A Call To Artists

The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to collectively reflect on our world as it has been and to contemplate potential new worlds. Old worlds and hidden worlds have been drawn into focus. RISING called for Victorian artists to respond to this with ambitious ideas for art that could only happen in a festival context.

The Call to Artists sought proposals for new work from creative individuals, collectives or companies. Not being a funding body, we were looking for ideas suited to a contemporary cultural festival experience. We were particularly interested in ideas that may not work within more conventional arts environments.

Submissions are currently closed. An advisory group comprising of the RISING national and international curatorial team decided on successful applications.


We considered a number of different (and somewhat contradictory) things in the selection process:

  • Ideas that can only be realised in a festival context as opposed to year-round cultural institutions
  • Ideas that are generous, celebratory, of the moment and for the community
  • Ideas that are radical and ambitious
  • Ideas that could apply to multiple cities and festivals, that present opportunities for co-commissioning and future presentation
  • Ideas that are specific to Melbourne, our time and place


In the first round, 100 successful applicants received $2,000AUD to develop their initial proposal further and resubmit into a second round. From there, successful applicants received a creative development fee to facilitate a month-long development of the work. RISING festival producers and production managers worked with artists to support this development, providing expertise and advice on the work’s viability for RISING’s specific context. The outcomes from this development period were then considered by the RISING curatorial team for presentation at the inaugural RISING 2021 and beyond to future festivals depending on the project.

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