Thursday 14 September


ON COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY – co-designing the future of the arts sector  

10 – 11AM

What are we doing, right now, as a sector, that will have value in a generation? How can we embed and enact hope so that the ripple effect is significant? And what support do we all need to leave a lasting legacy for generations of artists to come? 

Using the inclusive Open Space Technology introduced at ATF in 2009 by Improbable Theatre, and utilised again in 2011, as a planning tool – delegates are invited to develop a vision for what our performing arts sector will look like 10, 20 and 100 years from now. 

Session #1: Coming together to decide priorities – the first part of Co-Designing the Future, led by Lenine Bourke and Nathan Stoneham, will bring delegates together to decide priorities. Delegates will deliberate on topics, ideas, and priority areas that are essential to keep, invent or reinvent for the wider arts sector and future colleagues, collaborators, and stakeholders. Everyone’s ideas will be shared during this all-in session and included in a schedule of conversations at Morning Tea.

We encourage delegates to connect with likeminded friends and colleagues, ahead of the forum, to discuss potential ideas for the working groups – come with a topic/conversation starter to contribute and volunteer to host a table (but also, no pressure).   

Led by Lenine Bourke & Nathan Stoneham  

MORNING TEA: 11 – 11:30AM

WORKSHOPS – on holding space

11:30AM – 1PM

A suite of workshops developed specifically for APAF attendees that offer practical tools to support growth, wellbeing and resilience in the arts. These four sessions will focus on strategies, conversations, and opportunities to help shape practice, process, and future relationships. 

1 – Community, Connection & Cultural Safety

This session will offer an opportunity to communally imagine ways to grow a culturally safe performing arts community. We will define cultural safety and use a needs-based lens to discuss trauma informed approaches and share frameworks that can underpin collaborations and performance making. 

Facilitated by Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa (The Blue Room Theatre), Katrina Irawati Graham (La Boite Theatre) & Perun Bonser 

2 – Boundaries, Consent & Safe Spaces

Internationally recognised movement, fight and intimacy director, Nigel Poulton (Deadloch, Nautilus, Sydney Theatre Company, New York City Ballet) will lead an exclusive workshop for APAF delegates that explores a shared language and set of protocols around body autonomy in the rehearsal room and other professional contexts.  

An essential part of the creative process, Nigel will invite delegates to explore how these concepts are used, offering practical tools to implement and normalise a language of agency and creativity. This workshop will also familiarise delegates with the movements that have driven an important shift in the performing arts sector and wider entertainment industry. 

Facilitated by Nigel Poulton (Intimacy Directors International) 

3 – Resilience & Wellbeing

Delegates will dive into the practical elements of building and maintaining resilience in the arts. Led by award-winning actor, Emily Burton (Queensland Theatre’s Othello, La Boite’s Naked & Screaming), delegates will learn tangible tools and techniques that can be applied in-the-moment to aid feelings of stress and overwhelm in a range of environments, including high-stakes meetings, public speaking engagements, and difficult conversations with colleagues and stakeholders. These tools can be used individually and in groups to regulate our bodies, increase self-awareness and make our lives in the arts more sustainable. 

Facilitated by Emily Burton  

4 – Keeping Up Momentum

This is a closed workshop for First Nations delegates only.

In response to the ongoing sector conversations around the growing need for workforce development, First Nations delegates are invited to this closed-door session. 

Paving the way for sustainable growth, the facilitators will delve into a comprehensive overview of the upcoming funding opportunities available for First Nations artists nationwide. Discussion will include details of funding applications, ensuring you are equipped with the knowledge and strategies needed to secure vital financial support. Workforce development remains at the forefront of sector growth – this workshop will help steer your individual practice towards sustainable success.

Facilitated by Erica McCalman (Chair, TNA)

This is an introductory conversation with and by independent artists hosted by TNA at APAF in partnership with FNPAC orgs – BlakDance, Moogahlin Performing Arts, Ilbijerri, Yirri Yaakin Theatre Company, and Marrageku. Please see the Background Issue Paper here for more information.


