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Third Space Gallery + Digital is an initiative of Creative Geelong, who have long held the site and offered these windows as exhibition spaces. From November 2022, Third Space Gallery + Digital will be curated by the Creative Geelong board members Tonya Meyrick, Fiona Lee and Melissa Smith. Third Space Gallery + Digital works to provide support, spaces and a platform for artists, designers and creatives.

Between August 2021- October 2022, Third Space Gallery + Digital was curated by Sarah Jones. The project opened with Berlin-based artist Rona Stern’s “One Day Less”, and was followed by nationally recognised artists Mish Meijers, Bec Stevens and Sarah Walker. The final show, "Twitch," was the result of a 12 month curatorial mentorship with Geelong based experimental arts collective GEXA. Jones' curatorial premise examined the concept of the 'third space', artists and gentrification, council ‘revamps’, ‘anti-social behaviour’, the top-end of Little Malop Street, public art and inward‑facing, clockless mega-malls. Under Jones' curatorship, Third Space Gallery + Digital focused on showing contemporary work by international and national artists reflecting Jones' interest in audiences experiences of elsewhere.

Third Space Gallery takes its name from previous Creative Geelong Chair, writer, researcher, and architect Fiona Gray. Gray was interested in the work of French philosopher Henri Lefebvre, whose writing in The Production of Space underwrites extended concepts of the third space in contemporary philosophy, architecture, critical theory and art. Gray was particularly interested in the connection between Lefebvre’s thinking and the architectural, social and cultural production of present-day Market Square in the broader context of Geelong’s CBD.

Keeping Gray’s reference to Lefebvre, Creative Geelong has run Third Space Gallery since 2018 as a bustling site for local community exhibitions alongside Creative Geelong’s Maker Space, co-working studios and other programs. 

Through a successful Digital Innovations grant in 2019/20, Deakin University’s Tonya Meyrick transformed the Lt Malop St. windows into the COVID-responsive Third Space Gallery + Digital. Meyrick activated the mall via a series of screens showing experimental new media work, including the United Nations-initiated exhibition “Designed for Action: A Collective response to COVID-19." Third Space Gallery + Digital concurrently entered the online space.

Coming full circle, returning to Gray’s research interests captured in her paper, “The Misanthropes, Larrikins and Mallrats of Market Square: An Enduring Public Space Dilemma in Central Geelong.”[1] Jones curates a growing gallery as Centrepoint Arcade falls in to disrepair. The spectacular arcade with its light-filled atrium, like much of Geelong’s CBD, fails to attract commercial tenants and, as a result, is desperately undervalued and might be falling victim to demolition by neglect. Every time a room becomes unusable it is condemned and Third Space Gallery + Digital gains another exhibition space. You win some, you lose more.

Most importantly, Third Space Gallery + Digital is on Wadawurrung Country; country that was stolen. We pay our respects to Elders past, present & emerging as we live and learn on land that always was, and always will be, Aboriginal Land.

[1] Gray, Fiona. “The Misanthropes, Larrikins and Mallrats of Market Square: An Enduring Public Space Dilemma in Central Geelong.” In Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand: 32, Architecture, Institutions and Change, edited by Paul Hogben and Judith O’Callaghan, 218-230. Sydney: SAHANZ, 2015.

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