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Journal - Interviews, Profiles, Stories

Journal: Phoebe Porter


Fringe Furniture exhibition, Former Industrial School (Image: Katie Harmsworth)

The Convent hosts a growing number of cultural events. The Fringe Furniture Exhibition was held in the former industrial school for the first time last year. The previously disused space with its layers of peeling paint and concrete floor was the perfect setting for this show for which Mercator tenant Justin Hutchinson designed the exhibition installation.


One of the entries, a stunning chandelier from Sally Mill’s “Spring Collection”, was acquired by the Convent for its growing collection of artworks. Made from reclaimed bedsprings it now hangs in one of the glorious stairwell landings in the main convent building (formally the nun’s dormitories, so appropriate!).


On the lower landing hangs “Peggy Sue” a piece made by former Mercator tenant Volker Haug for our State of Design exhibition in 2010.

There are artworks to be found dotted throughout the Convent grounds and buildings. It’s a pleasure to come across these. Sometimes they are the legacy of particular exhibitions or events and sometimes they are created especially for a specific site. One of my favourites is this television by animator Sal Cooper:


Currently, the Sacred Heart courtyard is the home of The Shadow Electric, an independent open-air cinema screening Thursday through Sunday during the summer months. They have set up a fabulous bar in the industrial school, complete with table tennis!


For ex-Canberrans (such as myself) this is particularly nostalgic as it pays homage to our own beloved independent art house cinema Electric Shadows that sadly closed its doors in 2006. From its first screening in 1979, Electric Shadows screened high quality, often limited release films and was known for its quirky programming style and informal atmosphere. The Convent’s Shadow Electric continues in this tradition, even down to details details such as the pre-feature animated shorts and uncomfortable seating!