Thanks to the internet, a universe of activities and information exists at our very fingertips – a wealth of information so vast that it often seems impossible to imagine a day without our keyboards, computer screens or smart phones. With all this available knowledge, it seems we can simply search, click and download our way to becoming graphic designer/sound engineer/terrarium master. But as an authority for our more creative enterprises and hobbies, the internet is lacking. There is only so much creativity and inspiration the World Wide Web can impart – real teachers and real life learning experiences can offer us so much more.
Chester Garcia and Matt Branagan have created Work Shop with the idea of forging a more tactile learning experience. Flanking the ever-captivating Fraser Property development site and amidst the burgeoning arts precinct that is Chippendale, Work Shop is a new creative and artistic learning hub. The space will play host to a great range of creative and sometimes quirky short courses, running seven days a week. There are lunchtime yoga or meditation classes, and then later in the evening you’ll be able to hone your digital photography skills, your tea appreciation expertise or your proficiency at tattoo illustration. The classes are affordable and some are even free (including yoga, a kids’ ukulele lesson and technology basics for seniors).
Work Shop’s glass display windows on Broadway display a motorcycle, a saw and an amplifier. It’s somewhat indicative of the diversity of courses listed on the Work Shop timetable. With a bit of something for everyone, the aim is to involve and engage a wide audience around the space. Teachers and mentors come from a pool of local Sydney talent: Sydney-based artist Ears is teaching a MPC (music production centre) class, Newton guys Young Henry’s will be taking a craft beer masterclass and award-winning stencil artist Syke will also be sharing her knowledge and skills, among countless others.
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When pitching their idea at TedX Sydney earlier this year, Garcia and Branagan underscored the importance of community to the core of Work Shop, saying they wanted to be able to “connect people with local creatives to share their knowledge in a fun, supportive environment”.
Work Shop also includes a gallery space, where new and emerging artists will have the opportunity to show their work. Materials for the courses will be sourced from local suppliers and the space will be open to community groups who need a place to meet, spread their message or become inspired. Work Shop aims to champion and foster the creative community already thriving around it and also to support a new engaged community from within its own walls.
Garcia and Branagan have said they “can’t wait to see Sydneysiders swap their iPhones and androids for hammers and paint brushes” and that they hope Work Shop will encourage what they are calling a “creative shift” currently channelling through the city’s streets. They hope the classes will satisfy this creative thirst, inspire new interests and hobbies or even spark some new career trajectories.
Rather than sitting at home, learning in dim solitude from internet educators like YouTube and Wikipedia, Work Shop looks to be a place in the real world where you can learn and collaborate with likeminded people from your neighbourhood – a place to sharpen old skills and learn new tricks.
A full list of the courses that Work Shop run is on their website.