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Next Wave Festival

  • Project: The Next Wave School of Artist Led Learning (ALL School)
  • Amount: $30,000
  • Year(s) Funded: 2020

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.

“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.”


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 the Trust helps 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 the Trust 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 .