Collaboration, Community, and Conversations: How Platform Arts Leads Arts Experiences    

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Collaboration, Community, and Conversations: How Platform Arts Leads Arts Experiences    

Paradise Lots by Pony Cam. Photo Leiko Manalang.

Car park performative takeovers; marine biologists collaborating with artists; sound tours with evening swims at Eastern Beach; and the former magistrate court packed with hay bales for a spoken word-slash-archery act: Platform Arts is pushing the boundaries of art inside and outside of their Old Courthouse walls. 

Strength to strength, the not-for-profit arts organisation has been raising the profile of experimental and contemporary art in the Geelong region through community collaboration, engaging in wider dialogue on issues that matter, building meaningful connections with sector leaders, and presenting powerful, thought-provoking works.  

Executive Director Ilana Russell explains, “It has been a delight to grow the reach of Platform Arts programming and program partners. In the last couple of years, we’ve partnered with universities, international arts festivals, government bodies and experimental theatre companies to deliver exciting works to the region that challenge the way that we, as audiences, think.”  

Stay up to date with what’s happening within the region’s art scene here

“I was waterbombed in a shopping trolley as part of a performance work that challenged assumptions about youth. The Director turned the burning of Weetbix onstage into a conversation about the comparably delicate practices of the arts industry and the death industry. We’re building a program where art leads and comments on complex constructs.” 


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To help bring all of these pieces of the Platform puzzle together, the organisation has introduced thematics into their programming, blanketing their gallery, performance and public program under an overarching theme. Anchored by the considered curation of a major exhibition and supported by performances, talks, public events and publications, Platform’s 2024 program will respond to issues and conversations that are urgent in our current societal climate.

“It’s incredibly exciting to create arts experiences that connect and unravel over time, where audiences are invited to gather and respond to each subsequent event within that theme. The arts are as much about providing alternative conceptual means to process—together—our changing world,” Russell says.


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This strategic choice enables Platform to align with Geelong’s expectations of contemporary art experiences. From engaging with higher calibre artists to bringing world-class works to their stage and gallery walls, Platform Arts is focused on elevating its artistic offering.

“Under this new model, we have opened our outreach to engage an amazing cohort of artists, researchers and disrupters to respond to vital environmental and social issues. Our current exhibition alone engages fifteen artists such as national changemakers Georgia Nowak, James Geurts, and Jazz Money, whose work all responds in some capacity to a shared vision and concept,” says Russell.

The arts organisation is currently in the depths of an H2O deep dive called CURRENTS, an exhibition exploring the human relationship with water. The exhibition component sees the intersection of artists across disciplines contemplating tides, migration, ecosystems, climate change, saturation, sustenance and hydration. On the public program front, Platform Arts has partnered with Barwon Water to deliver off-site events including a water cycle meditation and a guided walk at Upper Stony Creek Reservoir.

“The uniqueness of the CURRENTS exhibition and the cross-section of artists involved has opened up the exploration of art practice across different mediums and industries. Scientists, researchers and artists have become intrinsically interconnected throughout this process and we have connected with spaces outside of our building.” 

Their second theme, fairy, is set to kick off on Saturday 6 April, running until Friday 17 May. The project will explore ‘fairies’ and queer presences, engaging 13 artists to think through and creatively respond to the possibilities and limitations of “thinking of queerness as a fairy.” 


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As supported by the Midsumma Regional Activation Fund, fairy sees collaboration with the LGBTQIA+ community of Geelong. For the opening event, catering will be provided by cheese train aficionados, Splatters. In a first for the organisation, following the recent removal of its dry zone designation, Platform Arts will also include the service of alcohol, partnering with local regional allies, Great Ocean Road Gin. 

Additionally, fairy strengthens the organisation’s relationship with Geelong Pride Film Festival. The festival program will launch at Platform Arts on Thursday 28 March, followed by screenings and Q&A’s in their theatre on Saturday 20 April. Features include the story of an 87-year-old carriage-diving legend in Isla’s Way as well as AFLW documentary, Equal the Contest. The festival also boasts the Australian premiere of Masquerades of Research I and II by Irish-based artist Padraig Robinson. 

“We’re excited to partner with Geelong Pride Film Festival to share the important stories from the community and further contribute to the LGBTQIA+ conversation. We’re thrilled to build on our longstanding relationship with the festival by becoming a more significant program supporter each year.”

Located at the entrance of the city’s cultural precinct, Platform Arts is open for free visitations from 9AM – 5PM weekdays and Saturdays from 10AM – 3PM during exhibition periods.

To find out more about Platform Arts transformed program of events head to