Next Wave is the most comprehensive platform in Australia for a new generation of artists taking creative risks. Next Wave produces unparalleled learning programs and a biennial festival which reflect a commitment to social and cultural diversity, environmental sustainability and inclusion.


A world of creative discovery, massive dreams realised, cultural norms disrupted and new dialogues in contemporary arts and culture.


We craft extraordinary learning and presentation opportunities that empower emerging artists to challenge our understanding of what art can be, where it takes place, and who will be watching.


We are courageous. Our artists and our audiences are instinctive risk-takers, and they trust our leadership.

Whose voices are not being heard? Who’s not here? We seek diversity of expression in all our work, with deep respect for the traditional custodians of the lands and waters that sustain us, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We have agency for the social, cultural, political and environmental impact of our work. We take a leading role advocating for broad accessibility and best practice in sustainability.

We are reflective, responsive and dynamic – in our workplace culture, organisational structure and artistic program.


For three decades, Next Wave has shaped the Australian arts landscape through imagination, bold ideas and a passion for the new.

Established in 1984 to foster creativity and experimentation, Next Wave’s focus has always been on the next generation of artists in a changing world. Career development, presentation opportunity and multi-disciplinary representation have been integral since our inception.

Initially, Next Wave responded to a global emphasis on youth with an extensive secondary and tertiary schools program that was focused on large-scale participation. In following years the program acknowledged the growing use of technology in art, coinciding with the Australia Council for the Arts’ New Media policy. Next Wave offered early career opportunities to many influential contemporary visual artists and curators, and our flagship art development program Kickstart introduced a new model to develop artistic practice and sustain careers, advocating the importance of time, networks and money in the artistic process.

In our most recent decade, a succession of influential Artistic Directors has seen Next Wave confirm its place as critical to Australian contemporary art. We’ve pushed art under freeways, into nightclubs, in the Mission to Seafarers, private homes, sports clubs, on wheat silos and through city streets. Our dedication to artistic learning expanded to include Text Camp and the Emerging Curators Program, and we cemented our position as a national leader in artist development by delivering the Australia Council for the Arts’ JUMP Mentoring Program in 2013-14. Our commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists has grown, with highlights including our celebrated Blak Wave program in 2014: seven new art projects, a rollicking talks series and a new publication exploring what’s personally, politically and artistically next for Australia’s Indigenous peoples.

Since presenting the Youth Cultural Program of the 2006 Commonwealth Games, our international engagement has steadily increased in depth and scale. In partnership with Asialink, Next Wave hosted Artist Run Initiatives from Singapore, Japan, Indonesia in the Philippines as part of Structural Integrity in 2010, and provided a reciprocal Asian touring opportunity for Australian ARIs in 2011. With the support of the British Council, Next Wave developed a multi-year relationship between 2011-14 with Birmingham’s Fierce Festival to co-develop new work by emerging artists from the UK and Australia. In 2014, Next Wave presented work by outstanding emerging artists from the Philippines, Korea, the Netherlands, Canada, Lebanon and the UK, and partnered with the Australia Council for the Arts and Arts Centre Melbourne to present the IETM Asian Satellite Meeting. Next Wave continues to ensure the most exciting international contemporary art curators and new generational festival directors attend our biennial Festival, facilitating vital international market development for the next generation of Australian art.

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