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Mudfest: What is it?

Friday, 17 July, 2015

Coming up soon is Mudfest, the biannual student arts festival at The University of Melbourne, which encourages students to produce creative and progressive work. So, how does it work?

Taking place since the 1990s, Mudfest has become the biggest student art event in the southern hemisphere. Different artistic directors run the festival each year, allowing for new visions to be explored; students in the Creative Arts department of UMSU have directed the past three festivals.

This year’s event directors, Bonnie Leigh-Dodds and Bella Vadiveloo, have been working on four concepts: accessibility, sustainability, community and education. As a result, this year’s Mudfest encourages students to create accessible artwork that does not negatively impact upon the environment.

Encompassing diverse art forms including performance, theatre, installation, visual art, craftwork, music, and comedy, this festival aims to support marginalised groups in society and carry out the principle of “paper free, nothing new, and nothing thrown away”.

Tangible art pieces will come from recycled sources and be found a home after the conclusion of the event. Students are given the chance to practically learn in the art industry, and are brought together to collaborate as a community to celebrate their common faith – art.

Various events such as workshops, panel discussions, family days and dance parties will be held throughout the process of the event. In the final stage, from 20th to 29th of August, art shows will be held at Union Lawn. An innovative project entitled “Artists Blind Dating” was designed this year to enhance the development of art and networking among artists. Two artists will be given free tickets to shows, with the assumption that they would chat afterwards and then make a creative response to the work using their own medium.

Artists are financially supported by Cultural and Community Relations Grants and will be reimbursed the cost of their productions, to the point of ticket sales. To further reinforce the sense of community, the Creative Arts department has been recruiting volunteers throughout the year. Artists, along with other students from differing fields are brought together to collaborate and create a positive, arty experience.