YARN: Professional Development for Artists

Arts & Culture

YARN: Professional Development for Artists


While the Gold Coast spawns plenty of great artists, the city’s ability to motivate this talent to stay and expand the local arts scene is a tough challenge.


This may be set to change thanks to the YARN – a cross-arts mentoring program, which brought together the Gold Coast’s most talented emerging artists over the weekend.


Leading this event was David Pledger, co-founder of Melbourne’s Not Yet It’s Difficult (NYID) one of Australia’s leading interdisciplinary arts groups who has run a number similar programs across the globe.


Pledger said the intensive weekend workshop was an important step in connecting the Gold Coast’s art community in a supportive environment.


“The idea of YARN was to bring together local artists who have had various levels of experience in making artworks across all forms and generate a constructive and safe environment for them to talk about how they work,” explains Pledger.


“The guests were able to examine their art and have the chance to establish a community practice, which over time this will allow them to have discussions about the work they are making within their own groups that have a higher level of understanding and critique.”


One of the YARN’s participants was Salvador Cantellano a local filmmaker who is experimenting with innovative digital technologies in his work.


Cantellano says working with likeminded peers and mentors in a constructive environment was extremely helpful to his practice.


He says he will apply some of the ideas discussed over the weekend to his latest piece of work.


“My current project is very technical, we are using some of the most cutting edge technology in the world,” Cantellano.


“One of the big ideas I took from this workshop was applying my creativity ability to tell a story with the vision, rather than just trying to dazzle people with the technology.”


Pledger adds that one of the important aspects of the workshop was that it allowed participants to constructively reflect on past work


“When an artist has finished a project, they might have made a complete mess of it, or it might have been a great success, but either way it’s important for them to be able to constructively unpick their result,” he says.


Another positive benefit of the event was that it allowed artists involved to build up a support network.


This is turn will increase the likelihood that the Gold Coast’s future talent will stick around for years to come.


“The more experience you have as an artist, the more important it is for the artists to feel that they have people that they can talk to that will give them good strong positive responses without undermining their confidence,” Pledger says.


“It doesn’t matter where you are, you basically need to have a network, or a community.”


Cantellano agrees, and says he is looking forward to his next meet-up with the talented artists he met over the weekend.


“We have all built a really great network from the event, and I think it has been useful for us all to form really strong foundations for our different practices moving forward.”





Not Yet It’s Difficult (NYID) is an ideas-based group of artists who collaborate on the production of interdisciplinary projects under the artistic direction of David Pledger. The company is highly regarded for its pioneering approaches to contemporary performance in relation to intercultural theatre practice, physical performance, multimedia theatre and site-specific installation. NYID has a unique presence in Australia’s contemporary arts culture as a research unit, a producer and a maker of events.



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