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IETM-Australia Council for the Arts Collaboration Project program update 2011-2012

The IETM-Australia Council Collaboration Project is pleased to announce the second and final program of supported projects for the 2011-12 financial year.

The aim of the project is to create new opportunities for Australian performing artists, companies and producers in Europe. Sophie Travers, Project Director, is based in Brussels, in the office of the IETM network, where she seeks to match the market development aspirations of Australian artists with opportunities and resources.

The IETM network’s two major annual meetings are the starting point for many of the projects supported by this initiative. Other projects stem from conversations with partners outside the network, initiated either by Travers or by the artists and producers actively investing in their international relationships. The program targets partners with influence and the potential to create momentum for Australian performing artists in areas where they might not otherwise be involved.

All the projects begin with a shared set of aims between the partners and a strong investment of resources and commitment to the long-term relationship. They are characterised by their potential to develop over time, offering wider opportunities beyond the initiating partners. Almost all projects involve a degree of reciprocity and exchange and some include international collaboration.

The curated program is only part of the project’s outcomes. Advocacy and networking creates other opportunities for Australian involvement in European projects. The dissemination of information raises the profile of Australian work in Europe and the understanding of the European context in Australia. Supporting artists touring in Europe or researching opportunities for artform and professional development are less visible aspects of the role that broadly seeks to stimulate curiosity and exchange.

Residencies, exchanges and collaborations

Robin Fox, a contemporary music artist from Melbourne is supported to work with Scotland’s leading contemporary music organisation, Cryptic, during their Sonica festival of sonic and visual arts. Fox will be in residence in Glasgow prior to the festival and will present to a professional international audience attracted by Cryptic’s high-standing as a producer.

Luke George, a contemporary dance artist from Melbourne, will take up a residency at BIT Bergen in 2013. George will work with Brussels-based Norwegian artist, Heine Avdal and US choreographer Miguel Gutierrez. This partnership began when Avdal and Sven Birkeland, Director of BIT, attended Dance Massive 2011, an initiative of the IETM-Australia Council Collaboration Project. Presenting in Europe at the Noorderzon Festival in The Netherlands in 2012, George is investing in a program of international projects that will create further opportunities for himself and his peers.

Mish Grigor, a Sydney-based theatre artist and member of POST, will work in residence in Ghent, Belgium with Reckless Sleepers, a British-Belgian performance ensemble. Mish connected with Reckless Sleepers during the residency of the company’s Artistic Director, Mole Wetherell, at pvi collective’s CIA studios in Perth in 2011. Wetherell and pvi met at an IETM meeting and his Australian visit was in part funded by the IETM-Australia Council Collaboration Project. Grigor will collaborate with Reckless Sleepers in the creation of a new work for half of her residency. For the remaining four weeks, she will meet with peer artists and producers in Belgium and the UK.

Branch Nebula, the Sydney-based theatre artists, have undertaken the first of a three stage creative development in partnership with Kiasma in Helsinki, Finland. The project involves Lee Wilson and Mirabelle Wouters of Branch Nebula working with local skateboard riders and other non-artists to create a site responsive version of their production Concrete and Bone Sessions especially for Helsinki. Wilson visited Kiasma in April 2012 and will return with Wouters in February 2013 for a creative development that will culminate in a presentation in the international street art festival URB in August 2013.

Punctum, the Castlemaine-based live art hub, have begun a three year exchange with Maison de la Folie in Mons, Belgium, that will culminate in a festival in the 2015 European City of Culture program in Mons. Jude Anderson of Punctum has visited Mons and is curating a series of residencies during which Australian and European artists will develop new work and exchange practice. The 2015 festival will include linked projects from other European Cities of Culture and is focused on regional rather than metropolitan centres, thus creating a new network for Punctum and the artists involved that will have a range of long-term outcomes and associated opportunities.

Under the Radar, the Brisbane Festival initiative that focuses on emerging, innovative performance practice is developing an exchange with the NagiB International Contemporary Dance Festival in Maribor, Slovenia. Producer Brittany Guy will attend an IETM meeting in 2012 to identify further project partners. In the first stage of the exchange, dance artists Matthew Day and Rhiannon Newton will develop and present work in Slovenia in 2013.

Research, networking and advocacy

Margie Medlin, Director of Sydney-based choreographic research centre, Critical Path, undertook a research trip to France in partnership with the French government agency for international exchange and touring, ONDA (Office National de Diffusion Artistique) in late 2011. Margie met with peer organisations and key French dance centres to initiate dialogue with potential partners for exchange with Critical Path and associated artists.

Four Australian circus producers and artists were supported to attend the Paris meeting of the international circus and street arts network, Circostrada in April 2012. Fez FaananaBriefs and PolytoxicScott MaidmentStrut & FretMarguerite PepperMarguerite Pepper Productions and Kate FryerDislocate, attended the event in the company of Travers and several other Australian presenters and artists. They included Nick Power, resident artist at Cit√© internationale des Arts Paris; Scott Grayland, Flying Fruit Fly Circus; Michael Cohen, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority; Vernon Guest, Sydney Festival and Gail Kelly, ACAPTA. Circostrada is a key IETM member and is actively engaging with the European Culture Fund opportunities to engage their members with Australian partners. There are several projects in development as a result of the Circostrada connection.

For more information, contact Sophie Travers at or Ellen Dwyer at



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030


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