This is Next Wave

Next Wave challenges our understanding of what art can be. We support young and emerging artists to create urgent, risky, generous, ambitious and essential art.

Since 1984, Next Wave has pushed back on established ideas and practices — studying, questioning and shifting. This is where unique development programs and a bold festival meet. Our refined arts development programs help young artists explore their potential, ultimately presenting their work to a massive arts-loving community in our festival.

Next Wave queries, disrupts, discovers and exposes the next culture of new ideas.

Obsessed with the New

Whether you’re an artist, producer, curator, writer, philanthropist, Board member, intern, marketing manager or CEO, Next Wave is the epicenter of the next generation of Australian arts practitioner. We believe that a holistic environment of experimentation and trust plays a vital role in creating collaborative, diverse cultural leaders who reflect the kind of world we want to live in.

Next Wave’s flagship development program, Kickstart, invites emerging artists from across Australia into a program that includes funding, professional and creative development, plus a peer-to-peer networking opportunities with young practitioners. Kickstart is unique in its scale, depth and design. In the year preceding each festival, artists participate in skills-based workshops focused on finance, fundraising, innovative marketing and media relations, all within a supportive environment. Workshops are conducted with arts leaders and provocateurs in cross-artform collaboration, site-specificity, feedback methodology, documentation and establishing long-term careers. Development showings to peers, stakeholders and other Kickstart participants advance the work-in-progress with a view towards inclusion in the Next Wave Festival.

This year Next Wave has created Preview 2014, a project which expresses our wishes for the next Next Wave Festival. Selected by the Artistic Director, this special commission will feature the first stage of a collaboration, fostering experimentation and new collisions. For the inaugural work, we’re keen to support the expansion of cutting-edge contemporary arts practice by young artists with a disability. We’re doing this to ensure that a genuine diversity of people apply to be part of Kickstart 2013.

Our first Preview project is a development of a solo dance work featuring Paul Matley, known widely for his performance work with Rawcus, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Platform Youth Theatre.

We are also committed to the professional development of our staff, creating an environment where learning, experimentation and failure are all part of the process of making meaningful contributions to the arts. We are committed to providing significant internship opportunities, with many of these positions progressing to paid positions within Next Wave and beyond. Sometimes they even become Artistic Directors!

Next Wave’s development approach empowers emerging practitioners to create new work that invites us to see the world and ourselves in unexpected ways.

Adamant About Context

This year, Next Wave has initiated a new program called The Residents. Leading arts professionals from around the globe have been invited to be ‘in residence’ for the duration of the Festival. It’s a blind date for us, them, our Festival and our city.

We scoured the planet for people who have initiated new festivals, spaces and projects that are resonating strongly with their community and exemplify new ideas and new approaches. The Residents will be present as provocateurs throughout the Festival, speaking at Breakfast Club and partying til dawn. Next Wave encourages insightful and robust critical analysis of our artists’ work and we think a global view is particularly useful for artists at the beginning of their career.

In 2012 The Residents include Andy Field (Forest Fringe, UK), Laura McDermott and Harun Morrison (Fierce Festival, UK), Ben Pryor (American Realness, New York), Alia Swastika (Jogyakarta Biennale, Indonesia), Stephen Cleland (Physics Rooms, New Zealand), Susan Gibb (Curator, Australia), Ianto Ware (Format Festival/Renew Adelaide, Australia) and Inza Lim (Seoul Marginal Theatre Festival, South Korea), amongst others.

Devoted to Extraordinary

We design our Festival and our development programs to create new methods and new environments through which we can share ideas with as many people as possible.

In 2012 we’re excited to announce a three-year partnership with Fierce Festival, Birmingham.

The relationship we have with these guys exemplifies how we approach international relationships: long-lasting, focused on mutual interests and multi-dimensional.

This year, 2010 NWF Bennett Miller will present Dachshund UN at Fierce Festival (29 March – 8 April), with the support of the Australia Council for the Arts Hopscotch Initiative. Similarly, British artists LuckyPDF will present new work at Fierce, and also participate as one of our five collectives in keynote project, Wake up and wait for the sun to rise: 500 methods for a new beginning.

Other elements of the partnership include Producer exchanges, co-commissioning and residencies. Massive thanks to British Council Australia for their significant support of this new approach.

In Love with Locality

At the centre of our practice is a passionate curiosity about place and time. Next Wave possesses a memorable and important history as a Festival that has articulated the value of art in new contexts – from bars to laneways, warehouses to train stations, forecourts, stairwells and crypts. In 2012 we’re venturing into seafarers’ quarters, warehouses, trees, graveyards, buses, bunkers and rivers – finding the site that most aptly supports the artists’ works.

Similarly we seek to invest in the development of local people. In 2012 our program for emerging arts writers, Text Camp, has been expanded through a partnership with the Emerging Writers’ Festival. 7 emerging arts writers join 7 mentors from publications including Real Time, Ampersand, Blackmail, Art Guide, Crikey and The Thousands providing focused mentoring advice and fostering lasting relationships. The writers attend Next Wave events and participate in a dynamic workshop program, expanding their skills and insight on artistic process, and enabling them to produce interesting and pervasive analysis of the Festival.

Conscious of Time

In 2010, 70% of our audience used environmentally friendly transport (trams, trains or bikes) to attend the Festival. We’re pretty proud of this and what it says about Next Wave’s people. In the coming years we’d like to support our community to expand their commitment to sustainable practice.

Next Wave has committed to a zero-carbon practice by 2014. Along the way, we are experimenting and researching with a variety of approaches that will make that possible. We think it’s important that an approach to sustainability includes discussions of sustainable arts practice. Our guiding principle is to use only what’s needed now, being mindful of what future generations may need to make great art.

We adopt a holistic approach to sustainability in the workplace and across our programs, including regularly updating procedures and embedding techniques into our organisational culture. We regularly review the effectiveness of our sustainability activities and always seek to improve our environmental performance.