THE ARTIST AS ACTIVIST – on revolution through cultural transformation 

2 – 3:30PM

Through artistic practice, process and collaboration, these artists interrogate how the performing arts can be used to affect positive change in our communities, societies, and the world. 

1 – Climate Action

with Lana Nguyen (A Climate for Art) & Zoe Scoglio

A Climate For Art is a growing coalition within the arts that’s putting climate at the forefront of our conversations and actions. In a time where things have never felt so urgent, overwhelming and compressed, how do we begin to tackle the mounting collective climate crisis? 

In this session, Lana and Zoe will be holding space for delegates to think together by grounding everyone in their experiences and thoughts surrounding the climate. They will facilitate a collective conversation of articulating where the pressure points are, so we can better orientate towards what is needed relationally, and offer pathways towards continued action. 

2 – Youth Advocacy

with Chanella Macri & John Marc Desengano (Western Edge)  

At Western Edge activism is care, play and agency. 

Co-Artistic Directors, John Marc Desengano and Chanella Macri, facilitate a session on how revolutionary activism can be gentle and playful by demonstrating and unpacking the Western Edge artistic practice. 

We are a community youth arts company, specialising in theatre to platform and champion the next generation of performing artists from Naarm’s West. Our artistic practice prioritises the wellbeing and creativity of the marginalised communities we are from and serve. 

We work at a different pace and in a different way in our community and ask you for 3 things when you jam with us:

1. Give it a go
2. Make mistakes

And we promise if you do number 1 and 2, you’ll do number 3 –

3. Have fun.

3 – Disability Arts

with Caroline Bowditch (Arts Access Victoria) & Madeleine Little (Undercover Artist Festival)  

It’s Not Rocket Science, It’s Just Humanity

Join Caroline and Maddie as they discuss how we develop and nurture safety in our creative working environments to allow everyone to show up as they are. Defining and exploring agency and challenging the rigidity of expected working and performance practices, this session will unpack our expectations of ourselves and others. 

This session will ask the following questions:

-Why are we expected to ‘leave our stuff at the door’? 
-Who grants agency in the room?
-How can we create a space where everyone feels acknowledged and seen?
-Is accessibility really just for Deaf and Disabled artists and artsworkers? 
-Is ‘the way things have always been done’ truly the best way to do them?

Participants attending this session will leave with insight into the greater creative outcomes and working practices made possible when accessibility and humanity are at the core of what we do and why. 

4 – Resistance & Action

with Liesel Zink

In a world of rising geopolitical tension and increased environmental disasters, what are the skills, experiences and platforms we can offer as artists and arts workers; how can we use our practice to resist systems that seek to diminish us and build our capacity to cope with forces that are beyond our control. 

5 – Decolonising Creation

with Kamarra Bell-Wykes & Carly Sheppard (A Daylight Connection)  

A DAYLIGHT CONNECTION’s transformational and boundary-breaking brand of adventure theatre is revolutionising what First Nations theatre can be. Join Kamarra Bell-Wykes and Carly Sheppard as they claim back creativity from the grips of colonial constructs and push performance to its wildest possible potential.


ON COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY – co-designing the future of the arts sector

4 – 6PM

Session #2: Breaking off into working groups – a schedule of conversations will be made available and easily accessible via phone, tablet or laptop. Selected delegates will host (up to) 4 x 20minute conversations* to plan how their idea, project, vision, or specific need can be met, by whom, when and how. This is it, the big brainstorming session – an opportunity to co-design alternative futures for the arts with your fellow delegates. All relevant decisions, ideas, and takeaways will be document online.   

*Some conversations will take longer than others – delegates are encouraged to participate in 2-4 conversations to ensure wide-spread contribution and diversity of thought across areas of focus. If you are compelled to stay at one table for the full two hours, we will not stop you! 

Day 3: Friday 15 September >>>