Western Edge Takes On Southeast Asia: Reflections from the 2023 Bangkok International Performing Arts Meeting
Penny: Last week Western Edge went international!
Co-Artistic Director John Marc Desengano, Development Manager Kim Suree Williamson and I spent a week in Thailand attending the Bangkok International Performing Arts Meeting (BIPAM) where we were invited to speak on the topic of “Championing the Voices of Young Artists” at the Jim Thompson Art Center. We spoke about the work we are doing to create culturally safe and accessible spaces for young people from Melbourne’s West to tell their own stories with their own voice in their own way, while also providing long-term support and tangible pathways for young artists in the West who are committed to a career in the performing arts sector.
We also led the delegates through our embodied practice, explaining our artistic process and breaking down how we facilitate our programs with young people, and how this creative methodology is the core of our entire company’s workplace culture. The games we play and deep listening we engage in with young people in our rehearsal rooms also underpins our administration, management and Board governance practice and is our true north in all we do.
John Marc: It was the most enriching experience attending BIPAM 2023. To connect and converse with peers across the globe has allowed us the chance to see how we can improve our practice, but also given us the confidence to know that what we do has a place and purpose not only in our country but globally, and others are genuinely interested in learning from us too. It’s so inspiring to speak to other orgs who share similar values!
John Marc: This is the first time Western Edge has attended an international conference but it will certainly not be our last. Thank you BIPAM for having us and for organising a wonderful event. We can’t wait to come back!