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).



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

A. Yes, you 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. 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. What scale of ideas/artwork are you looking for?

A. 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. 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. No, applicants are limited to a single submission.

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

A. Ideas presented in video format should be the applicant/s talking to-camera about their idea, rather than support material. 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. 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 of the outcome of their submission 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.