Creating more opportunities to produce and present great work
Creative people are the heart, soul and driver of the creative industries. Victoria is rich with talented people who generate new ideas, push boundaries and bring exciting new work to life.
Our creators are diverse and innovative. Whether provocative or familiar, traditional or experimental, collaborative or solo, pure or cross-disciplinary, new creative content is fundamental to the culture, identity and creative capacity of the state.
Creating new work can be challenging. Investment in time and materials is high and commercial rewards uncertain. Innovation, experimentation and the possibility of failure, critical to creative development, are not always compatible with sustainable practice. Opportunities for career development can be difficult to recognise, access or devote time to.
The Victorian Government provides substantial support for individual practitioners through Creative Victoria and Film Victoria programs and is committed to do more, particularly when it comes to investing in ambitious works of scale, supporting professional development and building the capacity and profile of Victoria's Aboriginal creative sector.
Under Creative State we are delivering new programs worth $6.35 million over four years to back our creative talent, support the bold and ambitious and create significant new works of scale and impact. These will enable Victorian creators to devote enough time and effort to their craft, take their careers to the next level and continue to renew and reinvigorate Victoria's cultural landscape.
Learn about the progress of Creative State Actions 1-5, which are focused on backing Victoria's creative talent.
Support for creative practitioners to undertake sustained periods of intensive creative development, research and experimentation. Open to practitioners from different disciplines and at different career stages, it will enable the production of significant works and career advancement.
Following sector consultation, including a survey of 500 local independent practitioners, the Creator's Fund was launched in late June 2017.
The program responds to one of the biggest challenges faced by Victorian creative practitioners: the lack of time to devote to their creative practice, particularly research and development.
The Creators Fund supports creative practitioners across all disciplines, and at all career stages, to undertake an extended period of creative development, research or experimentation in order to create cutting edge - and career defining - new work.
The program offers grants in the realm of $20,000 - $50,000 (the equivalent of a $100,000 p/a salary) to support individuals or creative collectives to work intensively for a period of between three and six months. In total, $1.27 million will be provided to Victorian creators in 2018 and 2019.
The first round of Creators Fund recipients was announced in December 2017, with 21 individuals and small groups sharing in $700,000. The inaugural Creators include both emerging and established practitioners who work across a wide range of creative disciplines. They were selected by expert panels from a field of more than 200 applicants.
Throughout 2018, these Creators have undertaken research and development, explored and tested new ideas and approaches and devoted time to experimentation. They have also participated in a series of networking and information sharing events, and professional development activities.
The 2019 cohort of Creators was announced in October 2018, with 24 diverse practitioners supported with funding totalling $900,000. Recipients include film and theatre makers, fashion designers, game developers, performers, musicians and visual artists.
A suite of initiatives to strengthen the practice of Aboriginal creative in Victoria and deepen engagement with our unique Aboriginal culture. An action plan, developed with the guidance of Aboriginal creative practitioners and cultural organisations, will deliver across key areas:
- expanding Creative Victoria's Aboriginal Professional Development Program
- increasing opportunities for the broader community to engage with Aboriginal cultural content
- increasing Aboriginal training and employment in the creative sector, and
- developing sector leadership
The First Peoples Action Plan for the Creative Industries 2018-2020 was launched on 11 September 2018 at Bendigo Art Gallery on the land of the Dja Dja Wurrung.
The action plan was developed in close consultation and collaboration with First Peoples working across Victoria's creative industries, and comprises 21 actions. Feedback from the extensive consultation process informed a change in terminology from Aboriginal to First People, which is used throughout the plan and in the naming of Creative Victoria programs.
Backed with $2.15 million funding over two years, the plan will deliver new opportunities for First Peoples across the state. It aims to address current barriers to employment, particularly among young people; under-representation of First Peoples on the boards and in senior roles of creative organisations, and the sale of inauthentic First Peoples creative product.
- New traineeships;
- A tailored employment program;
- Cultural exchange opportunities, and
- Business capacity building.
Significantly, the plan heralds a new way for Creative Victoria to work with First Peoples, including the establishment of a First Peoples Reference Group and a First Peoples first approach to the design and implementation of programs and initiatives.
Other First Peoples focused opportunities and initiatives developed and supported as part of this Creative State commitment, include:
- Yalingwa, a new First Peoples visual art initiative delivered partnership with the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) and TarraWarra Museum of Art. This includes major biennial exhibitions, a $60,000 artist fellowship, commissions and new curatorial positions.
