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Nabe?! Nabeh? Nabé?

Nabe (pronounced neighb) is an old Aussie slang word for... neighbourhood! It's also a type of Japanese hot pot where you chuck in anything you've got to cook up something delicious.


The Nabe is just that; a hodgepodge combo of all the good things all thrown together to see what we can make. It might not always work out, but it's more just about playing around with what we've got and cooking up something hearty for us to all share together.

In other words; creating connection through
creative play. 


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To create an arts space that anyone could rock up to and feel welcomed
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For everyone
to feel confident
exploring their

Our Core Values & Guiding Principles 


We believe in the notion and value of care and use this as a guiding principle in our art making, our interactions with each other and our communities, and the spaces and Land we move within. 



We believe that better, more creative outcomes can be reached when everyone has the opportunity to be seen, heard, valued, and empowered to succeed. 



We seek to nurture an environment that encourages a broader understanding of what creativity can look and feel like, and equip audiences with a confidence to participate and experiment.



Choosing positivity and bringing a can-do attitude to all our interactions and creative projects brings deeper connections and a playfulness that benefits not only each other, but ourselves!



We view sustainability through four ‘pillars’ (Jon Hawks, 2004); Cultural vitality, social equity, environmental responsibility and economic viability. We see a sustainable creative practice as the following; 

  • to be valued creatively within a diverse cultural sector for our work, contribute meaningfully to and with our community, be recognised as legitimate workers, and contributor within the wider community and economy; 

  • create professional practices that foster healthy working environments and a positive work / life balance that eliminates ‘burn-out’; 

  • limiting our impact on the planetary environment through our work, using our skills as creatives to create positive messages surrounding environmental sustainability, and saying no to projects that do not align with this focus

  • financially sustaining ourselves through our creative work, and being able to factor in resources that create space for emergencies or illness.



We’re for owning our mistakes and striving to correct and learn from them. Being honest, respectful, and kind in all our interactions. 



We’re for creating a genuine community that celebrates each other's wins, and that empowers others to realise their creative potential to achieve their goals. We’re for sharing knowledge, asking questions, and learning from each other.

A safe inclusive space

Nabe Studios is an inclusive, community space, anti-social behaviour is not welcome or tolerated. We are a safe and welcoming space to people of all genders, sexual orientations and identities, physical abilities, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, ages, education / literary status, neurodiversity, and religions. 


We recognise that uninformed mistakes can happen, and we are open to receiving feedback so we can continue to learn and better understand one another. However, inappropriate or discriminatory behaviour - without the ability to accept responsibility or willingness to learn and improve - has no space at Nabe Studios! 


And in the beginning, there was Panic Room.

Tucked in behind our old house in Fitzroy was the nightman's alleyway, a space we lovingly referred to as Panic Room. A small, hidden grassy space where during lockdowns the inhabitants of our house could get some alone time, where our worms quietly burrowed through food scraps and bikes slowly rusted. With a little love, some weeding and a lick of paint, Panic Room acquired ‘Gallery’ to the end of its title. 


This initial idea was a response to the pressures experienced by the arts sector over Melbourne’s long lockdowns in wanting to provide a free space (not technically belonging to anyone) to be able to continue connecting with our neighbours and friends in an affordable, and covid-friendly way. It also came from a desire to make a creative space that felt welcoming and accessible to all viewers and makers, showing that art can and should be for everyone, whether or not you felt like you were a creative person. 


This was a space that promised nothing, belonged to no one, and if you happened across an exhibition opening as you were taking your bins outs in ya pj’s, heck, you'd still fit right in! Panic Room Gallery simply aimed to connect as many people as it could, and championed the idea of what can be achieved when you work together with not a whole lot.

What had started out as a temporary pop-up exhibition project, Panic Room Gallery quickly evolved, grew arms, legs, an extra head or two, and in December 2022 we found a permeant space in Kensington, the beloved old Ormond Street Take Away Fish N' Chip Shop and the adjoining house, to call home.

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From an alleyway
to a fish 'n chip shop

We might have outgrown our alleyway, but we still wanted a space that felt relaxed and approachable and that could allow all kinds of people to join in and feel creative.


Our somewhat unusual new home is what was once a fish & chip shop and its adjoining corner house (sorry unfortunately there aren’t any snack packs frying here anymore!). It's filled with community history and provides a homey, welcoming environment for all our events and studio artist tenants. Our crumbling floors and shabby walls make for a relaxed creative environment - and we wouldn't have it any other way.

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