Sarah Cooper first encountered the blueprint for The Brainery Store while studying in New York, when she stumbled upon a night school project named The Brooklyn Brainery.
A space where anyone could speak on any nominated topic of their choice, any night of the week, Cooper was taken by the Brooklyn project’s accessibility and affordability, and upon returning to Australia she began to re-imagine what a similar concept could look like in Melbourne.
Careful not to create a mere replica in a Melbourne setting, Cooper has reworked the concept into a venture quite different from her original source of inspiration. What has manifested is a pop-up, lecture-based initiative called The Brainery Store, with its first temporary home out in Geelong.
The idea behind the choice of location is to bring the creative and educational resource to a locality less typically saturated with such creative community initiatives. “Why do you have to live in Northcote for stuff like this to be accessible?” asks Cooper.
The Brainery Store’s Winter + Spring term will launch at the end of this month at Boom Gallery in Geelong with 21st century hunter-gatherer and author Rohan Anderson sharing his thoughts at the first of five fortnightly pop-ups.
The following weeks will feature lectures from and discussions with local designers Sibling, Nick Ray from the Ethical Consumer Group, photographer Stephanie Somebody and Vanessa Kwiatkowski and Mat Lumalasi from Melbourne City Rooftop Honey, who Cooper says are all just “excited to share their knowledge” and stories in a more personal environment.
At the end of the term of fortnightly pop-ups in Geelong, The Brainery Store will pack up and move to a new temporary home. Excited by the possibility of taking The Brainery Store to Kyneton and Healesville after Geelong, Cooper is already dreaming up interstate potential. She hopes that just as learning is a form of mental exploration, The Brainery Store itself will be “always exploring” as it moves around, gaining unique knowledge and a history of its own from the people and places it encounters during each term.
The Brainery Store launches on Wednesday July 31 at Boom Gallery in Geelong with lecture bookings available here.