Local Produce: Dunedin Dream Brokerage

Local Produce: Dunedin Dream Brokerage

If you’ve heard birdsong on George Street, or admired the rainbow lights adorning the street during Pride month, then you’ve experienced the mahi of Dunedin Dream Brokerage. We talked to Madison Kelly to learn more about this dynamic local organisation. 

The focus of Dunedin Dream Brokerage is all in its name. Under the direction of a broker, currently Kate Schrader and until recently Charlotte Parallel, Dream Brokerage secures urban locations for local artists to present their work and enact their dreams. These locations are often unused spaces or spaces considered unconventional to encounter art. Not only does this integrate the work of local artists with the cityscape, it blurs the boundary between art and the experience of urban living. “Actually creating or changing how accessible [art]work, especially creative work or community-based work, in urban space” is central to Dunedin Dream Brokerage, shared Madison. “The overall kaupapa is about spaces where people cross over all the time and ways that we can insert art and other types of interventions into a shared environment.” 

Offering artists these unusual platforms for their art simultaneously challenges the public’s perceptions of how art should be experienced. Rather than an insular experience, “it’s the way all these different disciplines can be brought into spots that you wouldn’t expect.” Simultaneously, as art enriches an under-used space, the space in turn gains extra purpose. “You realise the same things that are changing public art, the public themselves, the artists and the buildings are all connected… You bring art into it, you can help get people to recognise the value of their place a little bit better.” 

In addition to the broker, there are two teams that form the organisation. Madison is part of hoe akau, the steerage team, who focus on the logistical aspects, such as funding and maintaining public engagement. Then there is the advisory team, a group of volunteers from different fields who kōrero with artists and choose which projects Dream Brokerage bring to fruition. “I think [that is] a good strength of the brokerage, that it’s really interdisciplinary. There’s not a set limit for how a project should be and that means that… it can be really broad, because everybody has something valuable to add in.”

Madison first came to be involved with Dream Brokerage through their support of Madison’s project, Basking. Through Madison’s art and the interactivity of the spaces, it boosted public awareness around habitat restoration for our native reptiles. The space and funding made available to Madison, not only developed their experience in coordinating a multi-location and community-based project, but allowed Madison’s practice to support other local creatives via commissioning their own work and facilitating the public to visit Orokonui through subsidising entry prices. “You learn a lot about what your work actually is up to… As soon as you’re exposed to these other areas and other people, you see what your work is doing in a way you don’t normally have to acknowledge. I think a lot of people’s projects get influenced by that process.”

If you’re an artist of any form, and are interested in getting your work into the public realm, Dunedin Dream Brokerage may be able to help. Proposal submissions are continuously open. Dream Brokerage also put out open calls depending on the time of the year, third party interest in platform projects and additional support they can provide to artists. For up to date information, their website is dunedindreambrokerage.nz or follow them on Instagram (@dunedindreambrokerage). 

This article first appeared in Issue 23, 2022.
Posted 10:16pm Sunday 18th September 2022 by Jamiema Lorimer .