Hero photograph
DDB Bubbles exhibition
Photo by Motoko Kikkawa

Chasing dreams

Caro McCaw —

Dunedin Dream Brokerage brought art to the suburbs during lockdown in 2020.

Dunedin Dream Brokerage is a local group of creative people and arts supporters who work to bring life into empty urban and retail environments through a lively programme of art project occupation. The group sits under the umbrella of the Otago Chamber of Commerce and Otago Polytechnic, and receives funding from Dunedin City Council. Dunedin Dream Brokerage works with property owners, artists, individuals and community groups to broker the temporary use of space – be it public or commercial, empty or under-utilised – for the temporary occupation of creative projects. 

Caro McCaw contributes to the curation of Dunedin Dream Brokerage's activities through governance group Hoe Akau. When the Central Business District became a ghost town with lockdown in 2020, the team decided to shift their focus to the suburbs where people were out walking. The plan hatched, DDB Bubbles, to ask artists to show some of their work, reflecting on their lockdown experiences through artist/designers eyes.

Dunedin Dream Brokerage located several closed shops to host the artists in each of three suburbs, North East Valley, South Dunedin, and Port Chalmers. A call out to artists followed, and artworks were selected by online voting from Dunedin Dream Brokerage's advisor group. The selected works were installed in the shops for locals to appreciate. The project was funded by sponsorship from the shops and Dunedin Print. An exhibition of all the exhibited works was held afterwards, in early 2021, to celebrate the burst of creative energy generated for these communities.