Brisbane 2033: Legacy Project

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October 1, 2017

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What should Brisbane be famous for? Or Brisbane, are we asking the wrong question?

A recap of Brisbane You’ve Got Talent. A BDA Breakfast event  held on 7th September 2017

Keynote Speaker Li Cunxin, Mao’s Last Dancer

Panel Members – Chris Saines, Director QAGOMA, Daniel Gschwind, QTIC and Steve Wilson Racing Queensland.

Sponsored by Racing Queensland.


No one understands hard work more than Li Cunxin.

As an 11 year old desperate to escape poverty and starvation in the dying days of Mao’s regime in China, Li could not know where the opportunity would lead when he was selected to be in Madame Mao’s Beijing Dance Academy.

Fast forward 45 years and Li has chosen Brisbane and the Queensland Ballet as his home and career opportunity. Li came to Brisbane via Houston, Texas and Melbourne. Friends and colleagues were astounded that he would leave Melbourne to be the Artistic Director of the Queensland Ballet.

But Li saw a great opportunity right here. Brisbane people are innovative, smart, generous and fun. Li has brought the international ballet world to Brisbane via sell out show after sell out show.

Likewise, QAGOMA is a world class Gallery that draws huge attendee numbers. The Asia Pacific Triennial draws more visitors than the Venice Biennale. We need to spread that news.

Every day Brisbane has 40,000 overnight visitors and about the same in day visitors. Our popularity is a well kept secret….

So, what should Brisbane be famous for? This morning’s discussion revealed that we may be asking the wrong question. Brisbane has much to be famous for but we need to just get on with the hard work.

As Chris Saines said “Culture is what binds a great community together but the Arts needs infrastructure.” Alongside this, Li points out that “…success comes down to people and talent…[if] you create a community of great talent then the magic happens.”

Daniel Gschwind drew these points together by explaining that greater Brisbane has much to offer for visitors and interstate and international immigrants but we must draw these natural and built attractions together and greatly improve the connectivity and transport between them.

So, what can you do to help build a critical mass of talent that draws in infrastructure and investment to Brisbane?

Li implores us, the open, clever and innovative community of Brisbane, to be bold and build a world class legacy to leave to future Brisbane generations because the opportunity is now.

Let’s get started.


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BDA – creating a better Brisbane.

The Committee For Brisbane acknowledges the First Nations People of the region and their continuing connection to and care of the land, waters and community of that region.
We also pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Photos by Tony Elsom