From January- May on the last Thursday of each month, Testing Grounds hosted free creative events for members of our community, where creative practitioners could test work-in-development across the outdoor site, for one night only, and receive immediate feedback from generous audiences and staff.
The Creative Development Program residents also participated in these events as a work-in-development type showing to mark the end of their residency period.
For Testing Nights, Testing Grounds sought EOIs from creative practitioners who wanted support developing their diverse projects, to test on live and responsive audiences, or for those who had never had a public outcome for their work before. The program was open-access. If we had space for the project, then we accepted the EOI.
Through this stream, we were able to support and work with approximately 60 creative practitioners. Largely, we received these projects as expressions of interest through our open application process and many of those who were otherwise involved, either attended a previous Testing Nights event or visited with a university lecturer and cohort. This demonstrates the very open, encouraging and inviting space that was created by focusing on generosity, risk-taking and testing, over worrying about polished outcomes by the Testing Grounds team.
Creative practitioners were offered:
- Outdoor space to test their work, in consultation with Testing Grounds;
- Creative infrastructure including steel hanging beams, columns that can hold up to 100Kg of dead weight, steel plinths, hanging frames and a range of other exterior materials on site;
- Overhead power accessed from, cable trays and basic lighting;
- Vehicle access for the same-day bump in and bump out;
- Public Liability Insurance while on-site;
- Online archive listing on the Testing Grounds website;
- Creative practitioner profile through an online mailout and Instagram.
We were looking for Creative Practitioners who:
- Wanted to test their work-in-development in public and on-site;
- Have projects that are still in development and would benefit from
being tested on-site and at 1:1
- Could clearly demonstrate what they wanted to test;
- Are self-reliant and can bump in and out with ease;
- Would contribute an entry to our online archive about their time on site;
- Wanted to experiment, rehearse, test, be courageous and are open to the unknown;
- Were open to peer-to-peer critical feedback;
- Were generous spirits who want to be a part of a community.
The events worked well when there was a critical mass of artists and a balance of different creative practitioners, giving people an opportunity to test their work and ideas in different environments. There was music, installations, performance art, creative demonstrations and more. On some nights artists ended up making ad hoc collaborations and giving each other feedback, which is a success of the program.
“Thank you to you and the team for all your hard work. I really appreciated all the help and the opportunity. It was such a lovely evening, and I walked away learning heaps about my work but also with some beautiful connections with other artists. Thanks for creating such a wonderful space.” – Amanda Parkison (Testing Nights participant)