YIRRAMBOI announces 2025 Commissions Program

Yirramboi Stone Motherless Cold photo by Tamati SmithMelbourne’s leading First Nations arts festival, YIRRAMBO is thrilled to open its 2025 Commissions opportunities, which include the return of the YIRRAMBOI Commissions, alongside International Collaborative Commissions, focus nation; Canada.

YIRRAMBOI – which means ‘tomorrow’ in the local languages of the Boonwurrung and Woi-wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nations – celebrates and showcases some of the most exciting First Nations creatives locally, nationally and internationally; giving the stories of ‘now’ back to the lands that have held them for over 80,000 years.

Set to unearth new talent and amplify First Nations voices, YIRRAMBOI Commissions returns for its fourth iteration to support the creative development and world premiere presentation of new works across any medium at YIRRAMBOI 2025.

YIRRAMBOI invites First Nations creatives, collectives, community groups and arts organisations based in Victoria to submit an Expression of Interest – which will see the festival’s Advisory Group and leadership team select five works and provide each successful project with $18,000 in creative development and $18,000 in presentation support, totalling $36,000.

“YIRRAMBOI Commissions showcase the incredible diversity within the First Nations arts sector and shifts the paradigm of what’s perceived as ‘First Nations arts’ – pushing boundaries and celebrating the evolutionary practices of First Nations creatives. We really can do anything,” said YIRRAMBOI’s co-lead, J-Maine Beezley.

Supporting projects across all artistic mediums, including theatre, dance, music, visual art, experimental practice, and everything beyond and between – YIRRAMBOI encourages submissions from Victorian First Peoples, d/Deaf, Disabled and neurodiverse artists, and regionally based creatives.

Projects may be at any stage of development, though must be fully realised for presentation by May 2025.

Marking its return since 2019, YIRRAMBOI is incredibly proud to reintroduce its International Collaborative Commissions – inviting Australian First Nations and Canadian First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists to submit an Expression of Interest to collaborate on new intercultural work to world premiere at YIRRAMBOI 2025.

Honouring the deep connection and collaboration between First Peoples of Australia and Canada, YIRRAMBOI embarks on a self-determined creative and cultural exchange rooted in experimentation, protocol and Indigenous ways of working.

Creatives may submit as an existing collaborative relationship with a project or concept, or as an individual with a project concept seeking a collaborator. A collaborative partnership between an artist/group in Australia and artist/group in Canada will then be curated if successful.

Two International Collaborative Commissions will be selected by a panel of arts leaders from Australia and Canada alongside the YIRRAMBOI leadership team and awarded AUD$18,000 creative development and AUD$18,000 travel across development in both countries and presentation, totalling AUD$36,000.

“As First Nations Peoples we’ve always known the importance of trade and exchange. We’ve been doing it for thousands of years, long before it was ever written on paper,” said YIRRAMBOI’s co-lead, Sherene Stewart.

“Now more than ever, we must exercise our Sovereignty through connection, cultural exchange and creating new intercultural work. We may come from different parts of the world but the fight to thrive is the same. It’s through our unity that we can forge real change for our next generations.’

Expressions of Interest for International Collaborative Commissions; Canada has opened and will close on Sunday 14 January 2024 (12.00am AEDT). YIRRAMBOI Commissions has opened for Expressions of Interest, and will close on Friday 9 February 2024 (5.00pm AEDT). For more information, visit: www.yirramboi.com.au for details.

Image: Stone Motherless Cold – photo by Tamati Smith