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My Favourite Australian Arts Podcasts

By Kimberley Hughes

Like many of you I have been listening to podcasts over the last few years. Prior to Covid lockdowns I was listening to them on my way to work or as a way to keep my wandering imagination occupied when completing an artwork for an exhibition. This year podcasts have kept me company on many of my walks, whilst hanging laundry or cleaning the bathroom.

This week I returned to listening to podcasts on now an even longer (but significantly more pleasant and rewarding) drive to work and back. As long as I have enough of these downloaded on my phone, they balance the never ending updates of crime podcasts (Dateline is fantastic, but not for driving home in the dark) that pop up on my car’s satellite navigation system.

I would love to read all the journal articles, anthologies and exhibition catalogues out there. I have attended discussions and lectures on Zoom during lockdown. But who has time for all of them? Podcasts are great for multi tasking and staying up to date with the latest arts news and ideas.

These are some of my favourite podcasts related to art, creativity or productivity. Some of them you may already binge yourself. Australia makes some great podcast series to follow.

Talking With Painters

Talking with Painters has been suggested to me by a few artist friends and I finally got round to listening to it a few months ago. For one of the first episodes I listened to Maria Stoljar interviewed Georgia Spain. Hearing her story immediately gave me a wave of motivation. She spoke about her creative struggles and secretly painting at home for years until she felt ready to show her work to people again. Then she decided to make more space at home and sent an artwork as an entry into the Sir John Sulman Prize. Later she found out that she had won.

There are plenty more inspiring stories. Working on expeditions to the Australian Desert that involved walking with camels (Jo Bertini), working in London in a framing shop and having tea with Sir David Attenborough (Guy Warren). Some of these I laughed whilst listening to them and received weird glances from people on my walks. Maria Stoljar asks some great questions and she seems to know her audience well. It is no wonder this podcast is popular.

Apple Podcasts, Android and Google Podcasts

How I Work

Though not specifically art related, How I Work is my favourite podcast to listen to for productivity tips. Dr Amantha Imber is an organisational psychologist who founded the behavioural science consultancy company Inventium based in Melbourne. Listening to her podcast is how I ended up adding books such as Deep Work by Cal Newport and Indistractable by Nir Eyal to my bookshelf.

She talks to people who specialise in productivity and organisational management, entrepreneurs and CEOS of big companies from around the globe about how they work, their career development stories and their favourite tips. I know about my sleep chronotype, strategies to increase productivity and have heard stories about how the most successful people find some kind of work life balance. This podcast is well researched and easy to listen to.

Apple Podcasts, Spotify Podcasts and iHeartRADIO

Creative Responders

Creative Responders is one I keep going back to lately. An initiative of the Creative Recovery Network, in each episode Scotia Monkivitch interviews artists, emergency management professionals and communities about the positive influence of art in disaster management. One of my favourite episodes is Regional Arts Victoria’s Kellie Sutherland discussing how she worked with the shires of bushfire affected areas in North Eastern Victoria last year. Other topics have included climate change, indigenous communities and self care for artists and community cultural development workers engaging with trauma impacted communities.

Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Pocket Casts

The Art Show

Made by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and broadcast on ABC Radio National, it has a nice combination of conversation and documentary storytelling. The introduction theme song and interviewers have changed a little bit over the years but I’ve enjoyed every episode I’ve managed to listen to. There are many years worth of episodes so there are plenty to choose from.

Look out for Sandra Hill on art and reconciliation from May last year where she spoke to Namila Benson about her experience as a member of the Stolen Generation, reuniting with her mother and how creating art helps reconnect with her culture and community. Sandra Hill’s story is one that I find hard to forget.

One of my other favourites is the interview with former museum director of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art Liz Ann Macgregor from July last year about how to make the public feel comfortable in galleries or art museums.

ABC Radio National

ABC Listen App and other popular apps including Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts

Inside The Big Day Out

Only five episodes, Inside the Big Day Out was featured on Double J in 2019. It focuses on the development, success and failure of what once was one of Australia’s biggest music festivals. The insight from the people involved about how it became a touring festival quickly as well as the management issues related to alcohol and people safety had me hooked. I was a little sad when it ended. If you are planning on driving long distances now that the whole of Victoria is open to us, you will have at least the drive out covered. Your audiobook can wait for the trip back.

It is still available on Apple Podcasts. Not sure if it’s anywhere else, but have a search on your favourite podcast app. You may find it.

NAVA In Conversation

This one I haven’t listened to as much of the others as I find it requires a lot more concentration. The episodes I have listened to have felt like they were recorded during live interview or panel events. There doesn’t seem to be a uniform episode length, so you can easily choose one that suites you. Common topics of discussion include the relationship the arts has with community cultural development, issues that artists face and some of the interesting projects arts workers have worked on throughout Australia. Look out for one of my favourite quotes “ I see property law in Australia is like the worst form of collective performance art” (Louise Crabtree?) in episode Artist Run World from May 2019. This episode doesn’t appear to be on their website and its such a shame. This episode was recorded prior to the last federal election. Sometimes the panel discussions are hard to work out who is talking at each time but each speaker always has something interesting to say. Definitely one to add to your must listen list if you feel like some critical thinking.

Apple Podcasts, iTunes and Soundcloud


This podcast is great for local content and for discussions about artwork from more contemporary disciplines like multimedia and performance art. The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art has a range of episodes from around five minutes to almost an hour and a half. They mostly talk to artists and curators about artwork and exhibitions. I enjoyed listening to an episode that goes through one of Australia’s earliest artist run initiatives with Peter Kennedy and am now trying to catch up on their ACCA book club and Think Tank episodes. Click on the link for Soundcloud through their website to listen to them on your computer.

Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Soundcloud, Spotify, Stitcher or RSS.

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