Pica Interdisciplinary Lab: Encounter, Practice, Play

Image captionHOWL by Aphids presented by the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts. Image credit: Aaron Claringbold

About this event

The Australia Council for the Arts and Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) recognize the tumultuous year for the arts in 2020 and how independent artists have been affected in a multitude of ways, including opportunities to gather and connect in a global context.

In 2021, PICA will host the first of a three-year artist exchange and professional development program with Australian and South and Southeast Asian artists. In 2021, this will include three artist labs led by Australian artists Joel Bray and Eugenia Lim, and will focus on interdisciplinary and intercultural practice through discussion, practice sharing and workshops. The labs will be an experiment in finding innovative ways of fostering togetherness and embodied practice, even when we must remain physically separated.

The Interdisciplinary Lab is an extension of PICA’s professional development programs led by practicing artists with access to alternative methodologies and ways of thinking and making. Under PICA’s remit to support interdisciplinary practice, this program will foster learning, skills development and collaboration with a focus on exchange between artists living and working across the Australian and South/Southeast Asian regions.

A participation fee of $1500 AUD will be provided to each artist for a week’s worth of commitment spread across the year. The lab will support 4 Australian artists, 2 artists from South Asia and 2 artists from Southeast Asia.

2021 marks the first of a three-year engagement with the potential in later years to gather in person in Perth, when travel is again possible. Further outcomes will be dependent on the 2021 lab.

About PICA

The Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) is one of Australia’s leading centres for the development and presentation for contemporary art. Housed in a large and striking heritage building in the heart of Perth, Western Australia, PICA is the city’s focal point for those wishing to experience the best of Australian and international visual, performance and interdisciplinary art.

PICA is both a producing and presenting institution that runs an annual program of exhibitions, performance seasons, artistic residencies and interdisciplinary projects. It boasts some of the largest and most breath-taking presentation spaces in Australia and has become known for the leading role it plays in the presentation of significant new work.

In presenting this lab, PICA also recognizes the region in which it is situated in: being on Noongar country, which belongs to the Whadjuk people, the First peoples and traditional owners of this land; and on the West coast of Australia, within the Indian Ocean rim, or GMT+8 time zone, and with proximity to the South and Southeast Asian region. This acknowledgment frames the thinking of this lab and what it means to be living and making work in these regions.

The Interdisciplinary Lab will:

  1. Connect artists from Australia and South and Southeast Asian regions.
  2. Provide professional development for artists seeking to engage in dialogue and practice in an interdisciplinary and intercultural performance context.
  3. Provide a rigorous and supportive learning environment to foster experimentation, critical thinking, skills development and play.

In 2021, there will be three lab phases, beginning in March with ‘Encounter’, artists will gather digitally to share and reflect on their work and begin new relationships and dialogues. August brings ‘Practice’, a lab focused on sharing intercultural and interdisciplinary practices, and November brings ‘Play’, a time for generative making and collaboration.

One full week’s worth of commitment spread across:

3 online meetings and creative tasks.

  • embodied practice in the digital space: cooking, walking, talking, sharing, dancing together.
  • the goal over this first phase is to get to know each other as artists and people, starting from an embodied space.

3 online meetings and creative tasks.

  • listening and sharing strategies and practices, including:
  • the importance of place
  • how culture affects the work we make and the work we make affects culture
  • locating the personal or the specific within the global
  • the role of language (written, verbal, artform)
  • the borders between (geographies, cultures, artforms) and the potential of blurring.

3 online meetings and creative tasks

  • gameplay through collaborative artistic experimentation
  • learning from each other’s artistic and practical methodologies and processes
  • PARTY!

This lab is suited for artists seeking to engage in learning and in dialogue. We encourage applications from artists with:

  • a base in Australia or anywhere across South and Southeast Asia
  • at least 5 years of practice and those that identify as mid-career artists
  • a strong interest in interdisciplinary practice
  • backgrounds in contemporary performance, site-specific and installation-based practices, participatory, socially engaged and live art practices, and experimental approaches to sound/music, dance/movement, theatre and visual art
  • First Nations and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) peoples
  • any practicing artist; PICA and the Australia Council for the Arts values the important role difference plays within our organisations, and we encourage applications from candidates who choose to self-identify in any way that ensures we continue to reflect, learn and adapt from the the rootedness of our/their context
  • an interest to engage in this 3 year model from 2021 – 2023. Modes of engagement will be co-designed after the pilot initiative.

You are required to respond to the following assessment criteria:

1.  The impact of the project in developing future opportunities between Australia and its neighbours in the region.

2.  Detail on how the following ideas may be present and relevant to your practice:

  • space, site and place
  • cultural perspectives
  • approaches to experimentation and interdisciplinary ways of making
  • responsiveness and currency; how do you respond to the world around you.

3.  A long-term commitment to being involved in the program as it evolves over a three year period.

The Australia Council and PICA strongly encourage applications from applicants who identify as First Nations, from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) backgrounds, people with disability, and people living in regional and remote areas.

Our programs and processes are designed for accessibility and best use by a diverse demographic. Please contact us at least 2 weeks prior to the closing date to discuss your access and support requirements.

The following support material must be uploaded with your application:

  • documentation of your work including 1 (one) website link containing a video, sound file, image or artist website that represents your practice
  • an outline of a practice sharing exercise that you could facilitate with the group.

Note: video and sound files should be limited to 5 minutes.

The level of funding support available is $1,500 AUD per participant. The lab will support 4 Australian artists, 2 artists from South Asia and 2 artists from Southeast Asia.

