Nexus Arts’ music programs manager Emily Tulloch take up the role of artistic director in a leadership reshuffle that will see the organisation continue its pivot to supporting ‘intercultural’ collaboration.
Announced this week, Emily Tulloch will step into the role of artistic director, while film academic Dr Blythe Chandler will take over as Nexus Arts’ new general manager. This latest appointment follows previous executive director Louise Dunn’s move in July from Nexus Arts to its Lion Arts Centre neighbour ACE Open, a change precipitated by the departure of ACE Open’s founding CEO Liz Nowell.
While Tulloch’s previous role focussed on Nexus’ musical offerings, as artistic director she will also oversee the organisation’s visual arts program and gallery space. The junction between visual and performing arts is something Tulloch already has experience in exploring, particularly through her work with Zephyr Quartet.
“It just reminded me how much music can benefit from connecting with the place of its creation, that spatial aspect,” she says of a recent Zephyr Quartet performance down the road at Samstag Museum of Art, that saw the ensemble perform a response to Louise Haselton’s SALA Festival exhibition like cures like in situ among the work. “Personally I feel there’s a great synergy between art forms, and there’s a really natural, beautiful way that music and visual art can interact and provoke one another.”
In her new role Tulloch says she hopes to continue Nexus’ shift from a ‘multicultural’ space – the organisation dropped the word from its title last year – to one focussed on fostering an ‘intercultural’ society. “That’s the word that has been a changing point for Nexus, moving towards an understanding of ‘interculturalism’, of understanding our diverse country,” Tulloch says. “That just slightly changes the focus to cultures working together as opposed to ‘multiculturalism’, which, while celebrating and supporting individual cultures, can have the effect of siloing them.
“What I’ve been really interested in my programming is promoting new work that brings together artists of diverse backgrounds to work together in the creation of new work that [bridges] their various genre or artistic heritages – whether that’s musical heritages or cultural ones – to create something that could be called distinctively new or ‘Australian’ work, that reflects the diverse cultures that we know our nation is made up of.”
That push is reflected in Tulloch’s 2019 programming choices, from the July premiere of a specially commissioned collaboration between guzheng player Zhao Liang and drummer Jarrad Payne, to the upcoming pairing of Filipino and Aboriginal rapper DOBBY and Adelaide-based folk singer Naomi Keyte on 2 November as part of OzAsia Festival.
“The work we’re doing is contemporary in nature, but that doesn’t mean that artists who work in a contemporary fashion don’t draw on their heritage or traditional methods. So there is still a place for us to connect with community and to be presenting work that reflects and represents the diversity of Australia, that is also looking forward, particularly in terms of intercultural thinking.”