Ballarat has always been home to talented creatives and they deserve to be promoted, says ceramic artist Ruby Pilven.
She is one of 12 Ballarat artisans featured in Visit Ballarat’s new tourism campaign Made of Ballarat, which was launched to VIP guests at Grounded Pleasures HQ on Thursday.
“I think we have always had incredibly creative people – it is just that no one really knew about it. It was sort of hidden,” Pilven said said.
“Now we are saying ‘hey, we have got all these cool people in Ballarat - let’s showcase them a bit more’.”
The campaign describes Ballarat’s designers, artists, chefs, producers, craftspeople and entertainers as ‘leaders of the new rebellion’ who create ‘rich’ ‘earthly’ treasures.
They’re placed front and centre as the heroes who will draw affluent Melburnians to Ballarat.
Watch the Made of Ballarat cinema promotion below.
Salt Kitchen Charcuterie director Mick Nunn said the launch of the campaign was timely.
“The perception of Ballarat is the old, cold and gold sort of perspective; it is freezing, there is not a lot to offer from a food and wine perspective and it hasn’t been a destination. It should be,” he said.
“The broader community need to know that – that we are making progress, there are things happening here and it is a good time to come.”
Nunn returned to Ballarat after spending years away in Melbourne and overseas to train and work as a chef.
“If you had of said to me at 17 or 18 I was going to end up back in Ballarat I’d have said you were crazy. I suppose a lot of that comes from a food perspective,” he said.
“Unfortunately in years gone by there hasn’t been much here to offer a young and aspiring chef, but that has flipped on its head in the last 10 years. It is a really exciting time to be in this town and in this space.”
It is a really exciting time to be in this town and in this space.Mick Nunn, Salt Kitchen Charcuterie
All involved agree Ballarat is beginning to look at itself differently. Now many, like Grounded Pleasures’ Craig McKenzie, are proudly Ballarat, even using the traditional spelling, in their branding.
“We are different and we are regional – people think good things come from the regions and they’re right.”
OVERNIGHT STAYS REMAINS A CHALLENGE
Attracting visitors to stay overnight in Ballarat will remain one of Visit Ballarat’s biggest challenges as it begins promoting the new tourism campaign.
Made of Ballarat hopes attract Melbourne’s ‘lifestyle leaders’ and ‘cultural connoisseurs’ to Ballarat by promoting the city’s talented artisans.
Chief executive Noel Dempsey said the first step to attract the identified market of affluent ‘explorers’ and those looking for ‘authentic, indulgent experiences’ was to create a sense of intrigue.
That’s the aim of videos developed by Melbourne creative agency Town Square.
Watch the short documentary showcasing Yuge and David Bromley below.
But Mr Dempsey said experiences would then need to be promoted in a way to translate intrigue to overnight stays.
There are 2.96 million visitors to Ballarat per annum. Of those, 2.1 million are domestic day trip travellers.
“Overnight visitors remains our single biggest challenge. The campaign will provide an itinerary for a weekend to grow overnight stays,” Mr Dempsey said.
Part of the attraction is a maker event series which begins in September.
More than 10 events will be held before the year’s end, teaching techniques from pottery, to leather belt making.
Watch the short documentary showcasing knife maker Adam Parker below.
They will be hosted by artisans including ceramic artist Ruby Pilven, who is notably one of only two females featured in the campaign.
Mr Dempsey said the selection of artisans was according to availability and guaranteed there would improved gender equality as more artisans were showcased.
KEY STAKEHOLDERS EXPRESS SUPPORT
City of Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh said council would continue to work with and support Ballarat’s artisans.
Committee for Ballarat chairman Nick Beale expressed support for the Made of Ballarat campaign.
“I want to congratulate Noel Dempsey and his team at Visit Ballarat for what I think is an outstanding development in the branding of Ballarat,” he said.
Mr Beale shared his own visions for the future of the campaign.
“I can see an artisan trail and pop-up shops happening in the CBD. Many of these artisans are spread across the city and the broader region and I think they need to be exposed in the CBD.”
See the Made of Ballarat biannual newsletter in Friday’s Courier or visit madeofballarat.com.au/ for more stories.