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15 November 2017

The You Are Here Festival management committee has made the decision not to present a festival in 2018.

Instead, the board and You Are Here family will undertake a twelve-month program of research, planning and strategising. We will regroup, reassess and reacquaint ourselves with the city and its creative communities

The You Are Here Festival was born out of unusual circumstances, specific to a place in time. A commission for the Centenary of Canberra, what started as a one-off event has led to seven consecutive festivals. In these seven years we’ve programmed nearly a thousand artists and hosted thousands of audience members. Every year we’ve grown: in our reach, in our impact, in our own learnings about art, about communities, about Canberra.

Together with our artists and audience we have taken back the CBD, unearthed forgotten histories and opened closed doors. We’ve thrived in vacant properties and pioneered the reclamation of public spaces such as Odgers Lane, Verity Lane and Haig Park. We’ve seeded other new festivals and initiatives, like Art Not Apart and Noted Festival. We’ve keep participation in art and culture free and pushed continually towards accessibility and inclusion for all.

The city in which the festival began was different to the city now, and the arts scene was different too. Funding is being restructured. The state of play for artistic producers has shifted, and the relationship between the arts and city development has entered a new era. We want to look at all of this more closely, and ask: what are festivals for? Who are they for? What is the place and purpose of You Are Here in the next decade?

Utmost priorities for the You Are Here Festival have always been inclusion and accessibility, relevance, experimentation and innovation. We believe in supporting development of new work and supporting emerging artists. We believe in lowering the barriers for engagement, opening out the definition of art, and blurring boundaries between artforms. To continue to do these things we need to step back from reactionary demands of funding cycles and pop-up initiatives to consolidate resources toward understanding our current position and future intent.

In short – even if one million dollars fell into the hands of You Are Here Inc. today we feel it would be counter-productive and irresponsible to push forward with a festival in 2018.
A festival needs to be more than a machine fed by funding. We have a responsibility to our artists, our audiences and the communities in which we work.

A central characteristic of You Are Here Festival events has been utilising non-arts venues and producing events with minimal infrastructure. We hope that our program has inspired people to run with their own ideas, to put on their own events, no matter how rough, how small. If you’re an artist or community group who hoped to be part of You Are Here in 2018- don’t stop! This city is hungry for you, and if you need advice, contacts, or just a sounding board, the You Are Here team is available for coffee dates. We can’t help ourselves.

Media enquiries:

Yolande Norris
festival@youareherecanberra.com.au
0438 545 291