Pivot 2021

Be part of Pivot 2021, our short-term residency program providing you with money, space, time, audience insight and support for your practice!

What is Pivot?

We all know the world has changed and the way we connect with audiences is also changing, requiring all of us to—forgive the buzz word—pivot. We’ve thought a lot about pivoting in an arts context and, at the Convent, we believe that to pivot, the artist is central to the situation, effecting a new balance that will ultimately benefit audiences and the community. At the same time, we have noticed that there hasn’t been a lot of investment in artists having the time and space to experiment with what this changing world means—and that is what inspired the program.

Abbotsford Convent’s Pivot is a short-term residency program supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and Creative Victoria.

From 10 May – 26 September, the Convent will be offering artists money, space, time and support for their practice as well as access to audience insight and a professional research team.

To achieve the research and evaluation component of Pivot, Abbotsford Convent has partnered with research agency Patternmakers.  Patternmakers works alongside a range of different arts organisations, and is currently leading the COVID-19 Audience Outlook Monitor in Australia.  This work provides insight into how participation is changing. It’s designed to help artists and cultural organisations connect with audiences during the pandemic and beyond.

As part of Pivot, artists will have direct access to Patternmakers, At the outset, this will include a briefing on the latest insights into audience attitudes, behaviours and barriers, designed to inform and support artistic investigations. Patternmakers will also work with artists to capture their insights and learnings during the residencies, and will produce an evaluation report for the Pivot program—the type of evaluation independent artist and small arts organisations and collectives can rarely access.

Applications open on Thursday 4 March 2021 and close on Wednesday 31 March 2021, 11.59pm.

Why Pivot?

This project is about connecting, experimenting and innovating.

It is an opportunity for artists to focus on creatively adapting practice to respond metaphorically and/or practically to the current time, to generate new ways of engaging with presenters, communities and audiences.

We aspire for Pivot to be a testing ground and context for artistic investigation. We want to support you and your collaborators to experiment, re-contextualise existing works and develop new approaches to making and connecting to audiences in a socially distanced and changed world.

What could having this time to experiment inspire? What audience trends or issues could you respond to artistically? Could actions that start as adaptations today open up new frontiers in practice and audience engagement that will serve the future?


  • Relish in the process! None of us have all of the answers just yet, so this is a time for artists to investigate, re-make, and re-shape work and practice, safety.
  • We are a collaborative arts sector and collaborating definitely has its challenges in a pandemic. Let’s find ways to enable collaboration within safe guidelines through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
  • A supportive research process facilitated by Patternmakers that we hope will generate insights and learnings that benefit not only Pivot participants but the wider sector as well.
  • Inspiration for other presenters to reconceive their spaces equally as places for presenting and making.
  • A different kind of relationship between artists, presenters and audiences that is about learning together.
  • Restrictions permitting, access to a supportive community of artists involved in Pivot through professional development and social and networking events, who are all on a quest to experiment with and interrogate practice in this very challenging time.

What to expect if you are involved in Pivot 2021?

Selected Pivot artists will:

  • Receive a stipend of up to $1,000 per week (per group) to bolster them during the residency.
  • Be provided with 2-5 weeks in-kind creative development/rehearsal space without the pressures of a defined public outcome.
  • Work with our research partners Patternmakers and gain insight into current audience outlook and get ahead of trends in engagement.
  • Be central to our research into how the independent arts sector is reimagining practice and audience engagement as we adjust to a COVID world.
  • Be bolstered by the support of their peers through being part of Convent hosted professional development and social and networking events.
  • Have time with our programming team throughout the residency and beyond.
  • If they are part of a group, designate a lead artist for the Agreement and Pivot 2021.

COVID-19 guidelines

We are all adjusting to navigating changing government restrictions and this won’t change during your residency. We will be working with you to ensure we are all COVID-Safe during Pivot and adhering to the latest Government guidelines.

At the time of writing this, some guidelines we all must adhere to for Pivot   include:

General guidelines

  • Adhere to 1.5 metre physical distancing rule.
  • Having up to 10 people in your designated venue space at any one time, and this must remain the same agreed people throughout the residency.
  • The Convent will have your space professionally cleaned every evening after your use, however, you are responsible and obliged to clean touch points, surfaces and shared equipment regularly throughout the day. The Convent will provide you with cleaning products for this.
  • For some dates, all equipment will need to be removed from the venue each day for the professional clean.

Venue guidelines

  • You will be allocated tables and chairs in your venues. All other equipment will need to be brought on site by you and your collaborators.
  • Any electrical equipment you use in Convent venues must be tested and tagged.
  • Sign a Venue Use Agreement, providing a list of all collaborators attending the space which the lead artist is responsible for.
  • Please note the Convent does not have access to Wi-Fi.

Documentation and meeting commitments

We aim for this part of the residency to be beneficial for us all, a chance to chat, share, discuss, dive deep and learn from and with each other. This will include:

  • Meeting with the Programming Team prior to your residency (via Zoom or in person when possible) to discuss your residency, and take part in a practical induction, including site orientation and venue safety.
  • Attend several group discussions: with Convent CEO Collette Brennan and Programming Team to meet other Pivot participants to talk about your Pivot project ideas, answer questions and build a community; and with Patternmakers, our research partners, to discuss questions of audience engagement and share your reflections on the process.
  • Keep track of findings and key learnings during this process and agree to provide or be part of Convent documentation of the project—including photography and videography for promotional and evaluation purposes.

What next?

If you are interested in taking up the opportunity to be involved in Pivot 2021, please apply using this online form by Wednesday 31 March 2021, 11.59pm.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!


Please send through any further questions to Peter or Jo in the Convent’s Programming Team.

Producer: Peter Quinn
Associate Producer: Jo Leishman

The fine print

Please be aware, if for any reason government restrictions change we may need to alter the conditions of the residency, including terminating or postponing Pivot.

Thank you!

Pivot is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and Creative Victoria.

Past participants

Ngioka Bunda-Heath
Devika Bilimoria and Luna Mrozik-Gawler
William Cooper, Diimpa
Jack Dixon-Gunn
Janette Hoe and Ria Soemardjo – The Echoes Project
Kathleen Gonzalez – Ethnodanceology Art
Ripley Kavara
Evan Lawson – Forest Collective
Daniele Poidomani – Memetica
Moogahlin Performing Arts
Na Djinang Circus
Daniel Newell
Roslyn Oades
Polyglot Theatre
Dr. Priya Srinivasan – Sangam Festival
Yumi Umiumare and Takashi Takiguchi – ButohOUT!
Tony Yap – Tony Yap Company
Complete Works Theatre Company

In 2020, Pivot was an eight-week pilot program offering artists 2-4 weeks in-kind space and time to support them to safely investigate, experiment and re-contextualise their work. Supported by Australia Council for the Arts.