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Perno 2021

Abbotsford Convent’s Pivot is a short-term residency program supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and Creative Victoria. From May – September 2021, 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 from Patternmakers.

2021 Artists

Ciel Métallique

Ciel Métallique marks the beginning of exploring music performance in the form of sound, movement and their relationship in a chosen space. ‘Ciel’ meaning ‘sky’, connotes to etheric realms and transience, and metallique (metallic) brings ideas of memory, reflection and bondage.

Through collective guidance and creative boundaries, collaborators will create one-off, ambient sound explorations based on the concept of interaction and distance using metal, voice and percussion as the main timbres conducted by their relationships, forms and improvised movement.


Flames is a creative development of Tasmanian author Robbie Arnott’s debut novel. An ambitious and powerful example of magical realism, Flames explores the nature of grief and family bonds uniquely. Incorporating mixed media into the storytelling process: dance, text, audio and visual design.

Using the Tasmanian landscape is its own character and pervades every aspect of the story. Flames remind us that humans are inextricably connected to our natural environment in more ways than perhaps we would care to admit.

Pinta de Antigua

Created in collaboration with local, interdisciplinary artists, Pinta de Antigua is a multi-artform, participatory installation of performative narratives igniting inspirational reflections from the artists to the community. 

New Homes &
South Asian Orchestral Innovation

New Homes & South Asian Orchestral Innovation (SAOI) are two bold interventions seeking to innovate monophonic systems of classical South Asian music through research and application of harmony, polyphony and multi-instrumentation.

Chinese Cabinet Makers in Melbourne

Chinese Cabinet Makers in Melbourne is the creative development and presentation of a multi-lingual hip-hop musical, inspired by a historic documentary ‘Do Nothing and Do it Well’ by filmmaker Liam Ward.

It explores an immersive and interactive theatre piece that tells the story of a fictional Chinese cabinet maker in Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, from the 1890s-1900s. Through this piece, we hope to revisit Chinese cabinet makers’ history and particularly highlight their perseverance and resistance towards discriminatory treatments of their community.


Inter-species will investigate the inter-relation of genders, species and spaces through creative development. Further examining the potential for an exhibition of ephemeral public art distributed across the architectural and natural landscapes of the Convent.

Image: Rehearsing catastrophe: the ark in Sydney, installation and participatory performance on Cockatoo Island, Sydney Biennale, 2012.

Big V Energy

Big V Energy is a new physical theatre work devised through chorus practice and designed to be performed outside. Using fury as fuel it will be a fiercely physical celebration of feminism. The ensemble will be trained by Kimberley Twiner.

Lucha Bridge, Silent Shift

Lucha Bridge, Silent Shift is a series of four solos that interweave, connect and oppose each artist’s lived experience as a minority in Australia. Giving voice to our often overlooked, silenced and underrepresented communities in society.


An international, interdisciplinary, intercultural collaboration, S3 is an experimental immersive dance/theatre work bringing together two worlds—the mythical/virtual and the so called ‘real’, expressed and accessed across time. The work invokes a call to action, using Indian feminist thought, today when women’s bodies are being brutalised, violated and destroyed.


theSK!Nproject reimagines the award-winning work SK!N into an interactive website creating awareness and educating the public about Human Trafficking.

The digitising project will involve collaborating with human rights organisations across Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne, immersing audiences in the themes of the original work and its vital messaging.

CULT: The Gathering

CULT: The Gathering will examine the impacts of gender, alternate images of the ‘feminine’, and our relationship to nature in a time of accelerating existential risk and social precarity. The work will consider the convent as the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people and as a colonial site.

In winter 2021, the artistic team will focus on research, performance frameworks, and processes for building temporary communities via reading and writing groups, durational performance modes, documentation, and a publication.

4MEN – ahh-men, acumen

Through a multi-disciplinary enquiry, 4MEN – ahh-men, acumen explores the question of our differences and commonality in our masculinity to contextualise emotional and psychological positivity in the volatility of this idea in these times.


Antipodes Theatre Company will support writing team Willow Sizer and Rachel Lewindon through the development of their collaborative music theatre piece Orlando, an adaptation of the novel by Virginia Woolf.

