Lab presentation as part of Slovenia – Croatia – Australia Artist Exchange. Credit: Britt Guy.
Supported by the IETM Australia Council Collaboration Project, Britt Guy, independent producer, based in the Northern Territory, undertook the Slovenia – Croatia – Australia Artist Exchange. Britt writes about her experiences and plans for the development of this ambitious project.
The Slovenia – Croatia – Australia Artist Exchange is an annual six-week transitory exchange for dancers through Slovenia, Croatia and Australia.
In 2011, Petra Hazabent from NagiB Dance Festival in Slovenia and I, Britt Guy – independent Curator and Producer from Australia met at a conference in Turkey. We both worked with emerging dancers as part of the festival programs we managed and so began an ongoing conversation about how they could support them and encourage their practices to develop in an international context.
In 2012, two Slovenian dancers and one musician travelled to be apart of Brisbane Festival’s Under the Radar that I was then curating. The dancers Tina Dobaj Eder and Gregor Kamnikar and musician Samo Pecar worked with six Queensland University of Technology students to redevelop their work, Capital. This project focused on creating an environment of sharing of culture, experience and diverse dance language.
I learnt a lot from this experience and this enabled me to refine the purpose of the exchange.
The exchange from 2013 onwards has been build out of a desire to:
Nourish artists culturally and intellectually.
Provide an opportunity to reflect, flesh out and share future projects.
Develop independent international peer relationships.
Engage local dancers in new international artistic conversations and experiences.
In 2013 Petra and I welcomed Zvonimir Dobrovic from Perforacije Festival to the exchange and we collectively embarked on presenting a six-week transitory cultural exchange for dancers:
The program included masterclasses, open public workshops, presentations and research culminating in an open creative lab showing. Full 2013 program.
During the artists time in Australia they were based in Brisbane and worked collectively in the studio over the two weeks sharing concepts, research, practice and ideas. The culmination of this time was an Exchange Index, which was used as the bases for the open lab presented to local industry.
The lab on reflection by artists and industry was two hours of genuine idea sharing – slithers of new ideas, processes and movement that were open to interpretation and about nothing more than opening an opportunity to exchange. For me the openness of the artists was a significant vote of confidence for the importance of opportunities for artists that are about individual growth and learning connected to their practice as a whole rather than any one-project outcome.
In heading in 2014 the Slovenia – Croatia – Australia has been committed to annually by all three hosts and will again support four artists. The dancers while in Australia will spend one week in Brisbane and one week in a regional centre with one of the two Australian dancers coming from the regional area.
2014 also sees the ongoing support of the exchange alumni with both Matthew Day and Rhiannon Newton being offered residencies to return to Eastern Europe to create new work.