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Community Guidelines

Anywhere Festival champions a vision empowering anyone to realise their right to creative expression and to perform anywhere regardless of access to traditional performance infrastructure. 

We produce a festival, at the core of which is a program of independent work presented by over 700 participants each year. 

Anyone can express interest, but we curate the festival to ensure we are able to provide the best support for creatives so they can find their audience and take creative risks. We chose based on four key criteria: 

  1. Is the performance anywhere but a theatre? How does it connect with the space and how does it subvert ideas built up in traditional performance spaces? How does it change the dynamic from a performance back to a shared story telling between everyone at the experience.
  2. The idea - is it relevant, is it exciting, is it questioning? Is there a creative risk and is this a production that would not happen or be very difficult to produce outside of Anywhere Festival?
  3. Can Anywhere help the performance maker either with skills training, audience development. It is about the ability of the performance making team to take creative risks, be ambitious and be able to achieve what they set out to achieve.
  4. To ensure the best experience and quality of support for performance makers and therefore for audiences, we limit the festival size. There is no easy way so once we have hit our limit all further expression of interests are on a wait list.

Please be aware that each region of the festival (ie. Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Moreton Bay) has variations on these guidelines to take into account local factors.

Participation in Anywhere Festival’s programs is guided by two key principles: Freedom of Expression and Ensuring Community Safety.

Principle One: Freedom of Expression

Freedom of artistic expression is vital to our culture, our democracy and our artistic practice, and allowing a diversity of viewpoints opens powerful, difficult and important conversations to take place.

We believe that access to the arts and creative expression are fundamental rights of our citizenship and vital to a creative and empathetic, healthy culture. Article 27 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states that “everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, [and] to enjoy the arts”.

We work to support everyone to express themselves, democratising artistic expression, removing artistic hierarchies and creating a platform for people to express themselves with a diversity of viewpoints, artforms and cultures. 

We help enable work that is risky, difficult and political. We may platform work we don’t agree with, we don’t like and we don’t know, because the alternative is to stifle civic participation. We believe it is important to have complex and nuanced conversations and we believe passionate disagreement is an acceptable and sometimes an important outcome, opening our minds to different ways of seeing our world.

Principle Two: Ensuring Community Safety

No freedom is absolute nor without consequence, and we are committed to creating culturally safe spaces for self-expression in order to champion artistic freedom for all participants.

We particularly celebrate and support minority or marginalised voices, shifting power structures and removing barriers to access, creating a platform for self-empowerment and therefore for social and artistic change. To ensure that Anywhere Festival’s values of justice and human rights align with our democratic ideals, we work to eradicate racism, ableism, ageism, misogyny, transphobia and homophobia from our community. We do this by celebrating, profiling and nurturing diversity, educating and supporting artists as they learn. Creating culturally safe spaces allows all participants to take greater artistic risks, because they are presenting work in a context free from violence and vilification.

On occasion, some work in our programs may be considered extreme and unacceptable by the values of this guiding principle if it contains content or behaviour that is likely to incite in a reasonable audience member: hatred against, or serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a group of persons because of age, ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, sexuality, religion, or disability.

Organisational Policy

There are legal bars pertaining to hate speech and vilification that must be met in all walks of life, but many other sectors, such as the television and radio broadcast industries, self-regulate with a higher code of conduct that must be met. Anywhere Festival believes that live events should similarly be held to a higher standard than the minimum legal requirement, and that although every individual has the right to be heard, not every message has the right to receive the organisational and community support that comes from being a part of Anywhere Festival.

We recognise that some groups are systemically disadvantaged and in extreme cases, become the target of vilification. We prioritise the safety of these structurally marginalised groups over the discomfort of the dominant majority, bearing in mind the intersectional complexities of power dynamics that may be involved in each situation that may arise.

We don’t believe offensiveness should be the guide to what voices should and shouldn’t be heard. History has shown that “offensiveness” arguments have been used to silence minorities or alternative viewpoints, and we know that sometimes provocative and challenging art can walk a fine line between stimulating thought and offending someone. The line drawn by these Community Guidelines is when offence crosses into the realm of compelling hatred, serious contempt or severe ridicule towards a community of people. It takes the question out of the subjective view of a person and puts it into the objective experience of a group of people.

Organisational Action

In the rare situation where participants cannot or will not meet the guidelines and the intention of the participant is to use their freedom of artistic expression as an excuse to spread hate, to violate others’ dignity or to create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or unduly offensive environment, Anywhere Festival will seek advice where required and work with the artist on a resolution, which may result in the event not been selected in the first place or excluding the event from our program if this comes to the light during the development and presentation. We believe that while every individual has the right to expression, not every intended message deserves Anywhere's public platform. We will not cancel an event, however we can withdraw it and our support from the Festival; the producer of the event may choose to continue the season independently of Anywhere Festival.

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