Blak LAB, part of the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts (Asia TOPA) 2020

Arts Centre Melbourne
Describe the main features of the policy/measure: 
Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts (Asia TOPA) is a triennial festival that celebrates the creative imagination of artists and cultures in the Asia-Pacific region, and explores connections with contemporary Australia and its growing diaspora. A joint initiative of Arts Centre Melbourne and the Sidney Myer Fund, with support from the Australian and Victorian governments, Asia TOPA 2020 engaged a cohort of 72 Australian and over 50 international cultural partners to present Asia-focused and inspired works across the Melbourne Arts Precinct, metropolitan and regional centres over a three-month period. Asia TOPA engaged artists from 22 countries and regions, deepening bilateral collaboration with and between Asia-Pacific artists and performing arts companies. As part of AsiaTOPA 2020, Arts Centre Melbourne initiated Blak LAB – a First-Nations-led creative incubator. Blak LAB brought together First Nations artists and producers from across the Asia-Pacific region to connect, strengthen networks and develop cross-cultural collaborations.
What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the policy/measure?: 
Blak LAB fostered collaborations between First Nations artists and producers across Australia and the Asia-Pacific. Participant selection was self-determined by the APAM First Nations Advisory Group, which brought together 12 Indigenous Australian artists with eight First Nations artists from Aotearoa (New Zealand), Samoa and Taiwan. The 10-day facilitated creative lab culminated with a featured presentation at the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM - a major international arts industry gathering and market) and invested in future new works for contemporary First Nations performance. Participants stated Blak LAB created important profile-building outcomes and networking opportunities supporting their practice. Beyond the creative lab, artists participating in Blak LAB have continued developing new works through two-way skills and knowledge sharing, cultural exchanges and reciprocal visits. All projects seeded through Blak LAB are now in conversation with Asia TOPA’s global network of cultural partners interested in supporting their continued development.
Financial resources allocated to the policy/measure in USD: 
US$70,000 (A$92,000)
Partner(s) engaged in the implementation of the measure: 
Name of partnerType of entity
Office for the Arts, Department of Infrastructure, Transport Regional Development and Communications
Public Sector
Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM)
Public Sector
ILBIJERRI Theatre Company
Private Sector
Abbotsford Convent Foundation
Civil Society Organization (CSO)
Has the implementation of the policy/measure been evaluated?: 
If yes, what are the main conclusions/recommendations?: 
A formal and extensive First Nations-led evaluation was commissioned to critically assess the Blak LAB’s strengths and areas for improvement. The evaluation considered patterns and trends, and made recommendations for future engagement that aligns with the following themes: new work; respectful work; collaborative work; international work; community work; and marketed work. Other recommendations included: engaging facilitators earlier to work on project design with the artists; investing more in cross-cultural facilitation techniques so diversity can be better embedded into the program design and delivery; allow extra time for artists to live and work together to foster relationships and better facilitate collaboration; and schedule increased time for artists to engage in local community contexts. Some of the feedback from the participating artists in the Blak LAB project included having a platform to share ideas, aspirations, hopes and dreams, while also gaining confidence and satisfaction that their careers are on a great path.
Objetivo(s) de la Convención 2005 de la UNESCO
Cultural Domain(s)