So the experimental arts festival I worked for, You Are Here, is now an experimental artist development organisation. That’s what happens if you leave me unattended with a mixed-funding arts org.
Festivals are fine and whatever but the other YAH gang and I realised that the thing we really care about/do well is help artists do existential deep dives into their practice. Hopefully the kind where they come out the other side as sweaty messes, doubting everything and unable to work within any conventional version of the creative industries. Or like, just feeling like they have more tools and clarity around their practice, that’s fine too.
We’re just coming to the end of 16 intensive workshops across 32 weeks, with a group of 8 artists that we’ve slowly turned into a tight arts-gang. They’ve developed artworks from idea to audience outcome, worked in entirely new artforms, formed new creative relationships and in some cases just gained the confidence to not have to make something.
We did our best to give the artists time to dig into their aims and drivers. For a lot of them it’s about modeling new approaches to existing art formats like live gigs, film screenings and VR. A lot of them were experimenting with ways of knocking down the barriers that stop people accessing art. And as you’d expect in this old world, a lot of them had stuff around legitimacy and self-worth to challenge and try to explode. This was our first time working this format and we sometimes went a little too far into unlicensed therapy, but our artists’ always got us back on track and taught us heaps. Plus we had some great artwork outcomes like an augmented reality forest, a performance art sleep clinic and an work about the duality of care where you got to eat noodles while watching a film. So in short if you’re a loose unit Canberra artist you should apply next year.