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The Critical Conversations series provides four opportunities across the second half of 2021 for a discussion on critical artistic themes amongst peers – local, national, international members of the dance community and the public. All sessions are free to attend and are taking place at ADT’s home, The Odeon in Norwood, Adelaide, with the series being presented both live and online via Zoom, connecting local and virtual, remote audiences.



3 June 2021
Title: How Do We Value the Arts? – Looking Beyond the Metrics
Presented by Tully Barnett from Flinders University

What is the value of arts and culture and when did we start viewing it as a business to be weighed purely in terms of a panoply of metrics: audience numbers, box office income, KPIs, non-government income generation? When did the arts become a ‘sector’ and an ‘industry’, and audiences become ‘consumers’? More and more, artists and arts organisations are asked to articulate themselves within the framing of neoliberal market-speak. How can artists reclaim the value of the arts and employ a vocabulary that speaks to the intrinsic value of the arts as human experience?

Dr Tully Barnett is a key researcher for Laboratory Adelaide – a multi-phase grant-funded study into the value of culture that looks at resetting the endless value debates the arts and culture sector must engage in. If you are an artist, arts administrator, arts board director, philanthropist, or an arts lover, we invite you to hear Tully pull apart this economically-driven thinking to reveal what really matters most in valuing arts and culture.

Dr Tully Barnett is Senior Lecturer in Creative Industries at Flinders University. She is a member of the project team for Laboratory Adelaide: The Value of Culture, a Chief Investigator for its project on Reporting the Value of Culture, and co-author of What Matters? Talking Value in Australian Culture (2018, Monash University Publishing) with Julian Meyrick and Robert Phiddian. She is Deputy Director of Assemblage: Centre for Creative Arts, and a member of the executive board of the Australasian Association for Digital Humanities and the Australasian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres. She is an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Fellow for her project on digitisation, digital reading and the materiality of cultural experience.

Dr Tully Barnett

The Critical Conversations series provides four opportunities across the second half of 2021 for a discussion on critical artistic themes amongst peers – local, national, international members of the dance community and the public.

Three sessions will be curated by ADT, and one session is open to individuals and collectives to nominate a theme or idea they wish to discuss and explore with others. All sessions are free to attend and will take place at ADT’s home, The Odeon in Norwood, Adelaide.

To read about previous sessions, please visit this page.



8 July 2021
Time: 6:30pm
Title: First Nations Women’s Embodied Performance Practices
Presented by ADT’s International Centre for Choreography with Adrianne Semmens, ADT’s 2021 Associate Artist, as part of NAIDOC Week

This NAIDOC Week, a panel of First Nations practitioners will gather at The Odeon to speak on their practices and recent work. The panel – from dance, theatre, community arts and activism arts – have been invited to engage in a conversation about their processes, practices, collaboration, core values and critical issues. The panel includes Nikki Ashby, Gina Rings, Caleena Sansbury and Adrianne Semmens.

To register to attend this free event, please RSVP to icc@adt.org.au.

Nikki Ashby
Nikki Ashby has been producing dance and theatre works across Australia for 30 years. A stage and screen actor, producer, director and choreographer, Nikki danced with Bangarra Dance Theatre in Unaipon, and I Am Eora for its world premiere at the Sydney Festival. Highlights from Nikki’s career include working with Djuki Mala, co-hosting Move It Mob Style on NITV and ABC 3, choreographing productions for Ilbijerri Theatre and Kurruru Performing Arts, and working with D’faces of youth arts in Whyalla, Riverland Youth Theatre in Renmark and State Opera South Australia. Nikki directed and choreographed the emerging dance group Of Desert and Sea Dance for its production of Beautiful, which premiered at Tarnanthi and was performed most recently at the 2020 Adelaide Fringe.

Gina Rings
Artistic Director of the South Australian First Nations Dance Collective (SAFNDC), Gina comes from the Kokatha people of the West Coast of South Australia. Gina has been involved in the arts for more than 25 years, starting with a traineeship with Bangarra in 1994. Recently, Gina created the solo work Unconscious Bias for The World’s Smallest Stage project in 2020 (in partnership with ADT). In 2021, Gina worked closely with Diana Sautell as a co-producer and creative director on the collaborative work Inma, featuring Electric Fields, Iwiri and the SAFNDC, which was awarded ‘Pick of the Fringe’ at the 2020 Adelaide Fringe.

Caleena Sansbury
Passionate about creating change for the arts, Caleena feels it’s urgent and necessary to form movements such as Arts Front in NSW, to connect with like-minded people in the industry to ensure that art is maintained and looked at as an opportunity of high importance. Caleena graduated from NAISDA in 2013. Since then, she has continued to work in the arts, performing with various choreographers and companies, including Vicki Van Hout, Thomas E. S. Kelly, Karul Projects, Insite Arts and Vitalstatistix.

Adrianne Semmens
Adrianne Semmens is a dance practitioner with experience working across the arts, education and community sectors. Adrianne is a descendant of the Barkindji People of western NSW and a graduate of NAISDA Dance College and Adelaide College of the Arts. As ADT’s 2021 Associate Artist, Adrianne will discuss Immerse, her recent work created as part of ADT’s world premiere season of Convergence in 2021, in which identity and place – recurring themes within Adrianne’s practice – are examined and explored.

Immerse by Adrianne Semmens (c) Sam Roberts Photography


Main image above left (c) Sven Kovac