Q. What is RISING?

A. RISING is a surge of art, music and ceremony in the heart of Melbourne... In other words, it’s a new festival in Victoria’s cultural calendar. RISING will begin on the evening of the total lunar eclipse 26 May and run until 6 June 2021. Read more here

Q. When will the program be announced?

A. We’ll be making our first 2021 program announcement toward the end of the year. In the meantime, keep your eyes and ears open and look to the skies – you never know what you might happen upon.

Q. What happened to the Melbourne International Arts Festival and White Night Melbourne?

A. The sun has set on those two events, but a new moon is RISING.

Q. It runs over National Reconciliation Week. Do you plan on tying in Reconciliation Week into this program?

A. Yes, absolutely! Working with First Peoples artists and community is a key focus area for RISING. We will be working closely with these groups to develop programming and experiences that amplify the themes and intentions of Reconciliation Week during the festival.

Q. I thought the new festival was happening this year?

A. That was the plan but plans change in a pandemic. We were fortunate to be able to postpone the inaugural festival until 2021.

Q. Who is curating the festival?

A. Hannah Fox and Gideon Obarzanek are RISING’s co-Artistic Directors, and lead a diverse team of national and international arts professionals in programming the festival.

Q. I would like to volunteer, intern or work for RISING. How do I apply?

A. Thank you for your interest! At the moment, we’re still in the early stages of planning for the 2021 festival. We will be advertising any employment and volunteering opportunities on our social channels (follow us here, here, here and here) and via email (subscribe here).




How can I access the Q&A live stream that happened on Monday 1 June, 6PM AEST?

The live Q&A with our co-Artistic Directors, Hannah and Gideon, is available on our FacebookInstagram and YouTube channels. Captions are available on Facebook and YouTube, and a downloadable transcript is available here. We've added some of the questions to our FAQs below. Any enquiries about the live stream, please

Q. I don’t live in Victoria. How do I make sure I am I still eligible to apply?

A. The Call to Artists is primarily intended for Victorian Artists or artists whose practice is strongly embedded in Victoria. If your artistic practice or body of work over the last five years has primarily taken place in Victoria, you are eligible to apply. You will be required to select this eligibility option at the time of applying and RISING staff will cross-reference this with the information you provide in your bio.

Q. If the collective applying involves a person based interstate can that person do the video pitch, while the main contact is the Melbourne-based artist?

A. Yes, for a collective the lead artist/ key contact for your application should meet the Victorian eligibility criteria. However, others involved may contribute to the written proposal or be included in the video proposal. It would be beneficial for your bio section to introduce the key members of your collective, especially if multiple members are speaking in the video proposal. 

Q. I meet the eligibility criteria but now live overseas, can I apply? 

A. Yes, Victorian artists living overseas can apply. But please consider that the situation with COVID-19 and travel restrictions may make things tricky. In this instance, it might be worth considering how or if your work could be developed or presented in Victoria without requiring you to travel.

Q. We are a collaboration/ collective/ company, how do we apply?

A. If you are applying as a collaboration, collective or artist-led company, please appoint one lead contact to submit your application on behalf of the group.  

Q. Our project is a combination of professional artists and community members. Is this something the festival would be interested in?

A. Yes, absolutely! We are very interested in projects which engage with the community and encourage participation. 

Q. I'm not an artist but am representing an artist collective. Can I submit the application?

A. Yes, artists and creative types who meet the Victorian eligibility criteria may apply. This means curators, producers, community organisations and others in this area are welcome to submit. We are most interested in the idea at this stage.

Q. We are applying as a collaboration/ collective/ company, but not all of our group meet the Victorian eligibility requirements, can we still apply? 

A. As long as at least one key artist or member of your collaboration, collective or company meets the Victorian eligibility requirements you can apply. This person should be the lead contact when submitting your application.

Q. What kind of ideas/artwork are you looking for?

A. RISING welcomes ideas for work in any form, from visual arts to performance, theatre, dance, music and community-based projects that are well suited to a festival context.

At this early stage, our assessment panel is more concerned with the strength and clarity of your creative idea than things like venues or audience numbers. You will have the opportunity to consider the “how’s” of realising your idea in the second stage.

Q. How do you suggest ideas might be expressed or what applicants could consider here to get their idea across? 

A. We recommend you read in detail the criteria outlined on the Call to Artists page and this full list of FAQs. We are updating FAQs as new questions come to hand, and they give a good picture of what to express or consider at this point to get their idea across. 

Q. Any tips for application content in regards to whether it should be focused on concept and selling an idea or story. Or rather would you like to know our idea of the what, how and other logistics?

A. At this early stage, our assessment panel is more concerned with the strength and clarity of your creative idea than the "how's" of presenting your project, and details such as the venue or the physical design of your work. You will have the opportunity to consider how your idea comes to life in the second stage. However, if the venue or physical design is integral or inseparable from your creative idea, it may still be beneficial to describe this in your application. 

