Testing Grounds

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Testing Grounds

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Testing Grounds

Upcoming Calendar

Infrastructure for creative practice supporting experimentation and interdisciplinary practice across art, performance design and education. Programmed through simple application processes, Testing Grounds is a place where people at all stages of practice can test, develop and share their work.

Find out more

WORK WITH US: We’re seeking a new Site Manager!

Applications are due by the 17th January 2021.


We’re seeking a new Site Manager!

Testing Grounds is looking for a person to be our new Site Manager! Reporting to the Program Director and the General Manager, the Site Manager is responsible for keeping the site accessible and operational, as well as some administrative and event duties.

It is a casual role with varied hours, involving general site and equipment maintenance, using tools, problem-solving and assisting to produce projects on site in a hands-on and practical way.

First Nations, Queer, POC and CALD arts workers are encouraged to apply.

Nocturnal Relay

Nocturnal Relay explores symbolism and ambiguous imagery, from Rorschach drawings to long exposure photography, as a real time journal on psychological discernment; it aims to see-saw between phantasmagorical clocks and the inevitable destruction of our bodies.


Nocturnal Relay (working title) is a propulsion of poetry and choreography exploring the fragility of reality. As society embarks upon a virtual/physical hybrid journey, this work aims to provide critical discourse around illusions. Nocturnal Relay will be created as a literal relay, in collaboration with Saint Jorge (Georgia Kartas) working during the day on site and Jonathan Homsey working throughout the night, both virtually and at Testing Grounds. It concludes with a short film, free to the public, in March 2021.

Queer-Ways (Melbourne)

The digital map will be turned into illustrations by LUCIANO and Georgia Keats. These illustrations will become interactive through the AR app EyeJack. Stories of each area will be recounted by recordings of queer voices and supported through subtitles viewable in the app, ensuring the project remains accessible to diverse audiences.


Luciano and Georgia Keats, in partnership with the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archive(ALGA), present Queer-ways: Retracing Melbourne’s Queer Footprint. Queer-ways maps the queer cartography of Melbourne, combining queer stories and voices of Melbourne’s past and present into a permanent, interactive record of being queer in Melbourne.

Working in collaboration with ALGA, we will locate queer landmarks, venues and queered spaces significant to Melbourne’s queer history. A digital map of this data will be publicly available, encouraging people to physically/digitally explore Melbourne on a self-guided queer walking tour post COVID-19.


Sugarbush (working title) is a collaborative project led by Naomi Velaphi and myself, both an extension and departure from the previous Afropodes project I was developing at Testing Grounds. Through an online journal format the aim is to explore our exchange with the continent that is steeped in many layers. We learn of sites and histories based on mostly western research, imagine tastes and smells of cities unknown and hold tight connections with family and friends we hope will endure in limited but meaningful moments.


Through a continued exercise of exchange with peers located on the continent, Australia and family connections, this focused dialogue allows our identity to unfold, remain and prosper. These dialogues aim to create an online repository of audio interviews, video and still image content that centres the voices and experiences of the southern African diaspora and our relationship to this, as well as strengthen relationships, and creative partnerships with southern Africa and diaspora of the settler Australian context. The journal will house Parts* with two currently in development one centred on creative relationships and the other on language and family.

Project History

In 1925 the YMCA opened its headquarters on this site, on the banks of the Yarra River. In 1983, structural damage caused by the construction of the Roy Grounds designed Arts Centre and Concert Hall meant that the building needed to be demolished. The land was acquired by the State of Victoria as Crown Land and is reserved for arts purposes.

Since October 2013, Testing Grounds has provided Melbourne with an alternative arts space within the arts precinct. It has seen hundreds of artists show their work and has provided a space for experimental and emerging ideas to find a voice.
Testing Grounds has provided a backdrop for education and ideas-generation across a range of subjects — ideas around architecture, urban planning and community development have all been tried and tested on this strange triangle of land. It has allowed artists, students, producers and directors, painters and poets a space to take a chance, to extend their ideas and craft and make significant connections with new audiences. It has also provided the local Southbank community an open space to explore and enjoy, to walk a dog or let children play, or to just sit in a patch of sunlight for a minute and witness the beginning of a new art form.

In November 2016, Testing Grounds re-opened with upgraded infrastructure including 4 dedicated indoor spaces, and a large multipurpose outdoor area.

While the site’s long term future is still currently undetermined, Testing Grounds continues to occupy the site for the short term, providing an alternative place for creative activities, alongside more traditional venues in the precinct.

Project Team

Testing Grounds is operated by These Are The Projects We Do Together, a studio with a focus on public projects and programming within the fields of art, design and architecture; with support from the Victorian Government, through Creative Victoria.

Arie Rain Glorie

Program Director and Curator

Arie has been involved directly in shaping the programs at Testing Grounds and is responsible for strategic planning, curating and producing projects and working with artists and organisations on creative and professional development programs. Arie is an artist and a curator with a focus on experimental and emerging models of creative practice. He has a background in producing large-scale contemporary art events, festivals and exhibitions.


Bella Hone-Saunders

Program Manager

Isabella is responsible for managing the creative and education programs at Testing Grounds, as well as supporting creative practitioners to use the infrastructure. Isabella is your point of contact to discuss projects. Isabella is a curator and artist with a background in dance. Her curatorial practice is concerned with accessibility, representation and shared social responsibility while examining with criticality, the inclusivity of public art spaces. Broadly, Isabella aims to implement methodologies which work towards an ethical and activist informed practice.


Millie Cattlin

Design Director

Millie has been directly involved with setting up Testing Grounds and shaping the intention and direction of the project. Millie and Joe run The Projects, a design studio with a focus on public projects and programming within the fields of art, design and architecture. Millie has a background in architecture and design and is a registered architect in Victoria.


Joseph Norster 

General Manager

Joe has been directly involved with setting up Testing Grounds and shaping the intention and direction of the project. Joe and Millie run The Projects, a design studio with a focus on public projects and programming within the fields of art, design and architecture. Joe has a background in theatre, lighting and production design and public art.


Advisory Group

A group that discusses issues or areas of interest around the Testing Grounds project with the creative practitioner always at the forefront of the conversation.

Testing Grounds would like to thank the following people for their ongoing and valuable contribution: Gemma Gordon, Eugene Howard, Matthew Jones, Eugenia Lim, Mark Pritchard, Lynda Roberts, Kimba Thompson, Bree Trevena, and Michael Trudgeon.

Location and Access

Testing Grounds is located at 1 City Road, Southbank, just behind the Arts Centre, in Melbourne's arts precinct.

Testing Grounds is nestled between the Arts Centre and Australian Ballet Centre. On foot, the site is most easily accessed via the stairs behind the Arts Centre from St Kilda Road (past Inge King’s ‘Forward Surge’ sculpture). There are many spots to lock a bicycle on site and car parking located very close at the Arts Centre or Australian Ballet Centre.

Testing Grounds from Flinders Street Station via ramp (video link)Testing Grounds from Flinders Street Station via stairs (video link)

Contact and Open Hours

1 City Road, Southbank, VIC 3006 Australia

Testing Grounds is open for creative projects and special events – check the upcoming calendar for details.



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