Testing Grounds

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Testing Grounds

Testing Grounds

Program Methodology


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The programming methodology is designed to support a wide range of creative projects, including exhibitions, architecture and design projects, performances, interdisciplinary projects, residencies, 1:1 testing of public art, education and discursive projects and events and festivals. Projects can be proposed for any of the spaces or areas of the site – the White Box, Black Box, Clear Box, Open Box and throughout the grounds and under the Superstructure.

For 2018 Testing Grounds is seeking EOI’s for creative projects that benefit from sharing the site with other creative projects.


Program objectives

  • Cross programming; seeing what emerges when divergent groups come together on-site and work alongside and with each other.
  • Development of a flexible and robust creative program, which is not immutable and is free to respond to creativity.
  • A shortening of the time between when art is created and when art is presented.
  • Pooling of knowledge, information and resources for sharing.

Program outcomes

  • Carefully considered creative projects that are combined with rigorous practice-led-research.
  • An online archive, documenting and collecting information about Melbourne’s creative community, with a focus on new, experimental and emerging models of creative practice.
  • A stronger relationship between creative practitioners, their arts precinct and audiences.
  • More civic agency to be creative.
  • More experimentation, more innovation and more discovery.

Selection of projects

  • Testing Grounds programs creative projects on an ongoing basis through the online EOI portal.
  • Testing Grounds reviews all EOIs and select projects that are considered to be experimental, site-responsive or related to creative education. Read the Glossary of Terms, expanding on these terms.
  • We value projects that bring a diversity of creative practice, cultures and people to the arts precinct.

As a provocation, we offer a manifesto to guide the program methodology…

Starting from a place of “yes” we accept as many projects as we can. We program to find value in creative experience, as well as supporting artistic merit and creative excellence.

How many projects have Testing Grounds accepted?

How many projects have Testing Grounds accepted?

Yes, Testing Grounds accepted the project 168

No, the project needs more development to meet selection criteria 19

Yes, but they decided not to use Testing Grounds 17

No, the project is inappropriate 14

No, the project required specific dates that were not available 9

This data is collected from every EOI that Testing Grounds have received since November 27th, 2016. You can calculate the total number of EOI’s we have received so far by adding up the numbers above.

You can view live data on site use and programming outputs here.

How does it all come together?

Good question!

Once you have submitted an EOI we will get back to you, generally within 2-4 weeks. If we want to proceed with your project we will invite you down to the site (assuming you live in Melbourne) for a chat with the intention of finding not just the best dates and space for you, but also the best experience for you by considering your project creatively in relation to the other projects on site.  If we feel your projects needs more development we will invite you for a chat to share our thoughts.

We are open to suggestion, but generally, we offer spaces for up to three weeks for the presentation of completed work and residencies. Outside of this, projects could last one minute or one year.

What we look to create is a non-linear creative program that is designed to create an opportunity for projects to overlap and intersect, rather than simply exist side by side.

Experimental calendar.



As an example, in March 2017, the following projects overlapped and shared the site, audiences, knowledge and experience.


During the warmer months, Testing Grounds burns extra bright with a series of free ART PARTIES. Fuelled by the creative energy that is harnessed from Melbourne’s arts community coming together to do what they do best (make art and party) these events create a signature heat unique to a specific time and place. They provide a space for artists to test ideas and the public to experience unadulterated creativity.

It creates a signature heat unique to a specific time and place. You can recreate the conditions for it to happen again but you can’t recreate the same heat. It’s gone.

It is an experimental methodology that reflects the objective of Testing Grounds to see what emerges when divergent groups of people come together and work alongside and with each other. If your project is on site during this time (regardless of whether it is just beginning, ending, in the middle, or in development) you will be co-opted to join in on the fun!

Multiple projects – exhibitions, performances, residencies, and creative education – coming together for the art party and burning brightly before dissipating.