"We wouldn't exist without the indie and small to medium sector"

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Brooke Boland

Arts Centre Melbourne’s sector development program has started. Here’s what you need to know.
"We wouldn't exist without the indie and small to medium sector"

Intercultural Performance: Reframing Practice for Arts Workers, Emele Ugavule. The Kiln 2019 - Arts Centre Melbourne. Image supplied.

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There’s an important “give and take” in the arts between the small-to-medium sector and the majors. Understanding and supporting this dynamic is central to the health of our industry — and programs like Arts Centre Melbourne’s The Kiln is a prime example of how this support can be integrated into the programming of one of Australia’s biggest arts centres.

The Kiln is Art Centre Melbourne’s dedicated sector development program, a place for Melbourne’s independent arts community to explore, hone and develop professional practice. Currently on throughout June, the program engages the independent and small-to-medium performing arts sector through professional development workshops, talks and events from leading Australian artists and companies.

‘Arts Centre Melbourne has an important leadership role to play in the sector, but it isn’t one-sided, as we know we wouldn’t exist without the vital independent and small to medium sector in Victoria. It is about this give and take,' said Creative Producer Tim Stitz. 

‘The Kiln is a way we can give back; we are providing free or subsidised workshops, professional development opportunities, and panels around the critical issues our sector is facing at the moment.’

Access, inclusion and representation are key focuses for The Kiln in 2019. Various workshops for aspiring singers, rappers and poets have already started and will continue alongside other professional development opportunities in comedy and even financial literacy in the arts, to name only a few.

View the entire series here.

To pull off a varied and relevant series of events Arts Centre Melbourne has partnered with local arts organisations including Melbourne Fringe, Theatre Network Australia, Chunky Move and Arts Access Victoria.

‘The dialogue that’s already started is just fantastic,’ said Stitz.

‘A highlight will be a networking event on Tuesday 25 June, which is a way for us at Arts Centre Melbourne and the sector to meet. We feel it important to have the opportunity to be in a regular and open dialogue with the sector; to mingle, share ideas and talk. We’ll also share more about how we program, what we program, who’s who in the team, and how we aspire to engage with the sector.’

The Kiln Highlights

Theatre Network Australia’s This is How We Do It — Indie Practice Exchange

Facilitated by Theatre Network Australia, independent artists and producers are invited to join special guests, Tariro Mavondo, Gareth Hart and Emma Hall, as they reflect on the intersections of their own varied arts practices.

Safe Theatres for Independents workshop 

This workshop will focus on how those in the small-to-medium and independent sector might deal with potential scenarios involving workplace bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment, especially in the absence of formal workplace policies.

Intercultural Performance: Reframing Practice for Arts Workers

Reframe your professional practice with Emele Ugavule

This workshop is for arts workers who are interested in building language and skills around nurturing the kaupapa (a Maori word meaning principles and ideas) that guide the vā (sacred space that balances relationships in harmony) embedded in organisational arts spaces. These workshops are especially designed for general managers, producers, executives and directors both independent or working within a company structure.

Ritual / Re-route / Re-connect — Movement workshop facilitated by Anna Seymour

Led by contemporary dancer and performing artist Anna Seymour, this experiential workshop will offer some insights behind Anna’s latest choreographic work including tools to connect with your physical, visual and tactile awareness in movement. Anna will also open up conversations about themes of collaboration, culture, language and communication. Innate knowledge of deaf culture will be shared and applied to movement as ritual.

The Learnings of Embedding Access in Creativity

Join Sarah Ward and Bec Matthews, lead creatives behind Queen Kong, and multi-talented performer Emma J Hawkins as they share their learnings and experiences about creating performance with access embedded at its heart. Facilitated by award-winning writer, speaker and appearance activist (and Melbourne Fringe Access and Inclusion Coordinator) Carly Findlay.

To find out more about The Kiln 2019, visit artscentremelbourne.com.au/festival-and-series/the-kiln

About the author

Brooke Boland is a freelance writer based on the South Coast of NSW.