Edition #1 - Midsumma's tips for queer arts, artists and culture makers in the time of COVID-19

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How you can survive and support our queer arts communities during the Coronavirus pandemic

As we continue to hear about event after event being cancelled, jobs being lost, and so many important requirements for socially connected and supportive communities withdrawn, we at Midsumma have been working hard to find alternate ways of doing what we do, so that our important capacity-building development work and community support we undertake can still go ahead.

Events have postponed or cancelled, people have lost their jobs, theatres have shut, events companies losing $1000 by the day and we still stand to shoulder some of the greatest burdens from the Coronavirus.

From sharing crowdsourced fundraising opportunities to buying personalised queer art online to support our local artists, caring for our queer arts communities can take many forms, and keeping yourself in good spirits is the first thing you can do.

Below, we’ve listed some ways you can help yourself and others reduce the financial, social, and spiritual strain of this pandemic. Though it’s by no means comprehensive, this list can be thought of as a starting point to get your creative juices flowing, bring you to a calm zen and give you ideas on how you can support other queers here in Melbourne. If you have suggestions, want to share links to your own work or have some great tips and links to share with our queer arts communities, drop us a line at [email protected].

 

If you are experiencing distress and would like to chat with someone please contact a support network from this list here. Or, The Support Act Wellbeing Helpline is a free, confidential counseling service open to anyone working in Australian music or the performing arts - 1800 959 500.

 

Digital platforms to follow, support upload and share work

If you're self-isolating and looking for ways to make an income, ways to support our fellow queer artists and keep your creative brain busy - you can check out one of these places that artists are keeping their creative stream, well, streaming online. 

Traditional places include Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, follow your fav artists, discover new inspo and follow hashtags like #queerart #melbourneartist #lgbtart #supportcreatives

Or follow some of our LGBTQIA+ artists from Midsumma Festival 2020 (see their social tags here).

  1. Looking to connect with your audience and earn an income, maybe try Patreon.comPatreon is a membership platform that provides business tools for creators to run a subscription content service. It allows creators and artists to earn a monthly income by providing exclusive rewards and perks to their subscribers, or "patrons". 
  2. Maybe you have some free time to finally build your own website? Here's a list of the 10 best FREE website builders in 2020. This guide is for anyone who wants to create a free website but doesn’t know which website builder to pick.
  3. Want to continue performing digitally? Try out Stageit.com. Stageit is a web-based performance venue. It hosts paid performances by musical artists who perform live via webcam. Artists choose when they want to perform, for how long, and how much they want to charge. The performances are not archived or duplicated for distribution. Another similar platform here is QLDlivestreaming.com

 

What are our queer arts communties doing?

Dance

All the Queens Men are throwing an online dance club for our LGBT elders - every Sunday until 19 July 2020.

#supportcreatives

Trans Pride Live-streamed Solidarity Cabaret 31 March

 

Grumble Boogie
Betty Grumble (@bettygrumble) is doing a morning boogie at 10am every day on Instagram, live- very camp and very fun!

Pride of our Footscray

POOF is doing its regular drag programming all live-streamed.

If you have suggestions, want to share links to your own work or have some great tips and links to share with our queer arts communities, drop us a line at [email protected].

 

Level up your skills

Online Classes for Independent Artists & Producers. MILKE will be running a series of free online classes on producing, marketing and pitching your shows but we want to hear from you. What do you want to learn about the most?

 

 

Facebook also has a small business grants program as well.

Brush up on your digital marketing techniques with FREE courses from Google's Digital Garage - Discover a range of free learning content designed to help grow your business or jumpstart your career. You can learn by selecting individual modules, or dive right in and take an entire course end-to-end.

 

Paid work opportunities for artists

  1. Contribute to Midsumma's online works - We have a small fund of $100 per person, for 15 people to write a short artistic piece for the Midsumma Blog that gives the Midsumma audiences an insight into your practice and helps to make queer art more accessible to diverse audiences.

    The Midsumma Blog was birthed to share stories from artists and culture makers, become a platform for queer voices and connect audiences to queer art at a deeper level. 

    If you are interested in taking part in this project please let us know by emailing [email protected] by 31 March 2020. Artists will be contacted with the full brief on 1 April 2020. The completed articles will need to be returned to Midsumma by 14 April 2020.

    What we are looking for: a response in 400 words on something that is/or has been influential to your work - this could be a song, an image, an artwork, a meme, a photograph, a poem, a book, a moment in time, etc. The response could take the form of a short essay, a diary entry, a poem, a series of questions - it can be as experimental or as straightforward as you like. You could also choose to respond using an iPhone video, an image you have constructed, a drawing, or a song. If you would like to create a response that isn’t text-based, we ask that the response is new (eg; that you don’t submit an existing work), and that you provide a short paragraph on what the original media is, and what your response is. 

    Payment: * artists need to submit their expression of interest by emailing us at [email protected] by 31 March 2020. If accepted, a one-time $100 payment will be made.


  2. Doctors without babysitters (meet Arts Workers without work) - This is a private member Facebook group aimed at matching doctors in need of childcare with actors & creatives in need of work. To begin with, they will focus on Melbourne, Victoria. People can apply by answering several screening questions. Responsibility for finding, hiring, agreeing on a rate, and paying people for childcare/babysitting is the responsibility of the individual.

 

 

Just looking for some reprieve?

Here are some places online you can lose yourself and recharge: 

Keep social while you Netflix and chill WITH FRIENDS online.

Listen to these queer-recommended podcasts, curtesy of Tomboy:

    • The Serpent Cast - A weekly podcast about sex and spirituality by VICE/Broadly astrologer Annabel Gat and GQ/Allure sex writer Sophie Saint Thomas.
    • The Alarmist - guests scrutinize history’s greatest disasters to figure out what went wrong, and most importantly, who’s to blame.
    • Nancy - The series features a range of topics exploring the LGBTQ experience.
    • The Gays are Revolting - a definitive weekly news source for contemporary gays, bringing you a healthy dose of smutty lovemaking stories and trivial pop culture nonsense, without all that hetero hoopla.
    • Queerstories Podcast by Maeve Marsden - with stories recorded in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
    • Tipple Bi Pass - JOY's first show with a focus on bisexuality.
    • Bobo and Flex - a quest to decolonize our minds and intersect our feminism.
    • This is Love - The podcast tries to decode the mystery of how our romances, obsessions and relationships drive us. Listening to it can feel like a contact high.

 

Taking care of yourself while working from home

Many companies are mandating or recommending that as many employees and contractors as possible work remotely until the virus can be slowed.

Be mindful of what's going on inside and outside our bodies with these 5 FREE meditation apps from Puregym collective.

And take care with these working from home tips, hacks, stretching exercises and how to stay productive.

Or, try this easy FREE at-home yoga and pilates

 

 

Support for creative industries

With the current bans on public gatherings and events, the cancellations of festivals, programs, and events, and the temporary closure of venues, our creative industries are seriously impacted.  

If you're struggling with your mental health and need immediate support you can phone Beyond Blue any time on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

The Support Act Wellbeing Helpline is a free, confidential counseling service open to anyone working in Australian music or the performing arts - 1800 959 500.

If you have suggestions, want to share links to your own work or have some great tips and links to share with our queer arts communities, drop us a line at [email protected].

Top image: POWER 2020 by Suzanne Balding
Image two: Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award by Eugene Howard
Bottom image: Thomas Jaspers is Revolting, Midsumma Festival 2020

 

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