This is intended as a fee for workshop participation and related project research and development.

Australia Council staff in consultation with PICA staff and the facilitators will consider applications according to the assessment criteria above and will seek recommendations by industry advisors as needed.

You will be informed of the outcome of your application by 15 January 2021.



Learn more about other available opportunities.

Additional information

Once you submit your application, we will send you an email acknowledging receipt of your application.

After you submit your application, we first check it meets the eligibility criteria for the grant or opportunity to which you are applying.

Applications to the Australia Council Grant Programs are assessed by arts practice peer panels against the published assessment criteria for the relevant grant program.

We aim to notify you of the outcome of your application no later than 12 weeks after the published closing date for the applicable grant round.

Once all applications have been assessed, you will be contacted about the outcome of your application. If you have been successful, you will also be sent a funding agreement. This outlines the conditions of funding, how you will be paid and your grant reporting requirements. The following accordion items outline these stages in more detail.

If your application is successful, you will receive an email advising you a grant is offered. You must then agree to the conditions of your grant, which represents the Australia Council’s contract with you – this can be done online, by email or by letter. Payment of a grant will not be made until the grant conditions have been agreed and accepted by all the relevant parties.

You should not start a project that depends on a grant until all relevant parties have agreed and accepted the grant conditions and we have evidence of such acceptance on file.

Standard grant conditions require you to, among other things:

  • seek prior approval for making a change to a funded project (for example, changes in the activity budget; changes to key creative personnel; or changes to start or end dates)
  • respond to requests for information about the project or grant
  • satisfactorily account for how the grant is spent (if you do not you will be required to return all monies for which you cannot satisfactorily account)
  • comply with all applicable laws
  • acknowledge the Australia Council’s support in all promotional material associated with the project; this includes use of the Australia Council’s logo and a standard text of acknowledgement.
  • provide artistic and financial acquittal reports at the end of the project
  • return any unspent grant funds at the completion of your project or on notice from us to return such unspent funds.

Grant agreements must be signed by a legal entity – either a legally constituted organisation or an individual. For unincorporated groups, see the section on administered grants

All individual or organisation grant applicants based in Australia must have an ABN. Individual applicants without an ABN may have their grant administered by an individual or organisation with an ABN. Organisations operating outside of Australia do not need an ABN to apply. Individuals based outside of Australia may not need an ABN to apply, depending on their circumstances (please check with your accountant or tax advisor).

The name of the applicant must match the name of the ABN and the name of the bank account into which we pay the funds. There are no exceptions to this rule. If applicants cannot provide an ABN and bank account that are in the same name as the applicant’s name, they will need to nominate an administrator for their grant.

Groups/ensembles/collectives, unincorporated associations/ unincorporated entities and other bodies with no legal status do not need an administrator if they have an active Australian Business Number (ABN) and bank account in their name. If they are unable to provide an active ABN and bank account that matches the name of the applicant, they must nominate an administrator. The name of the administrator must match the name of the ABN and bank account into which funds are paid if the application is successful.

If we approve your application you will need accept the conditions of the grant in a funding agreement.

After you accept your funding agreement online, we will automatically generate a payment for the grant on your behalf. You do not need to send us an invoice.

We will pay grant funds directly into your nominated bank account within two weeks after acceptance of the funding agreement. Grant payments cannot be postponed.

If you do not wish to have the grant funds paid directly into your bank account you can choose to have your grant administered by another individual or legally constituted organisation (Doesn’t apply to Arts Projects – Organisations).

When you apply, you will be asked to provide an active Australian Business Number or ‘ABN’. The ABN that you provide must correspond to the name of the applicant (or the administering body, if one has been nominated). When you accept your funding agreement, you will be asked to enter the details of the bank account you wish the grant to be paid into. The name associated with that bank account must correspond to the name in which the ABN has been registered.

Download the Australia Council for the Arts logo guidelines here.

Download the Major Festivals Initiative logo guidelines here.

Grant reports are required on completion of your project. Acquitting a grant means accurately reporting on the funded activities and the expenditure of Australia Council funding.

Please read your funding agreement to check details of the grant acquittal material you should provide.

The grant acquittal report is where you tell us:

  • how you spent your grant
  • what the artistic outcomes of your funded activity were.

If you do not provide a satisfactory grant report at the times and in the manner detailed in your funding agreement, the Australia Council will not make any further payments that may be due to you, and you will not be eligible  to apply for further grants.

If you do not provide a satisfactory grant report, the Australia Council may ask you to pay back all or part of the funding provided to you.

Grant reports are used by the Australia Council to fulfil obligations of accountability to the Australian Government. They are also essential to the development work of the Australia Council. The reports help us evaluate the achievements of funded activities, monitor the effectiveness of grant categories and ensure our policy development is consistent with the experience of artists in the field.

Reporting for Multi-year Funded Organisations

Organisations in receipt of multi-year funding are required to submit financial, statistical, and artistic reporting on an annual basis.

All reporting is submitted online via the Australia Council’s arts organisations reporting system.

If you are not sure what reporting you need to submit as part of your annual reporting, or what information to provide, please get in touch with your Australia Council contact.

All recipients must acknowledge that the Australia Council provided funding for their activities. When you acquit your grant, we will ask you how you acknowledged the Australia Council.

For printed or online material use our logo and this phrase:

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body OR The (company name) is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Logos for download and guidelines for the use of our logos.

Where projects do not have a public outcome, or do not produce any printed or online material, you will need to think about how best to acknowledge the Australia Council funding.