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Testing Grounds

Testing Grounds

Jaffle Symposium 2019


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Let’s sit around the open fire at Testing Grounds and listen to interesting people talk about interesting things while making and eating jaffles.
Let’s talk about these things for no other reason than that they are interesting and that fires are warm and that jaffles are delicious.
Let’s be convivial and generous and experimental and see what ideas might emerge. Let’s let the glowing embers of the fire distract our eyes and our mind so that we may listen, solely with our ears.
The Jaffle Symposium is Testing Grounds winter program of free talks for the public to enjoy, during 2018 & 2019. Curated by Arie Rain Glorie.

2019 program

01: Colombian Festivals & Vego Baked Bean Energy Jaffles

Let’s talk about the proliferation of festivals in post-war Colombia and what Australia might learn from this, with art historian Laura González Saavedra and festivals producer Erica McCalman, while eating vego baked bean energy jaffles around the fire. 

Laura González Saavedra is an artist, art historian and curator from Bogota, Colombia. Laura has worked as a lecturer on Contemporary Latin-American art and practices in conflict nations, worked for Espacio Odeón -Contemporary art exhibition space- (Bogotá), the Museum of Modern Art Medellín (MAMM) and Feria del Millón (an international art fair for emerging artists in Bogotá).

Erica McCalman is a producer, project and production manager with Ballardong (Noongar), Irish convict, Scottish, and Cornish heritage. She is currently Special Events Producer at Darwin Festival and is a consulting producer for Melbourne Fringe festival & Yirramboi festival. Erica was an Associate Producer for Next Wave 2014 and has worked with Performing Lines, Sydney Festival, Blackfella films and Performance Space. Her production credits include works within Melbourne Fringe, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Adelaide Festival and Brisbane Festival.


02: Seaweed & Ocean Bread Jaffles

Let’s talk about ten weird and wonderful applications for seaweed with the Seaweed Appreciation Society international (SASi), while eating ocean bread jaffles around the fire.

The Seaweed Appreciation Society international is a group research exercise in investigating marine habitats, culinary uses for seaweed and ocean regeneration. Together they explore, peruse and digest marine algae. Co-founded by artist Lichen Kelp and Liquid Architecture co-artistic director Danni Zuvela.

Lichen Kelp works with scientific principles of experimentation, colour chemistry and chemical reactions to investigate the materiality of process, replicating changing weather patterns and reimagining nature. Danni Zuvela is a curator with an interest in experimental practice stemming from her academic background and ongoing research. From 2014-2018 she worked at The Walls Art Space on the Gold Coast, where she was Deputy Director. Together with Joel Stern, she co-directs Liquid Architecture, Australia’s leading organisation dedicated to sound and listening.


03: Fatbergs & Three Cheese Jaffles

Let’s talk about fat, with artists Mike Thompson, Nina Sellars and Tanya Ha, while eating deliciously fatty three-cheese jaffles around the fire.

This very special discussion coincides with the Science Gallery Melbourne’s ‘Disposable’ exhibition, featuring a fatberg being grown by Mike Thompson and Arne Hendricks.

Mike Thompson is a designer, researcher, and educator, drawn to the dark corners of biotechnological research, and co-founder of experimental, art/design research collective Thought Collider. Together, Hendriks and Thompson are known as the agents driven to build the worlds first floating island of fat – the Fatberg in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Nina Sellars is a curator of the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology, University of Melbourne, and an artist and researcher who works with human adipose tissue (aka fat). Viewing fat as a critical organ of posthumanism, Nina explores the ways in which fat challenges, and subsequently may be seen to transform, our understanding of anatomy in the twenty-first century.

Tanya Ha is an award-winning Australian environmental campaigner, best-selling author, science journalist and communication consultant. Tanya is Director of Engagement at Science in Public, where she media trains scientists and is heavily involved behind-the-scenes in National Science Week. She is also a member of the executive of Science and Technology Australia, an Associate of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, and an advisory board member of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science.


04: Sasquatches & Marshmallow Jaffles

Let’s talk about the place of mythologies and rituals in urban landscapes with dramaturg Mark Pritchard and playwright Sibyl Kempson while eating marshmallow jaffles around the fire.

Sibyl Kempson’s plays have been presented in the United States, Germany, and Norway and in 2015 she launched the theatre and performance company 7 Daughters of Eve in NYC. Her project, 12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens, a 3-year cycle of rituals for the new Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking District of NYC, began on the Vernal Equinox in March 2016, recurring on every Solstice and Equinox through December 2018. Other recent projects include true pearl, a new opera with David Lang for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and Sasquatch Rituals at The Kitchen in NYC, both in 2018. Her plays are published by 53rd State Press, PLAY: Journal of Plays, and Performance & Art Journal (PAJ).

Mark Pritchard is a dramaturg with a focus on new writing and hybrid dramaturgies, trained at the Victorian College of the Arts, PACT, and the University of Wollongong. Mark is the New Work Manager at Malthouse Theatre, and in 2019 he established the Centre for Dramaturgy and Curation. As Dramaturg for Malthouse Theatre, Mark has worked on a number of plays, including Atomic by Amelia Chandos Evans, Going Down by Michele Lee, Heart is a Wasteland by John Harvey, Little Emperors 小皇帝 by Lachlan Philpott, Turbine by Dan Giovannoni, Love & Information by Caryl Churchill and Blak Cabaret by Nakkiah Lui.


05: Accidental Arts Precincts and Heavenly Blue Cheese Jaffles

Let’s talk about how there is no such thing as an accidental arts precinct with Max Coffman, Executive Director – Agencies and Infrastructure, Creative Victoria and Hannah Clement, Project Director – Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation, Development Victoria, while eating heavenly blue cheese jaffles around the fire.

Hannah Clement is the Project Director – Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation for Development Victoria. She is an experienced and highly regarded project management practitioner with more than 20 years’ experience in Australia and overseas. She has delivered a suite of projects across Victoria’s creative industries including the Vision 2020 refurbishment of the State Library Victoria and Geelong Performing Arts Centre Redevelopment. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne and a Masters in International Urban Development and Environmental Management from RMIT.

Max Coffman leads a team that is responsible for overseeing Victoria’s seven major arts organisations, as well as infrastructure projects across the arts portfolio. His team also has responsibility for Creative Victoria’s corporate operations. Since migrating to Australia from the United States in 2009, Max has held leadership roles in the planning and infrastructure portfolios in the Department of Premier and Cabinet, and with the Office of the Coordinator-General, which delivers the Metro Tunnel and level crossing removal projects, among many others. Max holds an undergraduate degree in international affairs from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and a Master’s Degree in urban and regional planning from Portland State University in Oregon.



Next level jaffle with home grown tomatoes, chutney, gluten-free bread, vintage cheese and fresh basil