Melbourne, July 3: In a double first, the world-renowned Performance Studies International (PSi) conference is headed to Australia and opening its doors to the public.

This year’s conference explores the theme Performing Climates and will provide a platform for scholars, artists and the public to come together to engage on the topic of climate change and ecology.

Co-hosted by the University of Melbourne and City of Melbourne’s Arts House, the conference is in its 22nd year and has travelled the globe to promote exchange among artists, thinkers, activists and academics.

Featured performances include Cut the Sky, a large-scale dance performance by Indigenous performance company Marrugeku. The performance tells the story of a group of climate change refugees facing yet another extreme weather event in Western Australia and the impact of climate change on Indigenous communities.

Keynote speaker Professor Richard Frankland from the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development at VCA & MCM says the conference is an avenue for the public to engage in debates about creative and interdisciplinary thinking around sustainability and climate.

“It’s an opportunity to get involved in discussions about climate change, one of the most pressing challenges of our time, and to see how artists both locally and internationally explore these themes”, said Frankland.

Refuge will turn the North Melbourne Town Hall, one of the City of Melbourne’s designated Emergency Relief Centres, into a real-time disaster setting where a simulation will take place.

Six artist’s responses will be tested and Emergency Management Victoria and the Red Cross have also been involved in the planning of the project.

Late night conversations between science and arts scholars from the University of Melbourne and abroad are also a feature of the program. These conversations are free and open to the public and will take place each night from 9pm onwards at the Meat Market.

Angharad Wynne-Jones, Artistic Director at Arts House, says Performing Climates will not just be a series of discussions and workshops, but will also involve dinners and dancing.

“Even as we face global climate catastrophe, we can and must experience joy, connectedness and sustenance,” said Wynne-Jones.

PSi#22 is on from 5 – 9 July Performances and events open to the public are available here

Click here for the full program and tickets to the PSi#22conference

feature image@‘Cut The Sky’ performance by Marrugeku

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