For three decades, Next Wave has shaped the Australian arts landscape.
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. In 2012, our dedication to artistic learning expanded to include Text Camp and in 2015, 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, which encompassed seven new art projects, a talks series and a new publication exploring what’s personally, politically and artistically next for Australia’s First Nations 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 and 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.