HOLDING SPACE (First Nations 2024 Program)

Jasmin Sheppard’s First Nations 2024 program takes place under the canopy of the title ‘Holding Space’.

Holding Space in an Indigenous context means to create room for deep thinking, for big and hard questions, to make a safe place for great and important work; to be given the time to create in a way that is Culturally appropriate, to be given access to people, voices, documents and ideas that can assist artists in unravelling our experience of colonisation, and our unique way of making dance.

There are three main events as part of ‘Holding Space’.

  1. ‘First Nations choreography: Post-colonial process, protocols, and diasporic expression’ – open panel discussion (online)
    This July (Thursday 11 July 9am AEST) we are taking a deep dive into choreographic process in a First Nations international choreographic exchange open panel discussion. We invite you to join three magnificent choreographers – Vicki Van Hout (Wiradjuri, Australia), Bianca Hyslop (Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wāhiao, Pākehā), and Lara Kramer (Anishinaabeg, Turtle Island) – to discuss their choreographic processes, how they find their place in the post-colonial timeline of contemporary dance, how they work with First Nations Protocols and time, and how living and making work off-Country has influenced their work.
  2. Truth Telling residency
    The Uluru Statement from the heart (Voice, Treaty, Truth) describes Truth-Telling as: a comprehensive process to expose the full extent of injustices experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to enable shared understanding of Australia’s colonial history and its contemporary impacts. This research residency is designed to empower First Nations dancers and choreographers to openly share their own stories and have their truth acknowledged. The resident-artist will have access to the archives departments at AIATSIS and Powerhouse Museum, as well as a period of time in the Critical Path’s research room, followed by time in the Drill Hall for choreographic exploration of a truth telling idea. Applications are now open and close on 3 August.
  3. ‘Safe Spaces for First Nations artists’
    As First Nations creatives, we live and work on other Peoples’ Countries, off Country and away from family, and at times in unsafe spaces to create works that have now both traditional and modern meaning. So to address some key issues that arise when creating our work within larger organisations, we ask: “What are safe creative spaces? What do they look like? What needs to change?” This part of the program is a series of consultations with members of the Sydney (and beyond) First Nations dance making community. These consultations will culminate in a report which will be published and available on the Critical Path website towards the end of 2024.


This program is supported by the NSW government through Create NSW.

Your donation supports independent dance artists in Australia

Critical Path

The Drill, 1C New Beach Rd,
Darling Point (Rushcutters Bay), Sydney