NEAF (2015) National Experimental Arts Forum: Perth AU
Shark Tank: Arts Funding Panel.
Sarah Jane Pell, David Sudmali, Henry Boston, Thomas de Callet Burgess & Duncan Ord
Dr. Sarah Jane Pell provided the live bait questions on the Experimental Arts Shark Tank featuring four of Australia’s funding decision-makers, all
hunting for the next big idea by an artist or artistic group to turn into a supported project. Starring David Sudmalis (Australia Council), Henry Boston
(Chamber of Arts & Culture, WA), Thomas de Callet Burgess (City of Joondalup) and Duncan Ord (WA Department of Culture and the Arts) as Australia’s
Arts Funding “sharks” for NEAF 2015. These Australian Arts professionals judge the concepts and proposals pitched by randomly-generated experimental
artists and then decide, based on their organisational guidelines and priorities, whether to invest, mentor and support the venture. In exchange
for supporting their professional practices, the experimental artists must convince a Shark their idea meets the critieria (fits in the box) and is
original (fits out side the box), and is worth pursuing (can swim)...but it takes more than passion and talent to hook a Shark. Who will have the best
funding bait, the right line and the smarts to win a likely tug-of-war? And will anyone get mauled in the Shark Tank? From the inspiring to the
completely impractical, audiences will share in the challenge of securing Arts Funding for those who dare to dream big in an effort to
contribute to the cultural landscape.
National Experimental Arts Forum, Presented by SymbioticA on behalf of The Australia Council for The Arts. Shark Tank Funding Panel, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Concourse 2:10PM Monday 5 Oct 2015. Images: Dan Grant.
Highlights & Musings
The vital contribution of experimental artists includes a flood of intuitive, remembered, imaginative, spontaneous and affected factors resulting in social, cultural, economic and aesthetic value near and far. Yet the measures and metrics for scaling and comparing this impact - including timelines - fail to both capture the build, and reach the less direct spin-off benefits that funding gives experimental artist.
The secular coded model of experimental arts — epistemological and physical — represented at this event, provoked new understandings of what is "no longer" experimental or viable any more to funders. The maelström of cultural, political, scientific, and technological modalities informing our sector is further under estimated.
More traditional multifaceted or hybrid arts 'projects' specifically targeted at building communities and audiences, are leaning on Experimental Arts support avenues with increased ambiguity about where to go for support. These candidates are in direct competition with Experimental Artists pushing new ground and territories in the field, for the field, and often representing Australia in the field or at the edge.
It is the responsibility of experimental artists to build relationships and maintain communication with (potential) funding bodies and advocacy organisations throughout their careers, and most importantly during the period of support of a project, and its acquittal (formal and ongoing).
Context and positioning or posturing matters. If Experimental Artists 'Stay on the Fringe' funders/hosts/audiences alike know "how" to position and "support" the works. The cultural and political infrastructure, from the ground up, does not have the mechanisms for investing in risky works without verifiable models of deliverables and successful outcomes...so work with them, to discover their capability and develop this.
Maintain a profession, by being professional. Experimental Artists can be better prepared. Keep informed. Keep informing. Keep knocking. Keep probing. Keep open. Keep conscious of refining your value, impact, and reach. New doors are appearing. We don't have all the keys. Front up. Say your name is on the door, and start a conversation.
Help those help you to stay vital and reach audiences in Australia. The rest of the world will understand.
Magnolias JNR (aged 10-14) NEAF2015 & Awesome Festival.
Sarah Jane Pell & Philip Adams on "What makes your art experimental?"
Live Radio Interview Hosted by Tristan Fidler and Matt Aiken
My personal highlight was the "awesome/awkward" Radio Interview with Magnolias JNR including hosts Lilith and The Captain.
It was great to meet them at NEAF@AGWA and engage with their questions for the Awesome Festival.
I promise to continue to make trouble and impossible dreams real. Thanks Magnolias JNR for being AWESOME^10.
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Concourse 12:00PM Tuesday 6 Oct 2015. Images: Dan Grant.
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