Director of Carriageworks
Lisa Havilah completed a Master of Art Administration at UNSW Art & Design.
Lisa Havilah is the credited mastermind behind the complete transformation of one of Sydney’s most iconic multi-arts venues – Carriageworks. In her role as Director and in just five years, Havilah has managed to take the massive former Everleigh Railway Yard (a place termed by many as the notorious white elephant of art world hopes) and turn it into a hub of creative energy in Sydney’s inner South. Her vision and direction have brought a seven-fold increase in attendance in this time (2015 recorded more than 790,000 people) and an influx of significant international acts (who didn’t see Björk’s world premier or Olivier Dubois’s hypnotic Tragédie of naked bodies?).
With an aim of remaining “risky and brave” while also growing exponentially, Havilah has created a program of events that includes dance, visual arts, contemporary theatre, music, film, fashion, corporate events, farmers’ markets, and Christmas artisan markets. Havilah also ensures that Carriageworks recognises and supports unknown and emerging practitioners whilst collaborating with renowned international art figures. All up, in addition to regular programming, Havilah estimates Carriageworks runs about 100 arts related projects (including international festivals) per year.
Havilah ’s now in full lobbyist-mode. She’s created a 6-year development plan for the organisation that would see it add a 5000 seat live music venue, a 200 seat cinema, and more large public exhibition spaces, cafes, bars, and restaurants. Put simply, Havilah’s goal is for Carriageworks, by 2021, to become one of Australia’s most significant cultural precincts – rivalling the Opera House, attracting 2 million+ visitors per years, and grossing more than $15 million in annual revenue.
Given she’s got a Deputy Premier and Art Minister, Troy Grant, calling her “the driving force” behind the institutions extraordinary success, it’s likely (and lucky for Sydney-siders and art lovers alike) that Havilah will achieve her grand plan.