Naarm - AU
Architecture / Music

Photo: Elliott Lauren

Simona Castricum is a multidisciplinary creative and academic working in music and architecture on Wurundjeri land of Kulin Nation. Her work explores queer and trans intersections in architecture, music, the public realm, and civic life.

Simona is a Research Fellow in Architecture at the Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne. She is a musician, DJ and producer, and runs the independent record label Trans-Brunswick Express. Simona’s speculative architectural practice explores queer and trans futures and fictions through music and architecture. Simona’s work re-imagines radical relationships between the tactile, virtual, and effective conditions of gender and sexual nonconformity.

As a solo artist, Simona has been recognised as a nominee for the Australian Music Prize and two Music Victoria Awards in 2020; Best Electronic Act and Best Solo Artist. Her third full-length studio album—2020’s ‘Panic/Desire’—debuted at #1 on the AIR 100% Independent Album Chart. As a collaborator with the late Daphne Camf, Simona formed the duo SaD, nominated for Best Electronic Act after releasing their debut record 'Saturn Rules the Material World'.

Simona is one of Melbourne’s unique live electronic acts, producers, and DJs. Her iconic live festival performances include Golden Plains, VIVID Sydney, Melbourne Music Week, BIGSOUND, HYBRID, Something Unlimited, Paradise, and Gaytimes.

With versatility through underground techno, house, electro, Italo, synth wave, and new beat flavours, Simona has been a regular DJ around Melbourne queer clubs for over 20 years. Her major festival appearances include Strawberry Fields, the Official Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Party, and Monsta Gras, and she is a resident at Australia’s premier fetish club ‘Fantastic’. Her music has been remixed by Berlin’s Aérea Negrot, Melbourne's Chiara Kickdrum and Various Asses. She has also remixed and produced for Cong Josie, Black Cab, m8riarchy, Nite Fruit and Pillow Pro.
Simona completed her PhD in 2022 in Architecture at the University of Melbourne, exploring gender nonconforming and queer spatial production in the city, architecture and public space through musical communities and her lived experience as a musician and DJ.

As an educator, Simona has taught trans and queer theory in architecture, professional practice, night-time/24hr economies, and healthy communities in Urban Planning.  She has consulted in gender-diverse design for Arts Centre Melbourne with NH Architecture and Snøhetta and on gender-inclusive signage for Brunswick Baths. In 2017-18, Simona was a member of the Community Reference Group for the Victorian Pride Centre.

As a member of Music Victoria’s Women’s Advisory Panel from 2017-2018, Simona co-authored the Gender Diversity Draft Strategy for Best Practice Guidelines for Live Music Venues. Simona’s writing on trans and gender diverse advocacy and representation has been published in The Guardian, VICE, i-D, and in journals The Lifted Brow. Her academic papers include ‘Music as a Site of Transing’ in Queer Architectures, ‘When Program is the Enemy of Function’ for Architecture & Culture, and Say Clitoris: Queers in Space’ in Urban Australia and Post-Punk: Exploring Dogs in Space. She has been published in the anthologies Nothing To Hide: Voices of Trans and Gender Diverse Australia, From The Heart: A Collection from Women of Letters, and Going For It: Women Tell the Truth about Great Sex.

Simona is a former community radio broadcaster at 3RRR Melbourne. She has appeared on panels as a speaker and moderator, including Melbourne Knowledge Week ambassador in 2019, Melbourne Design Week, MPavilion, CHANGES, LISTEN, BIGSOUND, Women of the World Festival, Emerging Writers Festival and Brunswick Music Festival.