TiNA Festival: Less than two weeks to plan for Newcastle’s splendour in the arts

This is Not Art? No, this is not enough time…

Not enough time – even for a local – to take in the myriad of events culminating in this year’s TiNA festival, taking place from Thursday 28th of September to Sunday 1st of October across the city of Newcastle.

Marking its 20th year as a festival championing the multifarious world of emerging arts, TiNA 2017 is all grown up, and now holds the responsibility of leading an impressive line-up of over 150 events across four days. Occupying twenty different venues spanning the city’s east, inner CBD, and west-end, the arts community of Newcastle will truly be emerging from the woodworks – or steelworks rather – alongside a host of creative interstate neighbours.

From poetry to playful protest, industry discussion to dance, This is Not Art continues to define itself by the undefinable.

Having attended the official program launch late last month, I was offered a brief snapshot of the events from festival curator Christina Robberds alongside representatives from partnered arts event bodies National Young Writer’s Festival, Crack Theatre Festival and Critical Animals. Unsurprisingly, the sheer diversity in the event catalogue rendered the four-day event list (quite literally felt through the 47-page physical copy) even more immense.


Some randomly selected events of interest can include:


  • The Shape of Memory – Exploring memory and attempting to “give form to the intangible”, the exhibition will be held at inner-city contemporary space, The Lock-up.
  • This is Not Art Festival Launch – held at the University of Newcastle Watt Space Gallery, attendees will be encouraged to both reminisce and look toward the future of all that is TiNA in its 20th The launch will then be followed by a Festival Feast enjoyed within the gallery space.
  • Late Night Readings: Home and Away – encompassing ‘places familiar and foreign’, some of the nation’s best and brightest writer’s publicly read their works of their own and selected others connecting with the theme.


  • Artist-led – A panel comprising of internationally renowned Australian arts practitioners critically discuss the tactics artists can use to comment on the community in which they work in.
  • Get Organised and Get Paid Workshop – Just as the name denotes, learn crucial skills in finance and accounting within the free-lance environment from tax invoice management to knowing how and what to charge for your work.
  • Galaxy Web – An evening of ‘collaborative performances, art and adventure’ comes alive amid the jazz music heart of the city, The Underground.
  • Maddie is Hamlet – After losing her father last year, Woolongong-based performance artist Madison Chippendale illustrates her personal affiliation with the Shakesperan character.


  • Show and Tell – Four Melbourne-based comic book makers share their work, inspiration and processes.
  • Represent (Dis)ability – A panel of writers discuss disability within the local and broader community context and how to make positive, meaningful action for those affected by this reality.
  • The Sound of Spaces – An auditory installation experienced blind-folded takes you from the heritage Watt Space gallery to new, intimate, flute and recorded sample led soundscapes.


  • Zine Fair – Taking place in the heart of the CBD across the newly reinvigorated Market Street, DIY culture continues to thrive with the latest zines from across the country on display and available for purchase.
  • Experimental Poetry Workshop – The wordy world of poetic writing and structure explained in simple, accessible terms as well as a look into postmodern and minimalist approaches to the form.
  • Careers Day – Learn from the best in the business on what’s needed to keep your head above water and maintain a sustainable career in the arts.
  • Comedy Club – Comedy gala featuring Newcastle Young Writers Festival artists, local stand ups and performers from Not Just For Laughs.

Alas, this grants you only the tiniest peek – less than 10% more specifically – of what four days of this month’s This is Not Art has to offer. If you’re a little like me and, with TiNA 2017 being less than two weeks away, you’re finding yourself a little overwhelmed and unsure where and what to start planning, thankfully technology has you covered.

The TiNA app is as beautiful to look at as it is to navigate with the entire festival program neatly laid out in chronological order and easily filterable under its many topical tags such as #poetry, #LGBT, #industry, #livewrestling, #soundscapes, #badkareoke, #mentalhealth, #zines and so much more. A festival planner is then formed from the events you’ve favourited notifying you of when and where your interests take place. But again, if you’re like me and you find yourself in the middle of Newcastle without a concrete plan, then the geo-specific feature of the app will have all the nearest upcoming events laid out for you to head over and take part.

I’ve been to weekend-long music festivals with less artists and more hassle.

When it’s this big, diverse and simple, TiNA 2017’s splendour in the arts beats Splendour in The Grass any year.

Words by Rayannon Innes.