Shelter Commissions Program | Expressions of Interest Open

MAV is inviting expressions of interest from writers, visual artists, music and sound producers, songwriters and composers to create new works that can be shared online for Shelter.

Shelter is a new MAV produced initiative that will reflect on and respond to this unique moment in time in which we find ourselves confined to our own homes.
For some home is a safe space and for some it is a dangerous place.
For most of us now, home is a place of isolation, uncertainty, challenge, or even crisis

We are all explorers right now, navigating physical and mental spaces of not knowing, renegotiating our relationships to home and each other, reframing our “shelter in” experience from being a personal disruption to a quest for collective wellbeing, and trying to imagine the new normal beyond pandemic.

Shelter is a paid opportunity for 40 diverse artists who have walked paths of struggle before, who have resources, insights and resilience to offer, who are voices that may nourish and guide us during these times of forced change.

Shelter will offer story, song, sound, imagery and ideas, that draw on diverse cultures, identities, experiences, knowledges and creativity, and that may provoke new questions and meaning as we strive to find new ways of being. The works will be released on the MAV website and social media throughout the Winter season.


To be eligible artists must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • identify as being from culturally or linguistically diverse or First Peoples background
  • be living in Victoria with a current Victorian address
  • identify as being a practising individual artist or group of artists (emerging or established)
  • be able to provide an online link to a recent solo or collaborative work
  • be able to produce high quality work suitable for online presentation in one of the following disciplines: music (video or audio recording of a new original song or composition), creative writing (poem or story), article (critical reflection or academic writing), or digital visual arts (a 2D visual artwork that has been produced digitally  including still image/s, photography, design, animation, video).
  • be able to produce a work ready for publishing online within 4 weeks of notification
  • must provide an original, reflective and creative response to the Shelter provocation

‘The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is – it’s to imagine what is possible’
– bell hooks

Using the frame of these words by bell hooks, artists must develop a concept for a creative response to one of the following ideas:

as doors close, hearts open — reimagining home — individual needs vs collective wellbeing — hopefulness —handling uncertainty — finding new meaning and ways of being — resilience — positive adaptation — staying connected — finding belonging and community — transformation — change brings opportunity — imagining the new normal — staying creative

These responses may include poems, short stories, articles, songs, instrumental compositions, soundscapes or 2D digital visual artworks.

In no more than 200 words, artists must explain:

  • which idea they are exploring and responding to
  • why they have chosen this idea
  • a brief description of the concept and artwork that they intend to produce, or how they will explore the idea
  • demonstrate that their concept will go beyond ‘telling it like it is’ to ‘imagining what’s possible’
  • MAV will provide 40 artists with the opportunity to develop a work for Shelter.
  • Every commissioned artist will be paid a $400 fee for creative development plus $100 non-exclusive licensing fee for online presentation by MAV.
  • The works will be presented online by MAV, on the MAV website and MAV social media platforms.
  • Artists will retain full rights and ownership of their work but will be required to grant MAV exclusive rights to the first public presentation of the work as part of Shelter.
  • Being part of this project will provide an opportunity for artists to connect their work with other artists’ work through responding to a shared experience and framework.
  • Artists may produce an artist statement about their process and their work, to accompany its presentation online.
  • MAV may be able to provide technical advice for artists to create video and/or audio of their work.

Through a process of radically questioning our processes and our role in creating platforms for culturally diverse artists, MAV is seeking to produce transformational, new curatorial and programming approaches.

Shelter is about creating a space for dialogue, an open model for knowledge production, a critical and creative site for many people and not just a few, to provoke new questions and explore evolving spaces of “not-knowing”.

As such, we are experimenting with a new selection process for Shelter. Abandoning the traditional roles of curator or assessment panel, and all that these roles represent in the context of power and exclusivity, we will randomly select successful applicants from amongst those who have successfully addressed the eligibility criteria.

  • Expressions of Interest open Monday 27 April 2020
  • Expressions of Interest close Friday 22  May 2020
  • Applicants notified of outcome by Friday 5 June 2020
  • Successful applicants to complete and submit artworks to MAV by no later than Monday 29 June 2020 (works can be submitted as soon as they are ready and payment will be made within 10 days )
  • Shelter works released online from July – September 2020

Please submit your EOI through the form only. All enquires to be sent to


Image credit: Weave Movement Theatre. Wanna Be a Rabbit? Mapping Melbourne 2019. Photo by Damian W Vincenzi.