Current Issue #488

The Mill Gains Momentum With 2017/18 Program

The Mill Gains Momentum With 2017/18 Program

After three years of growth and incubating a whole swathe of professional artists and craftspeople at its Angas Street address, The Mill is rolling out its first annual program for 2017/18 on the back of organisational funding from Arts South Australia.

“It definitely feels like a bigger picture, and we feel like we know where we’re going from here and what this formula looks like repeated in the years to come instead of waiting to go for the next funding round or grants,” says Amber Cronin, co-founder of The Mill along with Erin Fowler.

Thanks to $90,000 in organisational funding from Arts South Australia, The Mill’s wide-ranging arts activity is set to expand and solidify over the course of the next year. The funding has facilitated the hiring of a general manager and programming coordinator to help run The Mill’s daily business and will see the founders establish a board to help guide The Mill into the future.

“We’ve had the last three years to try different ideas out and some things have come about really organically through meeting artists, or seeking artists out,” Fowler says. “This year it was that we’ve had the last three years to try, and this is our chance to firm it up and keep it going.”

This program is a broad one. Dance, writing, gallery art, public art and the hub’s large stable of associate artists are all huddled together under the one banner. This broad church is no issue for The Mill though, with Cronin and Fowler espousing the great potential of collaboration and cross-disciplinary work. As such, much of the program is a blend of these disciplines with that collaboration prioritised.

Take for instance the fresh coup of securing Toronto Dance Company to run The Mill’s Choreographic Futures project. Set to be hosted this year by Canadian choreographer Ame Henderson, and next year by the company’s artistic director, Christopher House, this is not merely a chance for dancers to learn more about their craft.

mill-gathers-momentum-adelaide-review-jonathan-van-der-knaap(photographer: Jonathan van der Knaap)

“I’m really looking forward to the Ame Henderson workshop,” says Cronin. “It’s about taking choreography and body movement and applying that to other disciplines within in the workshop. We’ve done this before with different disciplines and it’ll be really great for people like theatre-makers, sculptors, visual artists and even writers.”

And on the subject of writing, this year will mark The Mill’s very first Writer in Residence pilot project in partnership with SA Writers Centre. A writer will be taken on board for either six or 12 months (at their discretion) to develop their craft in The Mill, completing six commissioned pieces over the year and contributing to a fresh annual publication from the hub. There are few limits set on the style of writing at hand, be it reportage, creative writing, poetry or prose, but Fowler notes writers with an openness to collaboration with other Mill artists will be smiled upon.

“When you come into this space, there are so many disciplines here,” says Fowler, “so having an interest in the way different people work and different things are definitely exciting to us.”

mill-gathers-momentum-lucas-croall-adelaide-reviewWork by Lucas Croall (image courtesy The Mill)

That cross-disciplinary influence continues in the venue’s gallery. The artists locked in thus far include mural and pattern artist Lucas Croall (beginning this week), versatile sculptor/designer/shoemaker Matea Gluscevic in May and filmmaker/illustrator Eddie White in July.

Cronin explains that the exhibiting artists will do more than just exhibit, too.

“There’s a big push for people to bring in musicians, host side events, workshops alongside the exhibitions,” she says.

While the program is replete with collaborative work, including the continuation of The Mill’s growing international connection to Bali’s own multi-arts venue Rumah Sanur, there is also plenty of discipline-specific opportunity within it. The brand-new Helpmann Academy | Mill Dance Award sends a graduate dancer to Sweden to work with Gothenburg’s ilDance company for three months. In January, local dancer Mieke Kriegesvelt picked up the award.

mill-gathers-momentum-mieke-adelaide-reviewMieke Kriegesvelt is the inaugural winner of the Helpmann | Mill Dance Award (photo courtesy the artist)

“Helpmann have been really strong supporters of what we’ve been doing,” says Cronin. “Last year we sent two dancers over to Sweden with their support. Now we’ve locked it in to be a formalised award in partnership with ilDance and AC Arts.”

Valued at more than $18,000, the award is decided by a panel including representatives drawn locally and from ilDance. The remarkable opportunity to get a shoe in the door of the European dance scene is expected to be highly sought after in its second year.

“For dancers in Australia, a lot of our influences come from the European dance scene, but it’s just so far away,” says Fowler. “It’s a bit overwhelming when you’ve just graduated and you ask, ‘where do I even start?’, so it’s a great way to even just make connections in that part of the world.”

The Mill’s collaboration with ilDance grows stronger each year (photo courtesy The Mill)

ilDance artistic directors Israel Aloni and Lee Brummer will also continue to conduct their ilDance Lab sessions in April and December this year as well.

While the new program, funding and structure will allow The Mill to thrive, it will also see Cronin and Fowler take less control over the sprawling arts organisation they created. Asked whether the two are apprehensive about taking their hands off the reins, they say no.

“The last three years have been great, but they’ve been hard, as it’s just been us,” says Fowler. “Now we can take a step back and take more of an artistic direction role, and see the bigger picture, not be at the battlefront in every capacity.”

“The Mill has its own direction and vision that is almost beyond Erin and I now,” adds Cronin. “It’s important for it to be recognised as that organisation, not just Erin and myself anymore. It’s been built by all of the people who have participated and guided the program.”

Explore the full program at

Header photo: Jonathan van der Knaap

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