Testing Grounds

Please wait, your file is being uploaded. This could take several minutes.

Testing Grounds

Please wait, your form is being processed.

Testing Grounds

Sorry, an error occurred. Please refresh the page and try again!

Testing Grounds

Testing Grounds

Program Methodology


Print / Download

Testing Grounds is programmed to burn extra bright ten nights across the calendar year, fuelled by a creative energy this is harnessed from multiple projects overlapping, intercepting and colliding.

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.

Multiple projects – exhibitions, performances, residencies, and creative education – colliding and burning brightly before dissipating.

Multiple projects overlapping at many points – their start, middle or end – on the first Friday each of month between February and November.


Programming Manifesto

Testing Grounds –

It isn’t an institution, a gallery or a museum. There are similarities and there are differences.

It is an infrastructure project.

It is research.

It is a heterotopia; a different place.

It is a secular site; different to monolithic architectural objects that are museums and institutions.

It is a queer space; a zone of potentiality that cannot ever be fully articulated.

It is feminist and anarchic, seeking to replace involuntary coercive hierarchy with decentralised free association.

It is an open space, reserved for a special quality of attention, contemplation and learning.

It does not attempt to suspend time through constant lighting and temporal conditions. It does not make a distinction between inside and outside, fact or fiction, reality or illusion.

Its attention to aesthetics shares, historically, in the development of major philosophical enquiry that is ‘part of the broad and general tendency to furnish the secular with new value’ (Carol Duncan, 1995).

It opens up the potential for the way art has been understood or altered since the white museum or the white cube.

It wishes for a closer encounter with art by removing the clear boundary between artist and spectator.

It is cluttered. It de-sacralises artistic space. It is not divine. It will not last forever. It is robust and un-special, which makes it remarkable.

It is young. There is not the problem of trying to teach an old dog new tricks.

It has no prescription of utility. The only criterion is experimental creativity.

It should actively include people that the system (institutions, galleries and museums) forgets.

It doesn’t always know what it is, and that is the point.

… This manifesto is open ended and extremely vulnerable to change.

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 are welcome to utilise all areas of the site – the White Box, Black Box, Clear Box, Open Box and throughout the grounds and under the Superstructure.



  • Cross programming; seeing what emerges when divergent groups come together on-site and work alongside 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.


  • 10 multi-disciplinary events across the year, on the first Friday of each month between February-November.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • We value projects that bring a diversity of creative practice, cultures and people to the arts precinct.

How many projects have Testing Grounds accepted?

How many projects have Testing Grounds accepted?

Yes, Testing Grounds accepted the project 117

No, the project needs more development to meet selection criteria 15

Yes, but they decided not to use Testing Grounds 14

No, the project is inappropriate 10

No, the project required specific dates that were not available 3

The project is in review 2

This data is collected from every EOI that Testing Grounds have received since November 27th, 2016.

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