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Creative Industries Precinct set to take centre stage

5th January 2004

A new generation of Queensland talent is about to move into QUT's $60 million Creative Industries Precinct.

From March, the Kelvin Grove development will be home to budding young actors, designers, dancers, writers, journalists, musicians, multimedia experts, production people, and film-makers.

The university's Creative Industries faculty is re-locating to this purpose-built, high-tech hub which will link students with industry more than ever before.

Theatres, performance areas, teaching spaces, computer labs and production studios will be mixed with the "real world" influence of an enterprise centre for innovative businesses and the new La Boite theatre-in-the-round.

The precinct's striking buildings were designed by the Hassell/MGT architect consortium, built by Abigroup last year, and fitted out by Creative Industries technicians over summer.

For the public passing by on Kelvin Grove Road, one of the stand-out features will be Australia's biggest billboard.

The massive 45m by 9m board will stretch across the precinct's main building and showcase Australian art.

The project to unite experimentation, education, innovation and business in the one high-tech precinct has already drawn attention from business and political circles, with Queensland premier Peter Beattie and former prime minister Bob Hawke among those given a sneak preview late last year.

The State Government has a stake in the precinct's success, having contributed $15 million in funding.

The Creative Industries Precinct is also part of Brisbane's newest "mini-suburb" - the Kelvin Grove Urban Village.

This dynamic inner-city area has been created on the old Gona army barracks site and redeveloped by the State Government and QUT.

It will include residential apartments for students and the elderly, a shopping centre and sports facilities.

QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake said the urban village represented a shift in the way universities interacted with the community.

"We are moving away from the old notion of 'town' separated from 'gown' and will have a mix of new education and innovation facilities integrated with the residential, commercial, retail and community facilities in the village," he said.

"The first of these will be the new high-tech hub for students, businesses and the public in the $60 million Creative Industries Precinct.

"QUT will then focus its efforts on the next major facility, the $50 million Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, scheduled for completion in late 2005.''

Professor Coaldrake said the university would make the facilities open to the public and the village community and that there would be an innovative program of exhibitions and performances for the public to experience.

QUT graduates already making waves in creative fields include AFI and Logie winning actor Deborah Mailman (The Secret Life of Us), Blue Heelers star Paul Bishop, popular Sunday Mail columnist Frances Whiting, Channel Nine head of sport Chris Bombolas, Totally Wild reporter Jasmine Geisel and artist Anne Wallace.

Creative Industries' director of advancement, Professor Peter Lavery, said students would get their first taste of the precinct when semester one kicked off in March.

"We've got about 2500 students in the faculty and all of the students will use it at some stage," he said.

"It's a high-tech facility and it's the leading facility of its type in Australia - it's of world-standard.

"Students will be crossing paths with people in multi-media companies, production companies."

Professor Lavery said summer's biggest fit-out job was relocating the faculty's TV studio from Peel Street at South Brisbane to Kelvin Grove.

The precinct also houses high-powered computers and "fat pipe" communication links delivering Australia's greatest digital media headquarters.

- Mechelle Webb

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