Midsumma Launches National Mentoring Program For Queer Artists

Midsumma has launched an initiative to mentor early-career artists and culture-makers.

In a first for the festival, the mentoring program called ‘Midsumma Futures’ will roll out a nine month development program for early-career artists and culture-makers.

The program will provide the opportunity for queer artists who are in the first 10 years of their practice to advance their vocation, deepen their practice, gain exposure and lead the future of queer culture.

Midsumma CEO, Karen Bryant said the program was about supporting LGBTIQ voices in the community:

“Supporting early-career queer voices is at the heart of this program,” Bryant said.

“It is about enabling true independence and a platform from which participants can take their practice forward, for themselves but ultimately for the benefit of our broader communities.”

In a statement Midsumma Festival said:

‘Midsumma Futures will bring together a diverse range of emerging culture-makers, creating a unique space for the intersection of ideas, modes of practice and professional development. Artists from across disciplines as well as producers, socially engaged practitioners, community leaders, creative thinkers and culture-makers are encouraged to apply.’

Up to 10 participants will be accepted into the program each year.

While the program is open nationally, all workshops will be held in Melbourne and participants would need to be available for all workshop dates and fund their own travel.

Midsumma Futures consists of three components:

• Five dynamic workshops that will challenge, invigorate and strengthen practice through peer-to peer exchange as well as presentations and activities delivered by established practitioners. Workshop themes will address the intersection of contemporary practice with queer history, the role of queer cultural practice now, sustainable practice, self-care and tools to talk about their profile and work.

• A mentorship with an established practitioner. Participants can apply with a confirmed mentor attached to their application OR they can ask Midsumma to match them with a mentor that suits their needs upon successful entry into the program.

• Engagement with Midsumma Festival via a VIP pass to Midsumma Festival 2018 to experience the intersection of ideas, events and people that only a context like Midsumma Festival can provide. And if participants want to produce an event as part of Midsumma Festival 2018 or 2019, Midsumma will provide free registration and on-going producing advice.

Applications close for Midsumma Futures Tuesday 2 May 2017, midnight and successful applicants will be announced early June 2017. Mentorships will start in August 2017 and run through to March 2018.

$8000 was raised for Midsumma Futures during the 2017 Midsumma Festival by Stomping Ground Brewery who created a special beer ‘PRIDElweiss’. The company donated 50 cents from every pot sold.

Potential financial partners who may assist in keeping the program robust are encouraged to get in touch with Midsumma Marketing & Strategic Partnerships Manager Tania Owen, [email protected] or 03 9296 6600.

Further details including how to apply to be a involved in Midsumma Futures can be found at midsumma.org.au

This article was originally published on Gay News Network.