Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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Case Study: Next Wave Festival

ProjectThe Next Wave School of Artist Led Learning (ALL School)



ProgramPast Programs | Arts and Culture

Enabling financial sustainability Develop a self-sustaining model, where Next Wave’s costs are covered, and artists are paid for their time spent teaching
Building organisational capacity Over 10 years, Next Wave has delivered the prestigious Kickstart curriculum to Festival artists. ALL School provides an avenue to sustainably expand its offering, nurturing artists beyond the Festival
Collaboration and partnership Moreland City Council, Creative Partnerships Australia, artists, industry peers

Seeding a new school of artist-led creative and professional development

Run by artists, facilitated by Next Wave at Brunswick Mechanics, ALL School is a new project and ongoing space for cross-disciplinary learning and knowledge exchange, experimental pedagogy, practice and theory, and skills sharing for artists. ALL School focuses on interdisciplinary practice and offers an equitable and accessible arts education network.

Image Next Wave Kickstart 2019. Photo by Ella Sowinska.

Since 2001, Next Wave Festival has run Kickstart, a unique and highly acclaimed cross-disciplinary year-long series of artistic and professional development workshops for curators, directors, collectives and individual artists. Building on Next Wave’s rich history delivering comprehensive learning programs, this new initiative will provide artists, peers and members of the public with ongoing, affordable access to experimental art theory, methodology, skills and professional development. Seed funding from HMSTrust will help Next Wave Festival to pilot the year-round ALL School professional development program for artists, and build it into a new, independent and sustainable model.


  • The ALL School curriculum will reflect the complexity and diversity of experiences across arts practice, as well as race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, and age. Both in-classroom and digital learning opportunities will be offered.
  • ALL School will be offered as a semester-based program at Brunswick Mechanics.
  • Next Wave has designed the program in close consultation and ongoing conversation with artists. From the first open forum and co-design workshop, through to semester evaluations, artists will participate directly in shaping ALL School.
  • Artists will have the opportunity to suggest topics for learning and pitch classes they would like to teach.
  • The pilot program will include the first iteration of Kickstart Open, a professional development course that covers topics such as grant writing, budget management, marketing and publicity, contracting, risk, industry networking, access, environmental sustainability and cultural inclusion.
  • Kickstart Open will run in tandem with a program of theory and practice-based workshops and masterclasses led by artists for artists on a variety of topics drawn from community consultation.
  • Ongoing sustainability of ALL School is based on developing a self-funded model of paid classes and ticketed keynote events, plus the continued support of Moreland City Council and a tertiary education partner.
  • In 2017, a capacity building grant from HMSTrust assisted with the digital infrastructure for Next Wave’s move into the Brunswick Mechanics Institute. The integrated digital system has enabled the efficient management of venue hire, a key revenue source for the organisation. Brunswick Mechanics Institute, under the management of Next Wave has been recognised as both a best-practice social enterprise and for its artistic programming. Brunswick Mechanics provides a home for Next Wave, and a permanent base for ALL School .


“While I think a tertiary education in art is really important, the most valuable lessons I have learned have been from other practicing artists. Mentorships, conversations, arguments and chance meetings have been what has guided my professional practice. …Next Wave is the ideal platform to host a series of artist led workshops that can interrogate some of the nitty gritty you won’t find discussed at art school.” Abdul Abdullah, artist.