Diasporas Commissions


Diasporas is created for, by and with diverse creatives as an artistic intervention to increase visibility, participation and equity in the arts towards a new arts ecology.  

More than a festival, Diasporas holds space for the interrogation and development of arts and cultural practice with diverse artists and communities. Diasporasis a springboard for building culture, connection and knowledge and a training ground for the next generation of producers, designers, technicians, and creatives. 

Diasporas will launch in 2021 with a series of commissions open to diverse creatives across Victoria.  

Through the Diasporas Commissions, MAV seeks to create opportunities for participation that uphold models of self-determination, by prioritising marginalised and under-represented lived experiences. 

Commissions are open to First Nations colleagues and friends as an act of solidarity in their struggle for sovereignty and self determination for collaborative projects with people of colour and solo works.

MAV has developed a smaller commission series under Diasporas for young, emerging creatives; Ahead of the Curve commissions.  

More about Diasporas here


We are thrilled to announce the 10 recipients of the Diasporas commissions who are ready to Disrupt, Ignite and Represent!

Diasporas is urgent work, answering the need for the critical gestures and rituals of deeply attached life, so long missed, so sorely needed. This is culture as challenge and cure in equal measure.

It is no platitude to say that every work offered for consideration had merit and passion — testimony to the depth and breadth of creative talent and ideas that reflect the majority world and the provocations of diaspora in contemporary Australia.

We were looking for work that stirred something: human, poignant, purposeful. Work that could be loud and soft, joyful and sorrowful, intellectual and embodied and then traverse the space between those binaries.

As a collective, it was exciting and exacting to test the process of selection and curation — what has emerged is a potent reminder that art, politics, history and the future remain in constant dialogue.
– Eleanor Jackson, Diasporas Advisory Panel Member

To keep updated about all 10 Diasporas project, follow MAV’s social media on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

We were overwhelmed with incredible applications for Diasporas and we are sad that we couldn’t fund them all. We are looking forward to working with all applicants in our workshop program, to be announced soon.









The Diasporas commissions will be awarded for: 

  • creative development alone (no presentation in 2022; possible presentation in 2023); 
  • creative development with presentation in 2022; or
  • presentation of new work (work that has already undergone a creative development).  

These categories above apply to all three tiers of commissions.
The three commission tiers are:
$50,000 (total pool $100,000)
Disrupt Project Commissions
 will be offered for projects that disrupt systems of power and apply innovative new processes to creative practice. Disrupt Project Commissions are for established professional creatives or groups of professional creatives with a minimum of five years of demonstrated professional practice working across any artform. Disrupt Project Commissions must involve collaboration with other creatives or non-creatives. 

$25,000 (total pool $75,000)
Ignite Project Commissions
 will be offered for projects that ignite new creative practice demonstrating experimentation and/or development of practice and artform. Ignite Project Commissions are for emerging or professional creatives with a minimum of two years of demonstrated professional practice across any artform. Ignite Project Commissions must involve collaboration with other creatives or non-creatives. 

$10,000 (total pool $50,000)
Represent Project Commissions
 will be offered for new projects or new developments of existing projects, that increase the visibility and representation of diverse creatives and their communities. Represent Project Commissions will be for creatives working across any artform at any level of practice, new, emerging or established. Represent Project Commissions can be solo or collaborative projects.


Never before has it been more important for diverse creatives to tell their own stories on their own terms.  

We choose art for its capacity to transform, critique and redefine power.   

We choose art to respond to threats of bigotry and intolerance in our pluralistic society.  

We choose art to reveal intersectional, intercultural, intergenerational knowledges. 

(Your submission will respond to this provocation as a whole or in part.) 


Applicants who: 

  • self-identify as First Nations, a Person of Colour, or Culturally or Linguistically Diverse;
  • live in Victoria with a current Victorian address; 
  • intend for the project to be presented in Victoria; 
  • identify as an emerging or established individual artist or group of artists; 
  • are able to provide links 1-3 examples of recent solo or collaborative work; and 
  • are able to meet the requirements stipulated by each commission tier. 

Submissions will open from 2 July 2021 and close on 1 September 2021, inviting artists to respond to the provocation above.

Applications will be assessed by an Advisory Group of cultural leaders (see below).

Projects that are awarded commissions will have the opportunity to participate in a series of workshops and mentoring sessions to explore the themes of voice, practice and process and assist in the development of project outcomes. 

Commissioned projects may be presented at any time during 2022, but must be completed by December 31st , 2022. We will work with you to identify the best time to present the work.

MAV reserves the first right of refusal for the presentation of the works atDiasporas 2022. 


Submissions Open 2 July 2021
Information Sessions 22 July + 29 July 2021
Submissions Closed 11.59pm 1 September 2021
Commissions Announced publicly 13 October 2021
Acquittals Due 31 December 2022

Given the extension of the lockdown in Melbourne, we’re EXTENDING THE SUBMISSION PERIOD TO 11.59PM on 1 SEPTEMBER, 2021.

**Click here to download a preview of the form.**Note that you are only required to respond to questions relevant to the specific tiered commissions you are applying for.

Feel free to use this budget template or attach your own budget plan.

If you have any enquiries please contact Diasporas Creative Producer, James Emmanuel Mckinnon at james@mav.org.au. 

Diasporas is supported by Creative Victoria, City of Melbourne and the Australia Council for the Arts. 

MAV is delighted to be partnering with Arts Centre Melbourne for the presentation of the Diasporas platform. Although a statewide initiative, our home base will be Arts Centre Melbourne. This decision reflects an exciting dialogue and partnership that is evolving between our organisations to centre equity in our work as sector leaders. Our partnership interrogates and develops the work in cultural equity with Diasporas showcasing key outcomes over the next four years at Arts Centre Melbourne. We look forward to evolving our vision for Diasporas together. 


**Does my project have to be presented at the Arts Centre Melbourne?**No, your project does not need to be presented at the Arts Centre Melbourne and can occur anywhere in Victoria.

**What additional support can I expect from MAV if my project is funded?**MAV is able to support artists to identify additional funding but cannot provide certainty of these additional funds. Your budget should reflect any additional funding required and how you propose to source it.

**Can I have other sources of funding?**Yes, you can include other confirmed or proposed sources of funding as part of your budget.

**Can I submit an application for multiple commission tiers?**You are not able to submit the same project to the different commission tiers. However, you are able to submit different projects in each of the different tiers.

**Can I apply on behalf of an organisation?**No, only individuals and collectives can apply for funding. You may obtain a statement of support from a partner organisation. However this is not obligatory.

**If my application is unsuccessful, will I receive feedback?**Yes, feedback will provided to all unsuccessful applications, if requested.

**What are the obligations for awarded commissions?**MAV maintains the first right of refusal for presentation during the 2022 or 2023 Diasporas festivals. Artists must use the funds for the purpose that is intended and budgeted, and work ethically and within the law.

Supported by:

Image credit: Gracieuse Amah, TAKEBACK! 2021, photos by Deshani Berhardt