Q. Are you looking for ideas that offer similar experiences to White Night and Melbourne Festival?

A. No, we are open to proposals for work in all art forms, but this may include projection-based experiences.

Q. Are experimental, dark or bizarre ideas for projects going to be looked upon favourably or would you prefer projects that are mass appealing?

A. Our advisory panel will be looking at the strength and clarity of your creative idea and the way it responds to the Call to Artists and criteria outlined. We're interested in ideas for niche projects and audiences, and ideas that are very public and for the masses. RISING is deeply committed to presenting works which are accessible, and for the community and will be taking this into consideration throughout this process. 

Q. You are obviously looking for out of the box ideas, but are there are any key boxes you are looking to tick, that aren't listed already?

The Call to Artists' text, criteria and FAQs are intended to give artists the information they should consider when submitting their application. We are open to proposals of all kinds and are intentionally not being prescriptive with the Call to Artists. 

Q. Are you prioritising one art form over others? 

A. We will not be prioritising any particular artform and welcome ideas for work in any form, of any scale and duration. Our priority at this initial point is the strength and clarity of your creative idea, and how this idea aligns with the Call to Artists and the criteria outlined. 

Q. Are you looking for works for families also?

A. Yes, we are looking for work which encourages participation and social connection. Whether this is directed towards specific demographics such as families and children or a wide audience. 

Q. Can we involve aspects of food and beverage into our ideas as part of the experience of the artwork?

A. Yes. RISING is interested in projects that are participatory, social, community-oriented and engage with Melbourne, and projects which incorporate food have great potential to do this. Artistic projects which use food and beverage as part of the experience, and can either be delivered by the festival or a collaboration with a local restaurant or community group, for example, are welcomed. However, we are not seeking commercial food and beverage proposals through this Call to Artists. 

Q. What scale of ideas/artwork are you looking for? Would you suggest pitching big ideas?

A. This is an opportunity to propose your most bold and ambitious idea, whatever the size. We’re after work of all scales and work that is scalable to a variety of settings. In the second stage of the process, a fee for creative development will be provided along with in-kind production consultation. The fee will be dependent on the scale of the project and the number of company members or artists involved.

Q. Are you open to ideas so grand that they would need a pilot next year with full deployment the following year?

A. Yes, this is a creative development process which allows space for work to grow and change, and the development of the work does not necessarily need to finish with the first presentation. Your work could be something which is presented in RISING and then travels elsewhere as another iteration or is presented again in subsequent years. If your application is successful and you move through to the creative development phase, these considerations will be addressed on a project-by-project basis.

For this initial proposal, we will be focussing on the strength of your creative idea and less on the practical "how's" of the work, so you may not need to address this at this early point, but we do encourage to artists to put their most ambitious idea forward. 

Q. Will there be a chance to get a plan or idea of the spaces being offered? Would you be open to proposals that have no guarantee of the space, ie would you negotiate a space that has never before been used in an arts context?

A. You do not need to confirm a venue before submitting your idea. At this initial point, we are more concerned with your creative idea than the "how's" of making and presenting the work. If you are successful in your application and move through to the creative development phase, there will be opportunities to explore venue options in conversation with RISING curatorial and production staff.

Venue considerations will be addressed on a project-by-project basis and we are definitely interested in exploring the use of unconventional venues or spaces that have not been used in an arts context before. 

Q. How much should we be thinking about the ramifications of COVID-19 - such as social distancing, touching materials etc - or are you just interested in the idea, and will work all that out later as things unfold?

A. You do not need to respond to the current situation with COVID-19 as part of your idea, your proposal or in the initial development of your idea. If you are successful in your application, the subsequent creative development phase of the Call to Artists will allow you to liaise with RISING curatorial and production staff to address and adapt your work to any social distancing measures or other impacts of COVID-19 on the how your work might be presented. 

Q. What do you mean by "festival context”?

A. RISING is a festival which seeks to present work in public space and to be embedded within the Melbourne community. Ultimately, we see the point of festivals as a marriage of community and ceremony, shared cultural displays and counterculture. In practice, this means the social idea is as important as the artistic and the meeting of the two is what we aim to promote. 

RISING considers works suited to a festival context to be those which are ephemeral or make the most of the temporary nature of festivals; such as live or performative experiences, the occupation of public spaces or unconventional venues, connecting with diverse audiences and communities, encouraging social connection and inviting participation. This description is by no means exhaustive, the possibilities for festival-based works are endless, but it is intended to give an indication of what work we think is suited to a festival context. 

Q. Can I submit an idea that has already had some creative development?

A. You are welcome to submit pre-existing ideas, but this creative development process is intended to generate festival-based works that are made for and responsive to our context. Your application must clearly demonstrate how your idea responds to those specific criteria to be considered.

