Victorian teens design COVID-Safe Festival in Parliament collaboration

Arts Centre Melbourne in partnership with the Victorian Parliament and The Push have come together to create Steri-LIVE, an imagined festival to inspire a state-wide audience impacted by the pandemic.

Steri-LIVE, ‘The Best Festival to Never Happen’, has been designed by participants of The Channel and The Push’s New Slang program, which supports young Victorians interested in developing skills in event creation and management.

This initiative has created an opportunity for young aspiring creators aged 15-17, supported by the Parliament of Victoria, to team up with members from Arts Centre Melbourne, The Push, and creative mentors Giulia McGauran, Beatrice Lewis and Nicholas Campbell, to dream of what an event would look like in today’s current social and political climate.

“We are dedicated to ensuring that Arts Centre Melbourne is a place where young, aspiring creatives can learn, grow, contribute and realise their ideas. This project in collaboration with The Push and the Parliament of Victoria is a perfect example of what is possible when you offer a platform for young people,” said The Channel’s Venue and Program Manager, Zoe Rinkel.

Innovation is important, now more than ever, and the aspiring artists from our New Slang program have displayed the divergent thinking that will be required for the arts to adapt in the future.

Engagement in the arts is really important for young people. It gives them a community, a language they can use to communicate complex feelings and ideas, and the confidence to take risks and be themselves. It also contributes to the building of a healthy future for a dynamic, exciting, inclusive and diverse arts sector.

The temporary closure of Parliament House during the COVID-19 crisis and the cancellation of a major youth music event in April led to the Parliament exploring new ways of working with young people. The Victorian Parliament has been collaborating with Arts Centre Melbourne and The Push Inc. on youth engagement activities since 2016 and teamed up to experiment with digital technologies during lockdown.

“Parliament’s youth engagement initiatives allow young people to voice their concerns and share their ideas about issues that affect them,” said Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Colin Brooks.

With COVID-19 shutting our doors temporarily and forcing the cancellation of Parliament’s Youth Week activities, we were eager to explore ways to continue supporting and connecting with young people online, he said.

“Importantly, this project has allowed our Parliament to strengthen its connection with young people and understand their needs in a time of rapid change,” said President of the Legislative Council Nazih Elasmar.

The Victorian Parliament congratulates the Steri-LIVE participants for their creativity and collaboration to deliver this project during a challenging time, he said.

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