- The Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival, presented for the first time in May 2017, an initiative of the City of Melbourne.
- A capacity building program to promote the work of First Peoples fashion designers in Victoria and provide pathways into the fashion industry.
- Participation by two emerging Victorian curators and one exhibition team leader in the Venice Biennale and the Australia Council's Biennale Professional Development program.
- The National Indigenous Dance Forum in Melbourne in May 2017 and enabling regional Victorians to join 250 First Peoples dancers from across Australia at this key industry event.
- Transition of the British Council's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creative leadership program, ACCELERATE, to a Victorian alumni-led program.
- The public and schools programming associated with the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art's Sovereignty exhibition.
A program to commission works on a scale beyond the capacity of existing Creative Victoria programs. Commissioned works will be ambitious and groundbreaking, with the power to inspire others, generate widespread audience and community engagement and increase tourism to the state.
This action was piloted with the commissioning of the Silo Art Trail in the Wimmera–Mallee region in Victoria's west, creating an outdoor art gallery stretching 200km and linking six of the state's smallest towns. Artists worked with locals, including traditional owners, in Brim, Patchewollock, Sheep Hills, Rupanyup, Lascelles and Rosebery to create large-scale silo artworks that celebrate the people and stories of these small communities.
Led by the Yarriambiack Shire Council, this ambitious project involved all three tiers of government and was delivered in partnership with GrainCorp, who donated the silos and provided technical and safety support.
Attracting tourists and national media attention, with local businesses reporting an upturn, the Silo Art Trail demonstrates that through partnerships with the private sector, local, state and federal governments and artists, works of this scale and ambition can deliver significant outcomes.
Following sector consultation throughout 2017 and considering insights gleaned from the pilot commission, the new program called Creative State Commissions was launched and opened for applications in December 2017.
Open to Victorian organisations, studios, companies and collectives working in any creative field, the program will support the creation of high impact, game-changing 'landmark' projects, that generate widespread audience and community engagement, attract tourism and have the potential to create a lasting legacy.
Following the initial open call-out for ideas, 27 applications were received in the program's first round. Seven of the applicants were shortlisted and supported with $20k each to further develop and investigate the feasibility of their idea.
The first Creative State Commission was awarded in July 2018 to ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, in partnership with Boonwurrung Custodian Caroline Martin (Director and Founder, Yalukit Marnang), for an epic First Nations theatre project, Bagurrk. The project has been supported with funding of $931,470,
Bagurrk (meaning woman) will celebrate the untold stories of Victorian Koorie women from before colonisation to the present day. The work will be based on source material including Board of Protection records, hundreds of letters written by Koorie women in the 1800s and oral histories. It will bring together descendants of the women behind the records and letters who will act as advisors in every aspect of the work, ensuring that self-determination and cultural authority are the driving forces of the project.
The team will also develop innovative consultation protocols and create a blueprint that can be used by other creative projects that tell First Nations stories.
First Nations artists and practitioners will lead all stages of the production and a range of attachments and work placements will be available to upskill the next generation of First Peoples theatre makers. Bagurrk will premiere at Arts Centre Melbourne in 2021,
Two further projects from the inaugural shortlist received support to undertake further development.
Malthouse Theatre was awarded $100,000 to continue development on an immersive theatrical experience based on producer Jason Tamiru's own experiences of reclaiming and reburying the ancestral remains of First Nations people.
$75,000 will help progress a project led by Matthew Bird, Charity Edwards and Tom Morgan from MADA (Monash Art, Design & Architecture), in partnership with Ross Turnbull and Clare Chandler at Working Heritage, that aims to transform the former Warracknabeal Courthouse into a vibrant artist residency space and art hotel.
The second round of Creative State Commissions supported nine creative teams to undertake feasibility studies and further development work to refine their ambitious ideas. From this shortlist, a project blending live art, augmented reality and games technology was awarded the 2019 commission. A collaboration between Victorian artist and coder Dr Troy Innocent, games studio Millipede and performance collective one step at a time like this, 64 Ways of Being will turn Melbourne into a giant playable game.
Accessed via a free mobile app, 64 Ways of Being will allow players to explore the city, from Braybrook to Elwood, and uncover specially commissioned artworks, augmented reality experiences and live performances.
