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Interview with Louise Brough and Kate Pullen, Curators of Locker Room Talk

Louise Brough and Kate Pullen. Photograph by Shannyn Higgins (@shannynhiggins)

Note: As of 5 August 2021, this event has been postponed. Keep in the loop for when new dates are announced.

Listen up. Something super cool is happening in Melbourne. And you can attend in-person, or get involved online! Locker Room Talk, an exhibition and trio of events, will “bring together a diverse group of speakers, creatives and brands to celebrate all women, trans, and non-binary folk, to spark meaningful and positive conversation”.

We’re pumped to interview the curators of Locker Room Talk, Louise Brough and Kate Pullen. Read on to hear more about the story behind the exhibition, and get a taste of what we can expect! Here at Shillington we’re especially excited to check out #ShilloMEL teacher Bonnie Eichelberger and #ShilloMEL graduates Ashley Ronning and Carla Scotto.

What is Locker Room Talk?

Locker Room Talk is a contemporary art exhibition and event series that aims to spark meaningful conversations and empower and celebrate all women, trans, and non-binary folk. It is presented by frankie and curated by letterer Kate Pullen and designer Louise Brough.

For one week only (August 9 – 15) Kate and Lou (that’s us!), alongside our presenting partner frankie, will transform Melbourne’s No Vacancy Gallery into our dream locker room. It’s going to be both an exhibition space and an event venue, bringing together a diverse group of speakers and incredible artists.

In addition to the artwork there’ll be a panel discussion we think Shillington students will love.

Five women who work within the creative industry – Maria Montes, Aimee Carruthers, Rachel Worcou, Katarina Matic, Jes Harris – will be sharing different experiences from throughout their careers and chatting about things like, the importance of growing your own community, as well as the struggle to build a work identity, especially when your job and sense of self are so tightly linked. 

There’ll also be a great Q&A with our fave sexologist Chantelle Otten. If you’re not yet familiar with Chantelle, do yourself a favour and go and check out her Insta (@chantelle_otten_sexologist). We’ll be chatting all things sexual health, pleasure and relationships. Plus, it’s an opportunity to ask any of your own burning questions, too (anonymously if you’d like, this is all about being comfortable!). 

And if you’re not in Melbourne, don’t worry! We have you covered – both of these events will be available to view online, so anyone around the world can come and join us at Locker Room Talk. 

Photograph by Shannyn Higgins (@shannynhiggins)

Why is this art space important?

We really craved a joyful space that celebrated all women, trans, and non-binary folk. A space that highlighted the incredible talent of these artists, and demonstrated their strength, hard work, and diverse experiences. We also wanted it to be a space that encouraged new connections and positive conversations. 

So that’s why, in the artist brief, we asked each artist, ‘what do you want to talk about?’ We really wanted to hand it over to them so that they were able to direct the conversation.

The phrase locker room talk has so many negative connotations; it conjures up images of really negative and derogatory conversations, held in private, between a group of men. And so the show aims to break down the exclusivity that exists and place women, trans and non-binary folk at the centre of the dialogue.

Who should attend?

Everybody! If you’re in Melbourne we’d love for you to come down and say hi. Take the time to check out the space and the art, maybe come along to an event, and take the opportunity to connect with some new people who are interested in similar stuff. 

Any artists or speakers you’re especially excited to have on board?

Where do we start! All of the artists involved have been so thorough and thoughtful in their response to this brief. We’re very grateful to have them all on board and we can tell you, we’ve had a sneak peek of their pieces and they are amazing! Plus, we even have some Shillington grads – hello Ashley Ronning and Carla Scotto! Check out the full line-up to see all of the wonderful people involved, but just to give you a *hint* of the magic – Eleonora Arosio, Mimi Leung, Kit Palaskas, Pey Chi, and Brook Gossen are all creating (and selling) pieces.

All of this artwork will provide us with a beautiful backdrop for our speaker events, and we’re stoked for Maria Montes, Katarina Matic, Rachel Worcou, Aimee Carruthers and Jes Harris to share their experiences whilst working in the creative industry.

