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Around 150 international artists, producers and presenters will arrive in Melbourne next week for the inaugural IETM Satellite meeting.

They will join arts leaders from across Australia for the knowledge and cultural exchange event to increase international collaboration and engagement.

The Australia Council for the Arts and the International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts (IETM) will present the three-day meeting in partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne (Asian Performing Arts Program) and Next Wave from Monday 12 May to Wednesday 14 May 2014.  It will be held at Arts Centre Melbourne.

Australia Council Executive Director Arts Development Doctor Wendy Were said the IETM Satellite meeting would bring together the most prestigious and innovative performing arts producers and presenters from Europe, Asia, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

The Australia Council issued an expression of interest to Australian and international performing arts producers and presenters and we have been overwhelmed by the number of applications we have received, Dr Were said.

There are 82 delegates from Australia, 53 from Europe, 87 from Asia, one from Canada and four from New Zealand.

There is a large contingent from Indonesia and Japan and representatives from countries as diverse as Macau, Myanmar, Bulgaria, Estonia and Sri Lanka.

Dr Were said delegates would discuss a number of topics in workshops and forums, including the arts landscape in Asia and Europe, political and social constraints to making work and traditional and contemporary art.

Photographer and University of NSW Research Fellow in the School of the Arts and Media, William Yang, will give the key note and Australia Council deputy chair Robyn Archer AO will close the event, Dr Were said.

One of the program highlights will be a panel discussion at Footscray Community Arts Centre on The artist as activist promoting freedom of speech, democracy and diversity.

Jade Lillie will moderate the panel, consisting of Lin Htet Nyan from Myanmar’s Theatre of the Disturbed, Yudi Tajudin from Indonesia’s Teater Garasi, Anna Lengyel from Hungary’s PanoDrama and Lydia Fairhall from Footscray Community Arts Centre.

IETM is the largest and oldest European network for the performing arts with more than 500 members from 50 countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and Australia.

Dr Were said to broaden its membership outside Europe, several biannual meetings have been held in Asia, including Singapore, China and Japan, but this was the first time the meeting would be held in Australia.

The delegates participating in the Melbourne meeting will have unique access to influential and dynamic arts leaders from around the world to share expertise, build partnerships and create strong networks to facilitate the development of future projects, Dr Were said.

The meeting coincides with the Next Wave Festival and delegates will participate in events held on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 May.  Now in its 30th year, the festival will present a range of new work from innovative Australian and international performing and visual artists, including theatre, dance, media and installation art.

Delegates will enjoy a curated weekend of activities that have been programmed for this year’s festival and meet some of the artists and producers involved.

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