How to Build Bridges: The Symposium

The day will provide an entertaining and insightful journey into the choppy waters of art making.

Join us as we bring together ex West Gate Bridge workers, visual, music and theatre artists, academics and unions in a curated series of conversations, exchanges and performance. The day offers many lenses to contemplate the theme of bridges through the built environment, memorials, local and Indigenous histories, academia and art.

Featuring AIF18 visiting scholar Professor Tara Goldstein from the University of Toronto, Canada, the day is
suitable for those who want to understand how art is made, who make art or are interested in the West Gate Bridge. It is also suitable for those who would like to hear ex West Gate Bridge workers talk about their experiences and listen to songs featuring bridges by Mark Seymour (ex Hunters and Collectors) and James Henry (ex The Black Arm Band).

Attend one session of two hours or join us for the whole day.

Session 1: 10:00am-12.00pm

Hear about theatre making in Toronto. Then find out how verbatim stories from bridge workers were turned into a play in Melbourne. Discover how the novel The Bridge was researched. Learn about a project which maps where West Gate Bridge workers lived.

Session 2: 1:00-3:00pm

Meet academics and activists who are researching memorials to workplace deaths, creating art in industrial spaces, taking hidden stories onto the stage and presenting stories of workers and work in the digital age.  Hear from men who worked on the
West Gate Bridge before, during and after its collapse.

Session 3: 3:30-5:30pm

Join Bin Dixon-Ward for an artist’s talk about her western suburbs inspired large-scale jewellery. View an exhibition of newspaper articles and photos on the West Gate Bridge. Then join us in the theatre to hear musicians James Henry and Mark Seymour discuss writing music and songs inspired by and about the West Gate Bridge. The session concludes with a short performance by Mark and James and local singers in which musical bridges will be attempted.

This day will be recorded by Overland Magazine and later released as a podcast downloadable from 

Event Details

The Substation, 1 Market Street, Newport

Fri 23 Nov, 10:00am-6:00pm


Registration essential: