Arts Writing Group

Perth Festival and Semaphore invite applications for the 2021 Arts Writing Group

Working closely with Perth Festival staff, artists, writers and Semaphore editors Kelly Fliedner and Melissa McGrath, participants in the Arts Writing Group will reflect on the role of writing in response to and in conversation with artworks. By examining formal structures and modes of writing about art, participants will be supported to produce textual responses to the 2021 Perth Festival program which range in focus and form.

The Arts Writing Group will encompass a series of structured workshops on writing about art during the 2021 Perth Festival. The group will make visits to and participate in events and exhibitions included in the Perth Festival Visual Arts Program, with the view of developing responses to these Festival offerings. Work produced through the Arts Writing Group will be published during and following the festival period via Semaphore an online publication about art from Western Australia.

People looking at the Cheeky Dogs exhibition.Perth Festival 2020. Photo by Cam Campbell

More about the Visual Arts Writers Group

The Arts Writing Group provides space within the Perth Festival Visual Arts program for reflection and discussion. This program encourages the development of experimental art writing practices that might include, but are not limited to, personal reflection, prose, fiction, art history, and/or critical theory. Through both structured and self-directed activity, members of the Arts Writing Group will share and develop ideas about the relationship between art and text, while working towards published outcomes. 

In addition to exclusive opportunities to connect to the Perth Festival Program, each participant will be offered an honorarium of $750 for their participation in the Arts Writing Group, plus a writers’ fee of $150 for their response to be published in Semaphore.

Key dates

The Arts Writing Group will meet a minimum of seven times between January and March 2021. The following tentative dates serve as an illustration of the time commitment expected, with the exact program of engagements to solidify in response to the group once it has been formed. Each session will be maximum half day in duration.

23 Oct 2020 EOIs close

6 Nov 2020 Successful applicants notified on or before this date

22 Jan 2021 Meet and greet / what is arts writing?  

6, 13, 20 + 27 Feb 2021 x4 weekly meeting on Saturday's during the Festival plus attendance at selected public programs as part of the Perth Festival Visual Arts.

Mar 2021 (Date TBC) Public Panel Discussion reflecting on experiences as part of the 2021 Arts Writing Group and WA arts writing more broadly.

26 Mar 2021 Final wrap-up meeting to shape preparation of texts for publication and reflect on the Art Writing Group program.

Who should apply?

The 2021 Arts Writing Group is open to Western Australian-based writers and artists interested in the intersection of art and text, who are looking to strengthen their writing through focused dialogue with peers and mentors.

We encourage applications from individuals and collaborators; First Nations people; people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and people with disabilities. We are open to shaping the program in response to various access needs.

How do I apply?

To express your interest please submit a cover letter, current CV and two samples of your previous writing (maximum of 1500 words each, these may be extracts of longer works) to this email address by 23 October 2020. 

A completed Expression of Interest cover sheet must also be submitted. Download a copy here.

Submissions should be made in PDF format, and include the subject heading Application: 2021 Arts Writing Group

Successful candidates will be notified by 6 Nov 2020.

About Semaphore

Semaphore is a collaborative project by Kelly Fliedner and Melissa McGrath. As writers, curators and creative producers, they focus on the role that writing plays in the presentation and consideration of artworks and art practices from Western Australia. Semaphore works with writers and artists to publish individual and collective opinions, reviews, commentary and creative responses to art; with a particular interest in writing that reflects upon border cultural themes and issues, as well as the formal structures of writing itself.

Perth Festival Visual Arts Program is supported by Wesfarmers Arts.

Image: Dion Beasley, Cheeky Dogs, DADAA. Photo by Cam Campbell.

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