Leisa Shelton is a performance artist /maker and curator with a practice that foregroundscollaboration and an advocacy for new Australian transdisciplinary work. Leisa’s current practice is focused on Curatorship and Development of new frames for the presentation and development of Performance.
This shift in direction from having worked nationally and internationally as a performer, maker, director and teacher of performance, evolved out of a recognition of distinct gaps in the cultural landscape for opportunities that offered greater visibility and recognition for Australian Contemporary Performance.
In 2009, through an Australia Council cultural leadership grant with mentor Kristy Edmonds, she was an artist in residence with Spill festival in London, a guest artist at the Armory in NY, The Chicago Art Institute, Chicago and UCLA. In the same year, she was invited to Taiwan, as a member of the International jury for the prestigious Taishin Art Prize beginning a series of long-term collaborative relationships with Taiwanese artists, festivals and organizations with projects currently in conversation for as far as 2019.
She is currently a co-curator for the Venice International Performance Art Week; curator and presenting director of the 2015 eXchange, a program of cultural and practice exchange between artists and festivals in Melbourne and Taipei; and her most recent live art work, Mapping Australian Media Art features in Experimenta Recharge: 6th International Biennial of Media Art which is currently touring nationally until mid-2016.
Mapping Australian Media Art traces a shared history of Australian media art and its artists and sits alongside Mapping Australian Live Art and Performance which was commissioned for the 2014 Festival of Live Art FOLA, with Arts House, Melbourne.
For the 2014, Venice International Performance Art Week, Leisa presented artists Barbara Campbell, Sarah-Jane Norman and Julie Vulcan to exceptional public and critical acclaim. On the strength of this program, in 2016, Leisa will return to Venice to curate a more extensive ‘Body of Australian Performance’ alongside the curation and installation of an Australian Performance Art Archive. The Archive, will be part of a co-commission with Arts House Melbourne for presentation in the Festival of Live Art, before its installation in Venice at the end of that year.
eXchange develops Leisa’s long relationship with Asian Traditional and Contemporary practice. It is an on-going new work program focused on reciprocity and intercultural dialogue, bringing together 6 dance based artists, from Taipei and Melbourne with presentation partners Dance Massive and the Taipei Arts Festival.
Leisa’s practice also has a continuous commitment to bringing Environmental Sustainability into focus through the arts and enabling more Sustainable Arts Practices. She is a co-facilitator with Tipping Point Australia, a graduate of the Centre for Sustainable Leadership and lecturer with the Centre for Community Cultural Partnerships at the VCA, University of Melbourne.
For Tipping Point Australia, Leisa has been a presenting artist in the 2013 National Gathering, presenting ‘better futures’ models for arts in Australia which focussed on arts practices developing a stronger framework for ShareABLE networks to enable greater use and equity for resources, venues and skills. This engagement continued in 2014 as one of 10 Melbourne based arts organisations to participate in the Arts House initiative – ‘Greenie IN Residence’ program.
In 2015, she was co-facilitator with Matt Wicking and Angharad Wynne-Jones on the International collaboration Weather Stations, in collaboration with the Wheeler Centre and EU climate programs.
Leisa’s teaching practice in performance has seen her as Head of Performance at the VCA, Melbourne 1998-2004, Head of VCA Post Graduate Performance Making, 2007-2012 and a guest artist of TTRP Singapore, TNUA Taiwan, DasArts Amsterdam and at major national gatherings and institutions across Australia. Her current practice focuses on the development of multidisciplinary projects focussed on Social, Community and Culturally engaged practices. She currently leads the Graduate Certificate in Arts and Community Engagement with theCentre for Cultural Partnerships, VCA – University of Melbourne, with participants engaging from diverse practice and cultural backgrounds from across Australia.