How can people get involved—online or in-person?

It’s free to come and view the exhibition, and if you’d like to buy a ticket to one of the speaker events (whether that’s in person or online), head to www.lockerroomtalk.com.au/events.

If you do make it down to the gallery, be sure to come and say hi to us (Kate and Lou)! We so appreciate the support and would love to meet you and have a chat! For all the details…

Locker Room Talk exhibition

Monday 9 – Sunday 15 of August, Free

Monday 1pm – 5pm
Tuesday, Wednesday 8am – 4pm
Thursday 8am – 6pm
Friday 8am – 9pm
Saturday, Sunday 1 – 4pm 

Q&A with psycho-sexologist Chantelle Otten

Tuesday 10th August, 6:30pm – 8pm
Tickets $40 (in person), $10 (online recording)
This event will be Auslan interpreted

In the Locker Room Panel Discussion

Wednesday 11th August, 6:30pm – 8pm
Tickets $30 (in person), $10 (online recording)
This event will be Auslan interpreted

Friday Night

Espresso martinis and tunes
Friday 13th August, 6pm – 9pm, Free entry
Register online – https://bit.ly/3BrloVZ

Kate and Louise—how did you two powerhouses team up? What’s it like collaborating on such a big initiative like this?

We met through a mutual friend (the talented Cat Wall) a few years ago. (Editors note: Cat Wall is a Shillington Melbourne graduate!) Lou was putting on her first charity exhibition and Kate had done something similar a few years earlier. We caught up, ate dumplings, and chatted about various creative projects. Neither of us knew back then that we’d join forces on a new exhibition years later. And actually, that’s another thing that has us super excited about Locker Room Talk – you just don’t know who you might meet and what future collaborations it may create!

The process of Locker Room Talk has been both fun and challenging. We’ve had to roll with the punches as we battle grant applications (unsuccessfully), repeated lockdowns, and swapping dumplings for Zoom calls (boo). But, despite the slight obstacles and hurdles, it’s been such a pleasure watching it all evolve, and learning about each step in the process as we take it.

We’ve also both been really open about where we’re at with our mental health and what we’re struggling with at different times – so being able to have those conversations has made a big difference with how we’ve collaborated. Open and honest communication ftw! 

Finally, we have to acknowledge the great support we’ve had from so many, it makes a huge difference. We’re just two people, and so the enthusiasm and support from artists, speakers, friends, other creatives, and brands has been wonderful. Our sponsors – and the individual staff members that really pushed for their organisation to back Locker Room Talk – have made this possible, and so a big shoutout to our presenting partner frankie, and our sponsors Who Gives A Crap, Minor Figures, Wacom, Streamtime, and Moody Incense. It really does feel as if we have this gang behind us, cheering us on and helping get Locker Room Talk off the ground. And in return, we hope that we’re creating something that can inspire and excite everyone involved.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Just an acknowledgement of the power of meeting new people; having seemingly random conversations and not knowing where they’ll lead. Maybe someone will purchase one of the artworks and, having it in their home then sparks a brand new idea. Who knows, it might even result in you both organising a group exhibition 😉

Finally, we’d just love to get to know all of you! So please come and join the party over on Instagram @locker.room.talk.au, and then head to our website lockerroomtalk.com.au where you can learn more about all of the artists and speakers, as well as grabbing tickets for any of our events. Closer to the event there’ll be even more available online – we’ll be opening up the artworks for presale as well as releasing a limited line of merch – so all of our interstate and international friends, you can snag yourself a piece, too! If you want to be first in the know, head to lockerroomtalk.com.au and register for email updates.

You can also check out our work outside of Locker Room Talk at http://www.katepullendraws.com/ and https://louisebrough.com/ We’re a chatty pair, so feel free to drop us a line and say hi. Thanks so much for having us, Shillo!

So, what are you waiting for? Head over to Locker Room Talk now to learn more and grab tickets.Huge thanks to Lou and Kate for giving us this special look behind-the-scenes of such a fun, creative initiative!

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