The Company will explore an innovative and inclusive music theatre method. Their approach actively questions the traditions, storylines, stereotypes and creative methods established within the entertainment industry. Through experimentation, improvisation, and collaboration between cast, composer, writer and director, they hope to develop a robust yet flexible template for future music theatre creators.

Mini Beast Disco

Mini Beast Disco is a wild, playful activation of youthful and green luminescent energy. Part-performance, part-workshop, Mini Beast Disco undulates, wriggles, squirms and worms in orbit. Proud and Queer underground artists Betty Grumble, Andreas Lohmeyer and DANDROGYNY shall compost and synthesise the varied planes they co-inhabit. Collectively, developing and folding their personal experiences into the tapestry of their work.

Betty Grumble, Andreas Lohmeyer and DANDROGYNY will not only create, play and dance together but immerse and engage creatively. Designing an alternate underground worldly disco for kids and their grown-ups. Peeping in on how they live and play together in fragile yet resilient ecosystems while celebrating the powerful communities overcoming the grief experienced in the past year.


continuum is a public participatory exploration of how to be together in space in this new time together/apart. The project will invite the public to anonymously speak to the loss and revelation of 2020, considering what has been in order to move forward.


KuehLapis is a creative development of a new contemporary dance performance led by Melbourne-based Butoh dance artist Janette Hoe along with two key collaborators. This stage two development will explore the complexities of change and transition confronted by her ageing-female-perimenopausal-dance body through a Butoh lens and sensibility.

KuehLapis will investigate wearable objects as an extension of the dance expression and highlights the dancer’s rite of passage, and represents joy, failure, achievement, resilience and fragility in the transitional periods of her life.

New Day

New Day is a residency, developing new ways of connecting audiences to contemporary jewellery and its contextual environment.

New Day reflects stories of the Convent’s former female inhabitants, acknowledges those who campaigned for its preservation, and celebrates the creative community established today. Innovative presentation and digital outcomes bridge the disconnect caused by pandemic restrictions and enrich understanding of jewellery as potent art.

Displays of Affection 

Displays of Affection by visual artist Luke George will explore the connection between his rope installation pieces with the rich history of queer spaces and their specific social choreographies. Luke will further develop his visual practice of installation and craft, expanding into photography and filmmaking.

Throughout Pivot, Luke will be occupied with questions around what is audienceship now, and in the future in a COVID-normal world. What do people need through cultural participation, and how can art be a force for social cohesion?

Shadow Dance 

Shadow Dance uses a projector, an individual body, and its shadow to explore the possibilities of what they create together. This new work will create an immersive, participatory space, inviting audiences to experience creative play with their shadows.

Using manipulated live video and a generated soundscape, this work plays with the digital double, transforming shape and motion into magical elements. The work is complemented by a live sonic landscape, responding and provoking audiences as part of the creative making.

How I Practice My Religion

How I Practice My Religion is the critically acclaimed, autobiographical dance performance of Ryuichi Fujimura’s relationship to dance at different points of his life.

During his time at the Convent, Fujimura will be working on the film adaptation of this work. In preproduction, Ryuichi Fujimura explores how the live performance scenes will work in the first act of the film by experimenting with lighting, the relationship of the performer within the cinematography to best portray the emotions of dance.

Indian Wedding 

Indian Wedding is a variety show featuring South Asian performers and artists masquerading as a Sangeet night.

Hosted by ‘New Delhi socialite sisters’ Baby and Bubbly, each monthly show will feature a different line-up of cousins and friends.

Buried Tea Bowl 

Buried Tea Bowl is an interdisciplinary piece of dance theatre, with text, song and poetry. The project combines with Yumi’s accumulated practice of the Japanese tea ceremony, choosing the ‘tea bowl’ as a creative metaphor of precious sacred female power buried over history.

Through Buried Tea Bowl, Yumi will be reaching out to local female participants from the broad creative and noncreative community that envelops the Abbotsford Convent.

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 May – September 2021, the Convent is providing 22 lead 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.

Pivot 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.

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
Compagnia teatrale Opere Complete

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.

Thank you!