Testing Grounds

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Testing Grounds

Testing Grounds

Program Methodology


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The creative program is designed to support a wide range of 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 2019 Testing Grounds is seeking EOI’s for creative projects that benefit from sharing the site with other creative projects. We also strongly encourage projects that utilise the outdoor infrastructure and grounds.



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.
  • Seeing how the Testing Grounds infrastructure can participate in creative projects.
  • A free site to use, within your standard hours of operation.

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 248

No, the project needs more development to meet selection criteria 36

No, the project is inappropriate 27

Yes, but they decided not to use Testing Grounds 22

No, the project required specific dates that were not available 15

The project is in review 4

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. 

We offer space for up to three weeks for the presentation of completed work, creative development and residencies. 

The site operates all year round, Wednesdays-Saturdays (10am-6pm), and the first Friday of each month (6pm-10pm), for openings of exhibitions, performances, open-studios and other creative activities. On the first Friday of each month, we aim to go beyond projects simply opening side-by-side to create a non-linear creative program that offers an opportunity for projects to overlap, intersect, and build on each other. 

Outside of this core creative program, projects could last one minute or one year. If you have an idea for a project that doesn’t fit anywhere else, we want to hear about it. 

The site is free to use within our standard hours of operation. We are happy to open the site for public presentation outside of our standard hours of operation for openings, performances or any other creative activity, supported by a small cost to cover staffing. Creative practitioners will always get to keep 100% of tickets sold or artwork sales.

Experimental calendar.



As an example, in March 2017, the following projects overlapped and shared the site, audiences, knowledge and experience on the first Friday of the month.