Emily Sexton, Artistic Director

At the end of 2010 it was clear to me that the next generation of artists had a different – and difficult – relationship with politics as it appeared on the nightly news. They are a generation who have known only the harsh absolutes of John Howard and the hesitations of Labor. A generation who have grown up as the Internet has grown up. Who assume access to information, are comfortable with multiple meanings and know it’s tremendously more powerful to talk, not tell.

Within this context I wanted to know whether art could be both beautiful, and effective. So I started the festival with a challenge, not a theme. I wanted to ask questions and stir thoughts. I wanted our artists to articulate how they were navigating their world.

We titled this query “the space between us wants to sing.”

This was before 2011 turned up. An unexpectedly dramatic year. We made the Festival in that context – while millions took to the streets, in more and more countries, seeking out change without knowing how to articulate it yet. It wasn’t united; it wasn’t consistent; it wasn’t a movement. It was a moment. A feeling. That something needed to be different.

Good artists understand their context. And so the strange shifts of 2011 influenced us deeply. To me: these times, and these politics, represent the very best environment for us to be making art. Because art has the ability to articulate things we don’t understand yet. The things that words will misconstrue and actions will obstruct.

The 2012 Festival presents art that reinterprets our social, political and civic humanity, using a range of new and unexpected tools. This is art that draws upon the arsenal of the subconscious to reveal what it is to be more human, humans. This is art that makes arguments for difference without resorting to the structures that previously existed. This is art that exists outside and above tribalism and tradition, while tackling those topics head-on.

So who is this festival for?

Hopefully what will feel most different about the 2012 Festival is how much we have thought about you, our community.

Next Wave is not a festival where you pick out your favourites and head along to three shows over the three weeks.

Next Wave is a festival that introduces a community of brave people who are tackling their most complex thoughts. They are sharing those ideas for the very first time. So you come to our festival to immerse yourself in their bravery; their ideas and their insights. We’re going to share some breakfast, dip into art, talk about it, not talk about it, see more art, share a meal, and wait until the sun does rise.

Please don’t come looking for answers about contemporary art. It’s time for questions, more questions.

Bring us your questions, your quibbles, your confusion and your madness.

Welcome to the next wave.


In 2012 we’re changing the we communicate with you. With the guidance of Editor Alice Gage, we created a publication that introduces a new collection of people. We haven’t made a Festival Guide, we’ve created the very first Next Wave Magazine.

You can download a copy here (NB 8 MB pdf download).

We commissioned essays on generosity and urgency for the Next Wave Magazine.

Download a copy of Does The Cosmos Care? by Bryan Gaensler here.

Download a copy of A Post-Apocalyptic Manifesto Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Wasteland by Briohny Doyle here.

Printed copies of the magazine will be available around Melbourne and at selected sites nationally. For a sample list of our distribution sites, click here.


Day passes for the 2012 Next Wave Festival will go on sale 15 March, 2012 and individual tickets to all events will go on sale 29 March, 2012. Many events and shows between 19 – 27 May are completely free however some free events do also require pre-booking. Please see individual show pages on the website for more information on all events and below for some info on how you will be able to purchase tickets!


You can browse the program and purchase tickets online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on this website. Just choose a day pass to view the itinerary or view individual shows by name or via the calendar. Purchases can be made online with your credit card and you will be sent confirmation of your purchase via email.


You can also purchase tickets on your mobile via this website!


Phone lines are open weekdays, 9.30am to 6.00pm. Credit card sales only. Please note a transaction fee of $2.50 applies. This phone number is strictly for phone bookings, this is not an information line.


In some instances, when tickets are still available, you can just turn up at the venue and purchase tickets on the spot.  Make sure you take some cash as some Next Wave Festival venues will not have credit card facilities.

And don’t assume there will always be tickets available at the door!  Shows do sell out.


A Next Wave Festival Day Pass is your ticket to a whole-day journey into the next culture of new ideas. Starting at our Breakfast Club  you will be led by a Festival Ringleader through a cross-section of visual art, performance, dance, live art, audio works, public art and more – with plenty of stop-overs for food, drinks and discussion! There are nine day passes, one for each day of the Festival and prices start from just$15.


Single tickets will go on sale 29 March, 2012.


Where available, concession priced tickets can be purchased by:

-Children 14 years and under

-Full-time Students

-Pensioners — with Government issued cards (Not Seniors)

-Health Care Card holders

-MEAA members

-Companion Card holders receive a complimentary ticket to support people with a disability to see a show. The companion ticket must be booked at the same time as the purchased ticket — please phone us for more information including disability access for venues and events.

Please note, concession ticket holders will be required to present their card at the door of the venue.


In the interest of the environment, Next Wave operates door lists at it’s events rather than requiring audiences to bring printed tickets. The exception to this is for Day Passes which do require you to bring your print-at-home ticket with you and your itinerary for reference!  If you do not receive confirmation of your purchase via email please contact  the ticketing hotline (1300 30 40 72)


In 2010 70% of our audience used environmentally friendly transport (trams, trains or bikes). We’re pretty proud of this and what it says about Next Wave’s people.  At the start of May 2012, Next Wave will release a super-practical, fold-down-to-your-pocket map and guide to where everything  is for the 2012 Festival. Between now and then our website is mobile friendly and event pages contain handy Google maps so you know where you’re going.

Who Did This?

Next Wave Board Janenne Willis (Chair); Kath Papas (Deputy Chair); Chetan Arjun (Treasurer); Kate Sulan (Public Officer); Justin Hooper, Malena Roufos, Martyn Coutts, Matt Williams, Rebecca Burdon

Artistic Director (CEO) Emily Sexton
Executive Director (CEO) Paul Gurney
Artistic Program Manager Serena Bentley
Marketing and Development Manager Nicole Smith
Administration Coordinator Lucy McNamara
Associate Producer Ashley Dyer
Associate Producer Briony Galligan
Associate Producer Kristy Ayre
Production Manager Daniel Jericho
Special Projects Coordinator Edwina Brennan
Marketing Assistant Sean Wilson
Festival Assistant Mathilde Oliveau
Administration Intern Laura Williams
Public Space Intern Bek Berger
Community Development Intern Jayson Patterson
Artist Resources Intern Jaye Cook
Publicity Intern Jonathan Homsey

Publicist Annette Vieusseux
Editor (Next Wave Magazine) Alice Gage
Design Kin (Dale Bordin, John Wilson, Steve Lees, Wade Jeffree)
Web development Portable.tv
Ticketing VenueTix
Risk Management Consultant Bill Coleby
Sustainability Consultant Laura Morgan

Curatorial Advisory Committee Christian Leavesley, Daniel Schlusser, Emma McRae, Eugenia Lim, Josh Wright, Lisa Radford, Luke George, Natalie Cursio, Ulanda Blair

Keynote Project advisors Tony Albert, Susan Gibb, Jennifer Jamieson, Alex Kelly, Martin del Amo, Lisa Bailey with RiAUS

Text Camp 2012 Mentors Alice Gage (Ampersand), Dylan Rainforth (Art Guide Australia), Ben Eltham (Crikey), John Bailey (Real Time), Melissa Loughnan (The Blackmail), Penny Modra (Right Angle), with a special thank you to Lisa Dempster and the Emerging Writers’ Festival