Six questions with our outgoing Business Manager, Noah Sutton
What initially drew you to Collingwood Yards?
I remember the first time that I visited Collingwood Yards distinctly, back when it was called Collingwood Arts Precinct (in early 2017). It was for an event in the old basketball court and I’d always known the building was there, but I’d never really contemplated what was inside. When I entered the precinct, it felt like a secret garden or an oasis in the heart of Collingwood and was exciting to me, even before the site’s development had begun. I could see the potential of this space, to host people and events in a really special and impactful way. That feeling of potentiality is what drew me to Collingwood Yards I think.
What were you brought on to do at Collingwood Yards?
I won’t go into the nitty gritty of my role (because it’s fairly financial and administrative), but in a nutshell, I was brought on to facilitate growth and change for the organisation and to drive business strategies at what was then a really pivotal point for the organisation.
What’re your proudest accomplishments from your time with the organisation?
I’m more proud of the changes I’ve seen the precinct undergo, that I’ve helped to facilitate, than I am of any of my own, personal achievements. Seeing the tenant community expand to welcome new tenants like Common Ground, Performing Lines, COLLARTS, Studio Manifold, Bank of Melbourne Resident: Collective Closets, JALA Studio and Stefanino Panino (an exciting all-day hospitality operator opening later this year) has been really wonderful. It’s been great to see Collingwood Yards support its tenants, giving them what they need to thrive and grow (as artists or organisations) and to see tenants extend their leases and stay on at Collingwood Yards. It’s really rewarding to be able to say, I’ve witnessed Collingwood Yards begin to meet its mandate of creating and sustaining affordable space for creatives in the heart of Collingwood. I’m proud of that.
What do you love most about the precinct?
I love the serendipitous interactions that happen in this place and the way the architecture of the space facilitates interstitial conversations between very different organisations. I’m sure you’ve experienced it yourself. At Collingwood Yards, running into someone in the hallway or stairwell has the ability to result in some pretty unlikely but special outcomes. I also love the really simple things. Friday afternoons, for example, are pretty special, especially on a warm, sunny day. You see people sitting in the courtyard after work or enjoying whole team lunches in the amphitheatre. I love seeing people utilise the space like this.
What are your hopes for the future of the precinct?
My hope for Collingwood Yard’s future is that it can build a really robust foundation that enables it to be a buffer between the arts and the not-for-profit community and the broader world. I hope it can continue to offer stable and subsidised rents in the face of our increasingly precarious economic climate. I’d also love to see the precinct further activated with programming and events that speak to and amplify the creative talent of our tenant artists and organisations, and the broader Naarm creative sector. The bringing of people together is something this precinct does really well and I’d love to see it continue going from strength to strength in doing this.
What’s next for Noah Sutton?
I’ve taken on a couple of exciting new opportunities, nothing I can talk publicly about at this stage, but watch this space!