It is a core objective of RISING to commission and present Australian work above and beyond this process, and the outcome of the call out will not form the entirety of the Victorian and Australian work that we present. Whether successful or not, the outcome of your application through A Call to Artists will not preclude you from pitching other work to the festival. This call-out is an opportunity to present your boldest, most ambitious idea for RISING.

Q. How much money will I receive if I am successful? 

If you are successful in this initial stage, you will receive $2000 seed funding to develop your idea further and resubmit for another round of assessment. In the second round, the creative development funding you receive will be determined by the scale of your project and the budget you submit with your application. Beyond the creative development period, if the festival commissions your work for presentation, a commissioning fee and project budget will be determined in negotiation with RISING staff.

Q. What is the overall timeline of the creative development program?

  • Mon 8 June – A Call to Artists submissions close 
  • July - Successful and unsuccessful applicants notified. Successful applicants have two weeks to complete their second proposal
  • August—September – Creative development period
  • Late-September - Projects presented for commissioning consideration

Q. If I successfully move through all the stages of this process and my work is commissioned, when will I need to present the work? 

Commissioned works may be presented for the inaugural festival, taking place 26 May–6 June 2021. However, the presentation outcomes of this creative development program will depend on many variables — such as the nature of the proposed project, our plans for RISING 2021 and future festivals, as well as ongoing developments with COVID-19 and will be determined on a project-by-project basis.

Q. Can I submit multiple ideas?

A. Applicants are limited to a single submission in their name. 

Q. Am I able to submit a festival idea as an individual as well as part of a collective? 

A. We will only accept one submission per person. In the case of a collective we ask that a key contact submits the application on behalf of the group. If this key contact isn’t you, and there isn’t a double up in submissions under your name, then there won’t be any issues with applying with your individual idea as well as being part of a collective that is also applying.

Q. Do I have to supply supporting material?

A. No, supporting material is not required at this stage of the application, but you may provide a website URL or Instagram handle if you feel it will help the assessment panel get a sense of your practice.

Q. How specific do we have to be in terms of physical design for the first round of the process?

A. At this early stage, our assessment panel is more concerned with the strength and clarity of your creative idea than things like venues,  audience numbers or the physical design of your work. You will have the opportunity to consider the “how’s” of realising your idea in the second stage. However, if the venue, audience or physical design is integral to or inseparable from your creative idea, it may be beneficial to describe this in your application. 

Q. Do I need to provide a budget for my idea?

A. You are not required to provide a budget at this initial stage. If you are successful and receive the $2000 seed funding you will be asked to provide a more detailed creative development budget at this point. 

Q. I would like to submit my idea in video format, what do I need to know?

A. If you choose to submit a video proposal instead of a written proposal, the video should describe your idea for a festival work, rather than be a submission of support material. We don't want to see a video back catalogue of past work or performances with no indication of your idea or how this footage relates to your idea. As with the written proposal, the video piece needs to get your idea across, consider the information in the Call to Artists and the criteria outlined, and be clear about what you want to do and why. 

Files should be uploaded in MP4, MPEG-4 or MOV format with a maximum file size of 500mb (500,000kb). Please name the file using your name [eg. FirstnameLastname.MP4 or ArtistCollective.MOV]. Submission videos that exceed 2 minutes in length will be deemed ineligible.

Q. Who owns the idea I submit?

A. All intellectual property rights over the idea submitted belong to the Artist/ Collective/ Company (as long as the idea you submit does not infringe any copyright or other intellectual property right, right to privacy or the rights of a third party). RISING staff and the Call to Artists advisory panel will take careful measures to ensure non-disclosure of ideas submitted. If you are successful in subsequent rounds, intellectual property rights will be addressed in more detail through the contracting process.

Q. How many ideas are you looking for? What percentage of the program will be formed by the Call to Artists?

A. We are hoping to program around a third of our 2021 festival through this process. The exact number commissioned will depend on the type and scale of projects which are successful in this Call to Artists.

Q. Will I receive confirmation of receipt of my submission?

A. Once you’ve hit ‘submit’ you should receive an automated email confirmation, including a copy of the filled form for your records. 

Q. When will I be notified of the outcome of my application?

A. Applicants will be notified within six weeks of the submission deadline.

Q. What happens if I am unsuccessful in my application?

A. Unsuccessful applicants will receive a notification via email. RISING is unable to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants in the first round of submissions. Still, we would encourage you to keep your eyes peeled for further opportunities to participate in the festival. 

Q. What happens if I am successful in my application?

A. Successful applicants will receive a notification via email. Successful applicants will be allocated $2000 funding and given a two-week time frame to develop their proposal further for the second round of assessment in July. The information required for the second proposal will be provided to successful applicants.

Q. Why is the application period only two weeks? 

A. The tight turnaround is to allow enough time for the creative development of successful projects for the 2021 festival. If you have access requirements that will cause difficulty meeting the deadline, please call 03 9662 4242, Monday to Thursday, between 9AM–5PM.

We are only able to respond to accessibility requirements at this number, for all other enquiries please