As the Gold Coast grapples with uncertainty over its identity and a blueprint for the future, a symposium organised by Griffith University will seek to broaden the debate, offer expert analysis and spark new ideas.

In partnership with the Gold Coast’s first official creative precinct, Rabbit + Cocoon at Miami, The Sold Coast Project is the brainchild of Shanene Ditton, a Gold Coast-based PhD student and member of the Griffith Centre for Cultural Research.

Also supported by Griffith’s QCA Design Futures, the symposium will be held at Rabbit + Cocoon on Sunday, April 14, and will feature academics, cultural leaders, policy-makers and the community in sessions arising from one essential question: what does the Gold Coast look like in 50 years?

“Speculation abounds about the future look and outlook of the Gold Coast,” Ms Ditton said.

“For years the identity of the city and of Gold Coast people has been shaped by an old mythology, the image of the city as purely a tourist destination. That image is etched in the nation’s psyche but it is only part-truth .

“I’m hoping The Sold Coast Project will demonstrate the Gold Coast is much more, by revealing different perspectives and expertise that help generate alternate dialogues, rupture commonly held ideas, recognise social, cultural and environmental challenges and move towards a collective vision and a sustainable plan for the city.”

Symposium experts represent a range of fields, from environmental and coastal management to design, architecture, media and culture. They include Griffith University academics Professor Paul Burton (Deputy Director of the Urban Research Centre), Professor Andy Bennett (Director of GCCR), and Professor Michael Meadows and Associate Professor Pat Wise, from the School of Humanities. Also participating will be Bond University Professor of Communication and Media, Marcus Breen, Adjunct Professor Philip Follent, from the Institute of Sustainable Development and Architecture, and Criena Gehrke, the Gold Coast City Council’s Culture Strategy Program Manager.

Sessions will explore issues such as tourism and post-tourism, cultural awareness and activity, the voices of young people and the impact of local and global events. Local artists and businesses will also be involved.

Ms Ditton highlighted the need for the Gold Coast to acknowledge its past without being mired in it, noting one key to a sustainable future would be the need to create and apply strategies reflecting a city not only growing, but growing up.

“In many ways it seems the Gold Coast has been adolescent all its life, fascinated by impermanence and transience. It loves to re-create itself as myth,” she said.

“The Sold Coast Project is about disturbing that mythology by taking a good, hard look at our city, our lifestyle and our future.”




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