Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art
Would you embrace a stranger in the back of a stationary truck? What sound would 100 plastic keyboards make when they simultaneously play the same key? Can a tightrope made from cheap plastic hold an adult man’s weight?

All of these questions and more will be answered when Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art takes over Carriageworks for its annual showcase. This 10-day program, presented by Performance Space, is packed with a mix of theatre, performance, contemporary dance, music and immersive parties featuring artists hailing from Australia and the Asia Pacific.

Not to be missed is artist collective Applespiel’s live-gaming spectacle that invites audiences to play a 2004 video game that puts players in the shoes of a refugee held in immigration detention. The gaming experience will be accompanied by esports-inspired live commentary from the artists and human rights advocates. It’s also worth checking out xhe, a kaleidoscopic installation that immerses audiences in an imaginative world through dance and live electronic music; and Day For Night, a 12-hour performance art party celebrating the history of Sydney’s queer underground party scene.

Liveworks is at Carriageworks from October 18 to 28. Tickets are available here.

Prizes galore
From painting and sculpture to emerging and established artists, here are the award exhibitions that should be on your radar.

At the 18th annual Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, you’ll see the avocado toast saga continued in resin form with finalists Julia and Ken Yonetani’s sculpture Avocado Toast: the reality sandwich priced at more than a million bucks – the median price of a house in Sydney or Melbourne. Of the 48 intriguing finalist sculptures, the winners will be announced at the exhibition launch on October 19.

Knock out two prizes in one with a visit to UNSW Galleries this month. On show are 10 past and present recipients of the Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship for Emerging Artists. The exhibition includes everything from video work to kinetic sound sculpture, with the five 2018 recipients set to undertake residencies or further study in their chosen country over the next year. Open concurrently is the finalists’ exhibition for the annual John Fries Award. There’s $10,000 prize money up for grabs and 600 entries were whittled down to just 12 finalists; you can expect multisensory artworks from some of Australia and New Zealand’s leading early career artists.

On the more established side, this year’s $50,000 acquisitive Mosman Art Prize (winners have been collected since 1947) has been snapped up by 24-year-old Natasha Walsh for her hauntingly beautiful oil on copper painting, The Cicada. Catch a glimpse of the winning self-portrait alongside 105 other finalist paintings at the annual exhibition of Australia’s oldest and most prestigious public art award.

The Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize is on at Woollahra Council from October 20 to November 11.

The Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship and the John Fries Award are on at UNSW Galleries until November 3.

Mosman Art Prize is on at Mosman Art Gallery until November 18.

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre
Two new exhibitions are opening at this former 1950s power station.

Landless Bodies brings together the work of six Moroccan and Arab-Australian artists to probe the global experiences of women in the public and domestic space. Look out for Batoul S'himi’s carved pressure cookers, a clever symbol for contemporary female anxieties; and stay for the insightful artist panel discussion on October 6.

Not to be missed is the October 11 launch of Oceania Rising: Wayfinders, featuring contemporary artists of Oceania heritage and their response to the impacts of climate change in their region. Presented as part of the Oceania Rising Project – a joint climate-change initiative of the Australian Museum and Blacktown Arts Centre – the launch will showcase traditional and contemporary performances by First Nations dancer Amrita Hepi, performance artist Angela Tiatia and more.

Landless Bodies and Oceania Rising: Wayfinders are on at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre from October 6 to November 11.

Sydney Craft Week
If you’re a lover of the handmade, this is a must for your October calendar. Now in its second year, this annual festival, presented by Australian Design Centre (ADC), is a week-long showcase of contemporary ceramicists, Indigenous makers, jewellers, textile artists and every type of creative in between.

This year’s diverse program totals more than 200 events spread across 89 venues throughout Sydney and include everything from exhibitions, talks and workshops to craft markets, open studios and live demonstrations. There’s the chance to learn how to tattoo cloth, try your hand at a pottery workshop, handcraft a new toy for your beloved furry friend, view traditional Afghani textiles, make your own reusable bags and so much more.

Not to be missed is In These Hands: Mara nyangangka, an exhibition from the artists of Ernabella Arts, Australia’s oldest Indigenous arts centre, that this year is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

And for keen buyers, the Makers and Shakers Market on October 6 will offer a smorgasbord of homemade homewares, gourmet food and artisan products; and ADC’s own outdoor makers market on October 13 will take over Palmer Street, just outside the gallery, with stalls by Sydney’s best craftspeople.

While not an official part of the festival, Carriageworks will also host the South East Aboriginal Arts Market on October 6 – a perfect opportunity to admire the traditional and contemporary work from emerging and established south-eastern Aboriginal artists.

Sydney Craft Week is at Australian Design Centre and various other venues from October 5 to 14. See the full program here.

The Makers and Shakers Market is on at Marrickville Town Hall on Saturday October 6.

South East Aboriginal Arts Market is on at Carriageworks October 6 to 7.