have looked at you in confusion. Nowdays, I still spend a lot of time confused, but I love talking to those people that know this stuff inside out and enjoy the process of getting my head around it too.
The biggest challenge and opportunity are one and the same for me: learning to recognise and celebrate creativity outside of traditional ‘creative industries’. It is very easy to confine a discussion of Brisbane as a creative city by focusing on our ability to be entrepreneurial in business or push the boundaries in the arts. But I think that a truly exciting, creative city is one that applauds innovative and progressive practice across all sectors, from health and science right through to the likes of education, agriculture, transport and mining.
For me? I delight in not knowing! I’ve always enjoyed taking life as it comes and having the freedom to go where the opportunities take me.
You can follow Beck on Twitter here.