- Melbourne the playable city
- Creative State Commissions - Round two shortlist revealed
- Commission gets to the heart of Creative State
- Announcing the Creative State Commissions Shortlist
Image: Sheep Hills Silo by artist Adnate. Photo: Hamish Kirkpatrick
A program to enable Victorian practitioners to gain industry experience or undertake professional development opportunities to further their practice and careers. This may include training, mentoring, secondments, residencies and other career advancement opportunities.
This action has been developed in conjunction with Action 6: Business acceleration with the objective of putting creative individuals and enterprises on a clear path to sustainability and growth.
The resulting program, Foundry658, led by State Library Victoria and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, was launched in June 2018.
Foundry658 is designed to help creative entrepreneurs, organisations and collectives turn their creative ideas into successful businesses.
The program provides free business development expertise and advice to build the capacity of creatives working across all fields – including arts and culture, film and television, media, publishing, fashion, digital games and design.
The program comprises a regional roadshow, boot camps to support up to 50 creative entrepreneurs and artists to develop their business idea, and an intensive three-month Accelerator program supporting high potential creative start-ups to turn their ideas into sustainable businesses.
Accelerator teams each receive $20,000 in seed funding and mentoring support from leading creative entrepreneurs.
Roadshow sessions were held across the state in 2018 with 523 people attending, representing an array of creative ideas, businesses and practice. Bootcamps took place in November 2018 and February 2019.
Eight teams successfully completed the first Accelerator program and launched their creative enterprises at the first Foundry658 Demo Night in July 2019.
More information about Foundry658 can be found at Foundry658.
Renewed funding for professional development initiatives delivered by Film Victoria that support opportunities for Victorian screen practitioners to develop and increase practical skills and industry knowledge.
Film Victoria has increased the number and diversity of professional development opportunities for a range of screen practitioners across the film, television and digital games sectors.
Programs and initiatives delivered under this action include:
- Professional Attachment Program – provides on the job experience for emerging and early career filmmakers.
- Key Talent Production Placements – placement opportunities for directors, writers and producers, as well as post-production, animation and crew roles.
- Key Talent Company Placements –Victorian production companies are funded to engage early to mid-career practitioners to work on a range of projects over a period of 6-12 months.
- Games Professional Placements – Victorian games companies are funded to engage early career practitioners to increase their skills and gain professional experience.
Film Victoria established two initiatives for women working in Victoria's film, television and digital games sectors:
- Women in Leadership Development Initiative was established in partnership with the Natalie Miller Fellowship. This initiative offers experienced screen professionals the opportunity to enhance their business skills and potential to be future industry leaders and influencers.
- Women in Games Fellowship – This initiative seeks to address the low representation of women working professionally in the Victorian games industry.
Film Victoria has also provided a range of opportunities for practitioners working in television, in conjunction with a number of industry partners, including:
- Film Victoria partnered with NITV on a new Indigenous comedy initiative, Bust Up, to encourage and increase comedic screen content created by Aboriginal Victorians. Bust Up provided nine Indigenous screen practitioners with the opportunity to develop their comedy concepts into short form narrative content.
- Film Victoria secured places for two female Victorian practitioners to attend MediaXchange's TV Drama Series Exchange program which ran in LA in March 2017. The participants received a tailored schedule of meetings with showrunners, writers, producers, and network executives to develop their knowledge, contacts and business skills in the international marketplace.
- A partnership between Film Victoria and Screen Australia secured British producer and writer Simon Mirren (Versailles, Criminal Minds and Without a Trace) for a Writer in Residence TV Drama Initiative. Using the 'writer's room' approach, the initiative gave three successful teams the opportunity to work with Simon to develop their television drama concepts, while a further six writers had individual consultations with him.
- Film Victoria partnered with Freemantle Media to provide placement and attachment opportunities on Neighbours for early to mid career directors and writers.
- Film Victoria partnered with NITV on Treaty Series, an opportunity for Victorian Indigenous filmmakers, storytellers, directors and producers to develop original ideas around the theme of ‘Treaty’. Successful applicants were supported to develop their idea through to production under the guidance and mentorship of Executive Producer Bec Cole (Redfern Now, The Warriors, First Australians, Wentworth).
Image: Producer John Battsek (One Day in September) and director Ezra Edelman (O.J.: Made in America) talk with journalist Tracey Holmes at Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) 2017. Funding will see AIDC held in Melbourne until 2020. Photo: Teresa Noble